About 15,000 people – a record number – attended the National March for Life in Canada this past Thursday, May 12th, on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. This event takes place every year on the same date to commemorate the passage of legislation making abortion legal in Canada in 1969.
Unfortunately the media gave almost as much attention to a few pro-aborts as they did to the thousands of pro-lifers. They do make themselves hard to ignore, though, by abiding by that old maxim that there is no such thing as bad publicity.
My friend, a pro-life activist who attends the march almost every year, was an eyewitness to some anti-life shenanigans. She related to me how she saw police forcing counter-protesters from the site for “bizarre and inappropriate” behavior, including a group of women wearing nothing from the waist up but tassels. I don’t exactly see how that goes along with the pro-“choice” message of women’s empowerment, but then what do I know? I’m just an anti-choice wacko.
All this made me remember an online account (please exercise discretion before clicking as there is strong language and offensive behavior in some of these photos) of the January 2006 Walk for Life West Coast in San Francisco. One fellow took it upon himself to chronicle the whole thing, with little editorializing or side-taking except to describe what he observed. The pro-choice side, in a staggering display of irony, attempted to stretch banners across the street in front of the pro-life marchers – banners decrying the contemptible condemnation of freedom and embrace of totalitarianism on behalf of the “anti-choicers” – in order to stop the march.
Let me repeat that for you so you understand: these people were so incensed by the pro-life cause’s injury to “freedom” that they attempted to stop them from exercising their right to peaceable assembly, or in other words, their freedom.
My favorite part of the whole pictorial essay is when police escorts on motorcycles rode directly through the banners without slowing down.
Similarly, a group of anarchists attempted to cover up a pro-lifer’s sign and became irate when police stopped them. Anarchists are the ones who don’t believe in rules, remember? But they were deeply upset that police wouldn’t force “the Christians” to leave. I don’t know how many times I can use the word “irony” before I get tired.
As a former resident of San Francisco, I am not terribly surprised by this account of the 2006 counter-protest: women in “blood”-spattered nightgowns carrying coat hangers, anarchists with black bandannas over their faces shouting obscenities, transvestites dressed as monks throwing condoms at marchers, and so on and so forth. Signs and buttons specifically denounced everything from heterosexual sex to Christianity to God Himself to the “fascist right” to Bush to breeding. Signs demanded free abortion on demand and expressed a genuine concern that the U.S. was about to deploy troops to every uterus in America.
Through it all, though, you can observe photographs of the marchers, silently forging ahead. They did not shout, they did not throw things back, they did not stop.
I have been to several pro-life demonstrations in my time. I have been sworn at, given the finger, instructed to go to hell, and compared to Satan. One of my close friends even had a projectile thrown at her, hitting her nine-months-pregnant belly. Granted, it was a small plastic ramekin of ranch dressing, but still.
I have never observed such behavior on the part of pro-lifers. I’m not saying it never happens, just that in my personal experience, it’s the other side throwing things, yelling, being hateful. I have never answered back with hatefulness. I have never seen anyone do so.
Who was it who said, “You shall know them by their fruits”?
In the face of such hatred, it is imperative that we remain calm and act with discretion and intelligence. It’s what sets us apart from the other side. There aren’t a lot of examples of people who are both right and completely nuts. Generally it’s not the guy in a thong on roller blades carrying a sign promoting infanticide who will have the most clear and logical argument. If he did, he would probably be wearing pants. In other words, if you’ve got a good argument, if you’ve got Truth on your side, you don’t need the theatrics.
I also find it interesting how invested the anti-life side is in hyperbole. You don’t see pro-lifers giving any credence to anti-life accusations by wearing T-shirts that say “WE HATE WOMEN AND WANT THEM PIERCED BY COAT HANGERS” or “WE MUST DEPLOY TROOPS TO ALL UTERI IMMEDIATELY.” However, pro-aborts think nothing of “I HEART ABORTION” T-shirts, like the one above, or signs encouraging people to “KILL YOUR CHILDREN.” Do they think the rhetorical device of exaggeration works that well? It doesn’t make them seem sober, clever, or right-thinking. It makes them seem not only wrong, but also negligible. Do they not understand it’s easy to dismiss the crazy? (Let’s not tell them!)
It frankly never fails to surprise me how bitter, angry, and somehow desperate pro-abortion protesters seem. I am sometimes so bewildered as to ask, “What are you so upset about? It’s legal.” And it is: the law, at this point, is overwhelmingly on their side in the U.S., Canada, and many other countries.
So why the venom? Why the hysteria?
Is it because they know we’re gaining on them?