We marched for life. And for the true equality of women.

·4 min read

The 2022 March for Life was different than the 48 that preceded it. This year, we marched on the brink of a post-Roe world.

That’s cause for histrionics among abortion-rights advocates. But for March for Life supporters, it’s cause for a calm and steadfast seriousness.

The end of Roe is hardly the end of our work as a movement. Rather, it’s a critical marker in our efforts to build up a culture where women flourish freed from the death tax of abortion.

The first March for Life, held the year after Roe v. Wade, drew about 20,000 people. Now the crowds are estimated to have grown at least tenfold. Every year the press dings the march by issuing some variation on the headline, "Thousands attend anti-abortion rally." But everyone knows the truth; the movement has ballooned, in size and savvy, in the decades that have passed since abortion became legal.

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The former head of NARAL Pro-Choice America summed it up when she remarked at the size and age of the 2010 March for Life, “I just thought, my gosh, they are so young. There are so many of them, and they are so young.”

Women do not need abortions to be full citizens

We are many, and we most certainly are young. And we represent the way society has changed in the past half a century.

Despite the mantra that women need abortion to succeed, we know we don’t. More women are in the workforce than ever before, with a steady growth in the presence of women in managerial and professional roles in particular. Yet abortion rates are at historic lows.

Maternal Mortality: America leads wealthy countries in maternal deaths. Our local data could change that.

Society has changed, and the movement against abortion has changed with it. Not only has it grown younger and more passionate, but the movement has also broadened its scope and thrown its weight behind programs and initiatives that help women the abortion-rights movement preys on.

They heard that women wanted choice, and so they’ve worked to give women real ones. They are, for example, the engine behind the thousands of pregnancy centers nationwide that serve millions annually. These centers spend hundreds of millions of dollars to provide services such as free ultrasounds, diapers and education to mothers who want more for themselves than a cold surgical table with stirrups.

And they have thrown their weight behind creative approaches to policy ideas that would ensure new mothers don’t have to go back to work just days after giving birth to put food on the table.

Pro-life supporters gather at the Washington Monument to hear Vice President Mike Pence speak at the March for Life rally on January 27, 2017 in Washington, DC.
Pro-life supporters gather at the Washington Monument to hear Vice President Mike Pence speak at the March for Life rally on January 27, 2017 in Washington, DC.

But lasting change in a post-Roe world requires a new vision of women’s rights, one that is untethered from the abortion-rights movement, which has corroded feminism.

The Other Choice: Abortion felt like an excuse to avoid helping us. Thankfully, we found another option.

The notion that equality with men can be achieved only through killing our children and by imitating the wombless male body isn’t feminism, it’s a radical denial of woman that has cost us half a century of authentic progress.

Or maybe it is feminism, which has become so intertwined with abortion that one can hardly distinguish them. Regardless, it has placed women on a merry-go-round from hell, one in which we must do the unthinkable so that men can use us for their own goals and society can shortchange us.

As women’s rights scholar Erika Bachiochi put it: “Yet rather than make women more equal to men, constitutionalizing the right to abortion as the court did in Roe has relieved men of the mutual responsibilities that accompany sex, and so has upended the duties of care for dependent children that fathers ought equally to share. … The sad truth is that nearly 50 years after Roe legalized abortion nationwide, the kinds of accommodations that make childbearing and family life manageable are only beginning to be implemented.”

Roe hurts women

Overturning Roe would restore the right of the people to have a say in the laws governing and regulating abortion. But building a society in which mothers flourish is a much larger project, one that demands a new radicalism that celebrates and protects what makes women different.

Equality begins in the womb, as the theme of this year's March for Life attests. But defending the womb safeguards equality between the sexes.

Our movement has been hard at work tilling the soil of a society where women can thrive as women, rather than as imitations of men built on the broken bones of our babies.

We march knowing full well that that work doesn’t end with Roe. Rather, it begins anew.

Ashley McGuire is a senior fellow with The Catholic Association.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: This March for Life was different. End of Roe era may be at hand.

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