Keep working to give life a chance Print
Thursday, Jan. 18, 2018 -- 12:00 AM

One of the first events I covered for the Catholic Herald was a pro-life rally held at the state Capitol on January 22, 1974.

It was held one year after the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion.

I went back and read that article, which noted that many people attending the rally wore buttons which said, “Give Life a Chance.”

Quiet anger and sadness

That 1974 rally was marked by quiet anger and sadness, I wrote. I remember people felt almost numb with shock — and bitter January cold — at that rally.

“Words can hardly describe our deep feelings regarding the death of approximately one million unborn babies who have been aborted this past year as a result of the Supreme Court decision,” said one of the speakers, Don Schraufnagel of Wisconsin Citizens Concerned for Life.

He went on to say, “Man’s greatest gift is simply the gift of life. We believe that every unborn baby is entitled to that basic right to life just as every other human being is.”

Efforts to overturn decision

I think many people attending that first rally thought that the Supreme Court decision would somehow be overturned. Efforts were mentioned at the rally about resolutions from the Wisconsin Legislature asking the U.S. Congress to propose a constitutional amendment to override the Supreme Court decision. As we know, the Human Life Amendment, as it was called, never passed.

It is interesting to note that Wisconsin still has laws on the books outlawing abortions. Since at least 1849, performing an abortion is criminally prohibited in Wisconsin. Roe v. Wade ruled that laws in many states, including Wisconsin, were now illegal. However, the laws against abortion in our state have not been taken away, according to the Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau. And there have been a number of laws regulating abortions passed in our state, including parental consent for minors, informed consent, and 24-hour waiting period, among others.

Marches for life continue

There continue to be pro-life rallies held in Washington, D.C., Chicago, and in Madison.

This year, there will again be a March for Life in Madison on Monday, Jan. 22, beginning with a Rosary for Life at 11:45 a.m. and a Mass at 12:10 p.m. at St. Patrick Church, 404 E. Main St., in downtown Madison.

Following the Mass, people will march around the Capitol, then go inside for prayer and visit each legislator with the message that all life is precious from conception to natural death.

All are invited to join in this event, which has the theme, “As a Pro-life People, We Dare to Hope.”

Involvement of young people

We have been hoping for 45 years that our country will give life a chance. As the coverage of the Chicago March for Life in this week’s Catholic Herald shows, it is encouraging to see so many young people turning out to stand up for life.

In fact, some people are calling millennials the “pro-life generation.” Polls show that young people are more pro-life than their parents, the 30-49 group and the 50-64 group. However, they are apparently not more pro-life than their grandparents, the 64+ group (I can attest to that). This is why we sometimes hear the clarification that this is the most pro-life generation since Roe v. Wade, not today’s millennials.

But whatever the case, we hope that people will continue to work to give life a chance in our society for all people, from unborn babies to the disabled, from immigrants to the elderly — from womb to tomb!