By Emma Smith
Standing in the East Falls Church metro station waiting for our a couple of weeks ago, a woman approached us and asked “are you going to the Women Speak for Themselves rally?” We affirmed that we were, and she replied “I thought so, when I saw your Pro-Life signs!” and gestured at our “Mothers should be respected and babies protected!!!” sign. Turns out, she and 4 of her friends were also going to the rally, so when the train arrived we climbed aboard with our 5 new friends and headed off to DC.
Holding Pro-Life signs on a DC metro is an interesting experience. We got a lot of looks, though no one engaged with us and, despite some of the glares, a surprising amount of support came from those around us. We got surreptitious thumbs up, smiles, winks, or the occasional nod. The city was alive with Pro-Lifers, going about their daily business, supportive of our work, anxious for justice, just as we are.
This energy came into the open in Lafayette Park. About 100 – 150 people – students, professors, nurses, mothers, children, corporate assistants, lawyers, and lobbyists – gathered under the trees to witness to life and freedom. The thing about this rally was that it was no different than any other Pro-Life rally. I mean that in a good way. The people there merely gathered to affirm their beliefs, to love those around them, and to peacefully petition that their rights be respected. The people there gathered to witness to the beauty of life, and in that sense, it was like any other Pro-Life rally. It affirmed life by respecting life – all of it. Even those who disagree with what Pro-Lifers believe in. While Pro-Lifers made strong arguments concerning the evil of ObamaCare and the HHS Mandate, while they cheered at sayings they liked, and applauded passionate speakers, the entire rally was part of a greater movement – a movement of love and respect.
“There is no ‘war on women,’ but there is a war on mothers!” one of the speakers exclaimed, but though her words were passionate, they were not angry. They were sad. In her voice was the recognition of something lost, something broken; that our culture has lost its respect for women, its love for children has been broken under the strain of radical feminism and progressive ideology. She was angry at the injustice that came from this brokenness, but the overall tone was one of action. We have a duty to stand up for women and to reach out to those who trample on our beliefs, because as long as they are broken, so will our culture remain so. However, while the rally was a call to action, it was not a call to rudeness. As one of the speakers noticed, “We are the opposite of a grunge movement. You all look fantastic and put a beautiful face to the name ‘Pro-Life!’” Indeed, there was nothing ugly there, neither in word nor deed, in neither face, nor action.
At the end of the rally, people left. They had said their piece. The rest waits to be seen, but at that point, they had done their duty, and they were off to fulfill their other duties.
The Pro-Life energy of DC may be underground, covered up by the political agenda of the city, but given the chance, people let their convictions peep out, see the sunlight, get some air, before being carefully hidden away for the sake of job security. Pro-Lifers don’t hide from who they are, but they don’t shove it in your face, either. They calmly and quietly live their lives and pray for those who would try to prevent them from doing so. And even when angered, even when hurt, even when their beliefs are challenged and their freedoms threatened, Pro-Lifers maintain their respect and love for life. They gather peacefully and dissolve just as humbly. They speak their minds, they fight their fight, and then they go home. Because the point of being Pro-Life is that you respect life – all of it, for whatever reason, no matter how angry that other life is. It is a life, and you respect its right as such. So you go to work, and you go home, and you earn your money, and you care for your family because to be Pro-Life means that you actively live yours, as well. When the time calls, you show up, you stand up, you defend your right to live and the rights of others to live. You do your duty, and then you continue to live. You don’t attack others, you don’t get in their face, you merely say, firmly, quietly, and with love “I believe in life.”
That’s what I love about being Pro-Life, that’s what I loved about the rally yesterday. It was a group of people, women, children, and men, who gathered to affirm life by saying “I believe in life. And you cannot, you will not, take that away from anyone.”
Photos courtesy Women Speak for Themselves.
Emma Smith graduated magna cum laude from Hillsdale College in 2013 with a BA in Philosophy. While in school she served as vice president of the pro-life club for three semesters and as on-campus Mass coordinator and events director for the Catholic Society for four semesters. Emma is passionate about her faith, her God, and all things pro-life. She currently works for both pro-life and Catholic ministries for high school and college youth in the Diocese of Columbus. More of her work and writing can be seen at her blog, PaxEtLumen, where this originally appeared.