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March for Life
January 21st, 2014
02:24 PM ET

Six surprising changes to the anti-abortion March for Life

By Daniel Burke, Belief Blog Co-editor

(CNN) - For decades, the March for Life has followed a familiar formula: Bus in thousands of abortion opponents. Protest in front of the Supreme Court. Go home.

But this year, in addition to braving snow and bone-chilling wind, the March will move in a different direction, says Jeanne Monahan, president of the anti-abortion group.

Long-winded political speeches? See ya.

An exclusive focus on Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court case that lifted restrictions on abortion? Gone.

A hipster Catholic musician, evangelical leaders and March for Life app? Welcome to the protest.

And those changes just skim the surface.

The March for Life, billed as the world’s largest anti-abortion event, is remaking itself in deeper ways as well, says Monahan.

For its first 40 years, the march was marshaled by Nellie Gray, an occasionally irascible Catholic who had little use for modern technology, political compromise or the mainstream media.

Gray died in her home office in 2012 at age 88. A short time later, Monahan was named her successor at the March for Life.

While abortion opponents praise Gray’s legacy, there’s a popular saying around the March for Life’s Washington headquarters: “We’re a brand-new, 41-year-old organization.”

The goal: to turn their annual, one-day demonstration into a potent political machine.

Abortion rights advocates say they’re skeptical that March for Life leaders can convince more Americans to join their cause. Since 1989, the percentage who want to overturn Roe has barely budged above 30%.

“It’s an impressive show,” Jon O’Brien, president of Catholics for Choice, says of the March for Life. “But at the end of the day, they have failed dramatically at their goal.”

Still, even O’Brien expressed respect for his foes’ new plans. “It’s pretty clever, actually.”

With that in mind, here are six big ways the March for Life is changing this year:

1) 9 to 5

Since 1974, the March for Life has made a really loud noise every January 22, the anniversary of Roe. V. Wade.

Estimates of the crowd’s size vary, but it seems safe to say tens of thousands have attended the protest each year.

Organizers estimate that at least 50% of the marchers are under 18, as busloads of Catholic school kids descend on the capital from across the country.

But some abortion opponents complain the March for Life had morphed in recent years from a political demonstration to a photo op.

Ryan Bomberger, an anti-abortion activist who is speaking at march events, says the protest needs to find ways to harness its youthful energy throughout the year.

“You’ve got all these young people with energy and passion and the desire to do something about the injustice of abortion. But what do they do when they leave the march and go home?”

March for Life leaders want to turn its young protesters into citizen lobbyists, much like Tea Party partisans and the Obama campaign did with their troops.

The key to that, says March for Life's Chairman of the Board Patrick Kelly, is to keep them engaged throughout the year, including through social media. (More on that later.)

In addition to Monahan, an experienced Washington politico, the March for Life has beefed up its Washington office by hiring a full-time lobbyist and social media manager who will also lead outreach to evangelicals, a big and politically active constituency.

The focus this year will be combating the Obama administration’s contraception mandate, which requires most companies to provide free contraceptive coverage to employees. Abortion opponents say that some covered services are tantamount to abortion.

2) If You’ve Got the Money, We've Got the Time

For decades, the March for Life subsisted on a meager budget: Just $150,000 a year, according to tax filings from 2009-2011.

But new Washington offices, lobbyists and social media managers don’t come cheap. Fortunately for the March for Life, a donor who was a friend of Gray’s bequeathed $550,000 to the organization last year.

That, along with a more robust fund-raising campaign, has allowed the March to increase its budget from $252,000 when Monahan took over in 2012,  to $780,000 this year.

“We are professionalizing the March for Life,” said Kelly.

3) With Arms Wide Open 

Though various religious groups oppose abortion (many support abortion rights as well) the March for Life has come to be considered mainly a Catholic event.

Catholic clergy offer prayers, Catholic politicians make speeches and Catholic school kids fill out the rank-and-file.

Monahan says this year will different.

The March for Life has hired a full-time staffer devoted to bringing more Protestant evangelicals to the protest, and they hope to see that effort bear fruit this Wednesday.

They’ve tapped James Dobson, founder of the evangelical powerhouse ministry Focus on the Family, as a keynote speaker. Dobson and his adopted son, Ryan, will talk about adoption, an issue close to the heart of many evangelicals.

4) The Hardest Part

For the first time in its 41 years, the March for Life will focus on an issue besides abortion on Wednesday.

Through Dobson and other speakers, the march is also promoting the idea of “noble adoption” as an alternative to abortion.

“Adoption is a heroic decision for pregnant mothers who find themselves in a difficult situation,” says Monahan. “We want to eliminate the stigma of adoption and encourage women to pursue this noble option.”

The spotlight on adoption dovetails with new focus within the anti-abortion movement on crisis pregnancy centers, which urge women to carry their pregnancy to term.

Critics charge that the centers divulge false medical information about abortion and deceive unwitting patients into thinking they provide abortions, only to advise them otherwise. Supporters say they help women through financial assistance, counseling and adoption referrals.

5) Wish You Were Here

Despite the youth of many March for Life participants, the group’s website had been decidedly Web 1.0.

Under Monahan, that has changed dramatically.

The group posts Instagram pics of chilly protesters trudging through snow at past marches on Throwback Thursdays. They upload posts about prenatal development to Pinterest and tweet throughout the year, including this one about the difficult choices pregnant women sometimes face.

For the more technically advanced, the March has developed an app that connects to a 360-degree camera so folks can follow the protest from home. The app also has anti-abortion information, links to articles about adoption and tips for lobbying Congress.

“We have to find a way to take those boots on the ground and talk to them throughout the year,” says Kelly. “And with Facebook and Twitter and other social media we have the tools to do so.”

The March is also hoping for a high-profile social media endorsement on Wednesday: Monahan says she’s asked the Vatican to send a tweet from the Pope in support of the March for Life.

UPDATE: On Wednesday morning, Monahan got her papal tweet.

6) Yakety Yak

Imagine listening to politicians drone on for hours about their voting records in the chilly January air.

Fun, right?

Monahan didn’t think so either, so she’s trying to accomplish a minor miracle: limiting the speaking time of politicians at the pre-march rally.

Only a handful of politicians, including House Majority Leader Eric Canton, R-Virginia, and Rep. Dan Lipinski, D-Illinois, have been invited to speak. They’ve all been asked to keep their speeches to a just a few minutes.

“In past years our rally has gone on for two or three hours and people lost interest,” Monahan says.

So, instead of boring speeches, the rally this year will feature a live concert by Matt Maher, a Catholic singer-songwriter with a huge following among young Christians.

So, will all this make any difference?

Clearly, changes are afoot this year at the March for Life. But what effect, if any, will they have on the larger anti-abortion movement?

Not much, says Ziad Munson, a sociologist at Lehigh University and author of the book “The Making of Pro-life Activists.”

The March for Life hasn’t really been politically influential since the early 1990s, says Munson. Meanwhile, other abortion opponents, like Catholic bishops and National Right to Life Committee, have led the charge.

“In effect, what we’re seeing is a new organization within a movement, not a new approach,” he says. “I don’t think the March for Life is likely to make inroads that haven’t already been made.”

Monahan is more optimistic.

If the March can recruit even a slice of its youthful protesters into citizen activists, she says, it might be enough to tip the balance in a country deeply divided on the morality of abortion.

- CNN Belief Blog Editor

Filed under: Abortion • Bioethics • Catholic Church • Christianity • Church and state • Culture wars • Ethics • evangelicals • Politics • Women

soundoff (1,983 Responses)
  1. Nick

    God bless the people willing to make a stand for the unborn. While it is unlikely we'll ever eliminate legal abortion, we can make the discussion about the need to minimize abortion, seek other alternatives, and bring the women's health issue to the front – e.g., inspections of clinics, sonograms, parental notification, treatment for the psychological effects of abortion, etc. These are all logical steps to make sure the woman's health, physical and mental, is maintained and people are able to make informed decision knowing all the options available to them. Who knows, maybe in ten years the number of abortions could be halved and the number of women sent to hospitals following botched abortions could be much smaller.

    January 22, 2014 at 9:54 am |
    • tallulah13

      I'm guessing that you support affordable health care and affordable, accessible birth control and reproductive education. These are things that reduce the number of abortions.

      And all propaganda aside, a legal abortion is much safer than giving birth.

      January 22, 2014 at 10:09 am |
      • meadowlands

        Really? Tell that to the women who have died in our local (and legal) abortion clinic. There was an ambulance there every day. It was so bad that the tenants in the bldg moved out forcing the landlord to take the clinic to court over unhealthy conditions . Blood in elevators, filthy tables not cleaned after every patient. The court case put them out of business. These places aren't safe just because they are legal

        January 22, 2014 at 10:28 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          That sounds abhorrent.
          Have you got a reference to cite?

          January 22, 2014 at 10:30 am |
        • tallulah13

          And right on schedule, here's the propaganda.

          January 22, 2014 at 10:54 am |
        • myweightinwords

          That sounds like a case of a badly run business, but it isn't an indictment of all clinics that provide abortion.

          I would also like to read about this case. Can you provide links to news about this place. Or barring that the name of the clinic and the city/state it was in?

          January 22, 2014 at 11:09 am |
        • Heartland

          Of course there is no citation. These "clinics" exist only in the minds (and mass forwarded emails) of the vocal, uninformed anti-abortionist fringe. Daily ambulances? Keep your stupidity to your own group and stop spreading it here.

          January 22, 2014 at 6:37 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      I agree.
      Education is key. Women need to be made aware of all their options, and not just if they get pregnant accidentally. Education needs to start young, before they become se/xually active.
      But many of the same people who oppose abortion in any circ/umstance are also proponents of "abstinence only" s.ex ed, which has proven to be disastrous. Even in areas where some information is provided to these kids, the fretful fundamentalists effectively hinder the health educators so that they wind up saying something like “here, have a condom. No, I can’t tell you more, or your parents will sue. Sure, you’ll have s.ex anyway, but we can’t give the impression that we approve, so we just won’t tell you about how to handle it if it does happen.”
      Then there are all the other contradictory messages – Motherhood is grand, but it’ll wreck your life. If you give up a kid for adoption, you’re a failure! If you get pregnant, you’re a failure!
      We need to stop arguing about the semantic evils of abortion and concentrate on making it unnecessary.

      January 22, 2014 at 10:12 am |
  2. Alex

    Overpopulation, thats all I have to say on the matter.

    January 22, 2014 at 9:44 am |
    • meadowlands

      This from someone whose mother chose life

      January 22, 2014 at 10:00 am |
      • tallulah13

        Had my mother chosen abortion I would have never known. The thought that I might have never been born does not bother me. I guess I'm just not that egocentric.

        January 22, 2014 at 10:12 am |
        • meadowlands

          Your comment is sad. Think about the good things in your life and what you might have missed.

          January 22, 2014 at 10:19 am |
        • tallulah13

          It's not sad to me. It's realistic. I love my life, but if I'd never been born, then it all becomes moot.

          January 22, 2014 at 10:51 am |
      • ME II

        I wonder if all children of unwanted pregnancies grow up to be pro-choice.

        January 22, 2014 at 10:16 am |
    • David

      Global overpopulation is a fallacy while overpopulations of cities is a problem. In addition, murder should never be the method of treatment for a social issue.

      January 22, 2014 at 9:11 pm |
  3. mzh

    I think people should work on to figure out that what is causing to go for abortion and work on to cease that action they do which makes them to get to teh abortion...

    January 22, 2014 at 9:11 am |
    • Science Works

      And the pope twit above is funny How is is god going to help really ?

      January 22, 2014 at 9:32 am |
  4. Tom, Tom, the Other One

    Here's a compromise the anti-abortionists never seem to accept: They will agree that abortion will remain legal, safe, and free of social stigma. In return, so that abortion might be rare, the opposition will see to it that education on sexual and reproductive matters is mandatory to all children, and contraception and education in its use will be freely available to all.

    January 22, 2014 at 8:25 am |
    • Topher

      Tom, Tom, the Other One
      Why should we accept it?

      "They will agree that abortion will remain legal,"

      It shouldn't ...

      "safe,"

      It's not. Hundreds of women have died from LEGAL abortions.

      "and free of social stigma."

      So ignore the numbers? Reminds me of the reaction of many Germans when they discovered what was happening to the Jews. See the movie "The Boy in the Striped Pajamas."

      "In return, so that abortion might be rare ..."

      It's not. Here's some numbers that should make you sick.

      Abortions ...
      in the U.S. today ... more than 1100
      U.S. this year after 16 weeks ... 3700
      U.S. so far this year ... more than 70000
      Black babies since 73 ... more than 17000000
      U.S. since '73 (Roe v. Wade) ... 57000000
      World wide just since '80 ... 1200000000

      January 22, 2014 at 9:24 am |
      • Alex

        Just think how much more over population we would have, 1.2 billion extra people. We are having a hard enough time as is.

        January 22, 2014 at 9:40 am |
      • In Santa we trust

        Hundreds of people have been killed during other legal medical procedures – do you think we should stop all medical procedures?
        The point was to reduce the future demand.

        January 22, 2014 at 9:55 am |
    • Steve

      Is a safe abortion one that doesn't kill the unborn baby? Also, please keep in mind that the abortion lobby (think Planned Parenthood) isn't as concerned about women's health as they pretend. That's why they oppose every bill concerning minimum standards of their clinics, required inspections, etc. At the St. Louis Planned Parenthood, they have sent well over twenty women to the hospital in an ambulance over the last few years. Many problems have been found at the clinic. Yet, they oppose a bill in the Missouri Congress that would strengthen the inspection process. It's all about the money.

      January 22, 2014 at 9:35 am |
      • In Santa we trust

        Safe is in comparison to what happened before it was legal and what would happen if it were made illegal – backstreet abortions using knitting needles, coathangers, toxins, etc. with poor hygiene and little or no follow up care.

        Many of the new regulations are just a backdoor attack on Roe vs Wade – introducing unnecessary restrictions such as admissions priveleges, compulsory viewing of a scan, mandatory discussions with a counsellor, etc.

        January 22, 2014 at 10:04 am |
      • myweightinwords

        You are aware that Planned Parenthood is about so much more than abortion, right?

        That they provide services to the poor and at risk that help save lives?

        The laws you speak of are not designed to make the clinics "safer" but to restrict access to nearly nothing for those woman who are seeking an abortion.

        January 22, 2014 at 11:16 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Topher
      Medical abortion is safer than childbirth.
      The death rate for legal, surgical abortion is 0.0006%.
      97% of women who obtain an abortion within the first 13 weeks or pregnancy report no complications whatsoever. (Src: Guttmacher Inst/itute).
      A woman is more likely to suffer serious complications after an appendectomy than an abortion.

      January 22, 2014 at 9:47 am |
  5. Inflatable solutions

    I have an idea that may end this debate for good. We need robots, lots of them ones that will completely mimic a significant other. You can make your robot look like your favorite celebrity. No STDs no unwanted people, think about it.

    January 22, 2014 at 6:30 am |
    • Reality # 2

      And for those who don't want to go high-tech, there is always "hand-jiving" to get the same results.

      Only for the new members of this blog:

      The most effective forms of contraception :

      – (Abstinence, 0% failure rate)
      – (Masturbation, mono or mutual, 0% failure rate) aka "hand-jiving".

      January 22, 2014 at 7:28 am |
      • Tom, Tom, the Other One

        No worries. Safe sex is in the palm of your hand.

        January 22, 2014 at 8:11 am |
        • Reality # 2

          :) :)

          January 22, 2014 at 10:35 am |
  6. Happy Atheist

    So will they picket Churches where people apparently worship a God that aborts between 70-75% of all conceptions? Or are they just going to draw the line inside another persons body?

    January 22, 2014 at 12:19 am |
    • Natural causes

      I think God can kill as many people as he wants. Lucifer too or the FSM. Take your pick.

      January 22, 2014 at 5:49 am |
  7. Mopery

    I'm interested to hear whether or not they support the death penalty. If not, then "March for Life" is a misnomer.

    January 22, 2014 at 12:13 am |
    • Celebrate life

      they do not

      January 22, 2014 at 1:58 am |
    • saggyroy

      And they will be happy to send kids off to war.

      January 22, 2014 at 5:33 am |
      • Natural causes

        Don't you think if someone had the ability to end war they would have done so already?

        January 22, 2014 at 5:56 am |
        • ME II

          @Natural causes,
          I don't know... apparently the supposed God hasn't.

          January 22, 2014 at 10:14 am |
  8. God™

    “We are professionalizing the March for Life,” said Kelly.

    Thank me someone is finally deciding to make some money off their faith!

    "Monahan says this year will different."

    That says it all...

    January 22, 2014 at 12:06 am |
  9. katlovesjwg

    Burke, you are so obviously pro-abortion, mocking and dismissive of the pro-life side. You're writing is so leftist, there is no belief in anything for you but the widespread
    death that your side brings. Boring? Not when you're about to have your brain stem punctured and your brains suctioned out. You are the reason I no longer get my news from the mainstream leftist media.
    Abortion harms all involved.

    January 21, 2014 at 11:49 pm |
    • Observer

      katlovesjwg,

      Get your news from Faux News then if you don't care about facts. You can comment on their blogs. Oh! They don't have any.

      January 22, 2014 at 12:34 am |
    • tallulah13

      Abortion is legal in this country. Any person who actually cares about the rights of women will support their ability to determine their own reproductive needs.

      January 22, 2014 at 12:54 am |
      • Natural causes

        What if you care about the rights of babies?

        January 22, 2014 at 5:55 am |
        • WASP

          "What if you care about the rights of babies?"

          exactly what about their rights? Given abortion is only done in the first trimester under the supervision of a trained medical professional, but let's talk about "baby rights".

          that's the problem with religious people, you want to "save the babies" but then you don't care what happens after that. what about all the children that die at religious parents hands due to physical, mental and emotional abuse?
          -why aren't you out there protecting the babies from being starved to death because the parent can't afford or simply refuses to feed the child?
          -why aren't you out there protecting the children from being killed due to being beat to death due to religious teachings; that one is personal to me because i survived an abusive psycho religious family, they beat me i became a teenager and beat back. they didn't like that too much, wimps. they could dish it out but couldn't take being hit back.
          -why aren't you out there preventing pedophiles from religions destroying children?

          you're all about the children/babies as long as they are un-born, after that none of you holier than thou religious wack-jobs do a thing to help any of them.

          January 22, 2014 at 7:18 am |
        • Not necessarily

          WASP

          Why do you assume those who want to protect unborn children have religious motives?

          January 22, 2014 at 9:18 am |
        • think4yourself

          Not Necessarily

          Because it takes a person of faith to believe that an undeveloped fetus is a baby. Logic would dictate that an undeveloped fetus is simply that and it becomes a life when its systems are liberated from the mother (birth). Only religious people can believe that once a sperm fertilizes an egg, a soul is created. It is the only explanation for them. There is no biological scientific explanation in their eyes. In thier eyes, the act of conception is a demonstration of God's will. I personally consider abortion to be a bad choice that succeeds an even worse choice however, since I am not a woman, I should have no say in the matter of whether or not a woman should unwantingly endure the gestation process because some people believe abortion is murder.

          January 22, 2014 at 10:00 am |
        • TadBad

          I would not consider an undeveloped fetus that cannot survive outside the body of a woman to have the same "rights" as a sentient human being, including a baby that has actually been born and can live independently of being connected to a woman.

          January 22, 2014 at 10:36 am |
        • tallulah13

          If you were really concerned about babies, you would be doing something about the half million of them already in foster care instead of trying to add to their numbers. It's sad how quickly "babies" are forgotten the second they are born.

          January 22, 2014 at 11:14 am |
        • think4yourself

          @ TadBad

          Your statement makes no sense.

          "I would not consider an undeveloped fetus that cannot survive outside the body of a woman to have the same "rights" as a sentient human being, including a baby that has actually been born and can live independently of being connected to a woman."

          That is like saying I like apples that are not red, including the red ones.

          January 22, 2014 at 4:19 pm |
      • nclaw441

        Slavery was once legal in this country. Civilized people grow and evolve.

        January 22, 2014 at 9:34 am |
        • tallulah13

          Civilized people understand that birth control and affordable health care are important. But the United States is full of uncivilized people who are opposed to these things - the very things that reduce the number of abortions. Civilized people also understand that women have the right to determine their own reproductive needs.

          January 22, 2014 at 10:01 am |
        • TadBad

          Comparing abortion to slavery makes an insulting mockery of the horrors that slavery induced into millions of lives. The same goes for comparing it to the Holocaust.

          January 22, 2014 at 10:42 am |
  10. earthtrekker

    http://www.abortionNo.org

    Every abortion destroys a unique, innocent person.

    January 21, 2014 at 11:13 pm |
    • doobzz

      No, it doesn't. Stop lying.

      January 21, 2014 at 11:33 pm |
      • Reality # 2

        Actually, it does.

        January 22, 2014 at 12:01 am |
        • tallulah13

          Not really.

          January 22, 2014 at 12:55 am |
        • Reality # 2

          We all were once womb babes i.e. unique.

          January 22, 2014 at 3:19 am |
        • saggyroy

          You never know if you are going to get a Hitler or Beethoven.

          January 22, 2014 at 5:36 am |
        • Reality # 2

          Beethoven's accomplishments were uniquely his own. Hitler's horrors required the assistance of 100 million Nazis.

          January 22, 2014 at 7:37 am |
        • Common Sense

          Most of those 100 millions were good Protestants and Catholics... Thanks guys!

          January 22, 2014 at 2:31 pm |
        • Reality # 2

          Good Catholics and Protestants?? Give us a break !!

          January 22, 2014 at 4:38 pm |
        • doobzz

          Nope. It's not a human being.

          January 22, 2014 at 9:45 pm |
  11. Colin

    If the Christian sky-fairy believers were honest, they would love abortion. Every aborted child, according to them, is a human life that goes straight to heaven to live with Jesus happily ever after. No chance of scr.ewing up and going to hell.

    What a bargain!! You're not even born and you get instant immortality. They should applaud every abortion. In fact, they should set up abortion clinics in every city so babies can be conceived and immediately aborted to ensure they go to heaven in huge numbers.

    January 21, 2014 at 9:48 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      The believers won't reply to your post. Toooo much logic.

      January 21, 2014 at 9:51 pm |
      • Natural causes

        What someone should do is protest this with logic. Hold signs up and say, "We're not here to talk to you about your soul. We can't prove one exists. We are here to offer you the option of adoption. We are here to offer you a list of foster parents. We are here to offer you a surrogate who can't have a child of their own."
        That's it, all that needs to be said.

        January 22, 2014 at 6:07 am |
        • Ken Margo

          Why is it so hard for you to understand that some women just DO NOT want to go through the child bearing process! Guys make seem as easy as boiling eggs. I've seen my wife give birth. 52 HOURS OF LABOR. TRUST ME IT AIN'T EASY.

          January 22, 2014 at 3:16 pm |
    • Doris

      Well, they need to maintain their mortal representation. But they could start a program to spit out extra batches. Actually, I think in small ways this happens already – like that baby that was sacrificed down in Chile about a year or so ago. Most of the people involved had college degrees.

      January 21, 2014 at 10:07 pm |
      • Ken Margo

        Scary. And people wonder why atheism exists.

        January 21, 2014 at 10:16 pm |
    • BRMN

      That's horrible. What on earth is wrong with you?

      January 21, 2014 at 10:16 pm |
      • Ken Margo

        Don't get mad a Colin. He's repeating what religious bloggers have posted.

        January 21, 2014 at 10:18 pm |
      • Colin

        Nothing. I am pointing out a fundamental flaw in their logic. If they were honestly true to their word, abortion would be a sacrament.

        January 21, 2014 at 10:19 pm |
        • emcwilliams

          Colin, I appreciate your attempt at the "logical" argument. Would you care to take it a step further and say that murdering children under the age of reason should be accepted and legalized as well? Those children would also go straight to heaven, right? Pretty easy to poke holes in the "logical" arguments of people when the platform is selfish and cold-hearted.

          January 22, 2014 at 10:13 am |
        • think4yourself

          @emcwilliams

          Collin's argument applies to your described situation regarding children before they reach the age or reason. The premise is that babies murdered before it has a chance to sin go straight to heaven. It sounds silly, but from a religious perspective it seems logical. To me, you have poked no holes in Collin's logic.

          January 22, 2014 at 4:35 pm |
      • Cpt. Obvious

        What's wrong with Colin's point of view? Is it illogical?

        January 21, 2014 at 10:27 pm |
    • federoff11

      See, we also care about the MOTHERS. Abortion doesn't take away their motherhood, it just leaves them without a baby. We don't want the mothers to experience the emotional, ongoing pain of knowing they killed their child, and the possibility that the mother may go to hell. We love them both, mother and baby.

      Your logic about "oooh! the baby goes right to heaven!" while true leaves out the very important factor of the woman. Try to wrap your head around the idea that we care about BOTH souls.

      January 21, 2014 at 11:19 pm |
      • doobzz

        "We don't want the mothers to experience the emotional, ongoing pain of knowing they killed their child, and the possibility that the mother may go to hell."

        They are not "killing a child" and many don't subscribe to your fantasies of eternal torture chambers. Keep your religion out of civil law, as prescribed by our constitution.

        January 21, 2014 at 11:32 pm |
      • Brother Maynard

        "We don't want the mothers to experience the emotional, ongoing pain of knowing they killed their child, and the possibility that the mother may go to hell."

        HAHAA This is funny !!
        Well the REASON mothere experience the emotional ongoing pain is because anti-abortion people yell at these mothers that they are killing babies. STOP THAT and bingo, no emotional trauma

        Have the Catholic church ( and other religous sects ) STOP the claim that mothers of aborted children go to hell. Provide a ride for these mothers to the clinic to do the procedure.
        The Catholic church has a LONG history of changing its dogma. AND it changes from dioceses to dioceses.

        January 22, 2014 at 7:56 am |
    • spockvondeutschland

      Colin
      What you have presented is not internally consistent with the Christian viewpoint. I am not certain why you believe it is. You seem to think it is Christian to do evil (procured abortion) so that good (eternal salvation) may come. This is the very opposite of Christian morality. For example, Romans 3:8

      "And why not do evil that good may come?—as some people slanderously charge us with saying. Their condemnation is just."

      January 22, 2014 at 12:01 am |
      • Doris

        "What you have presented is not internally consistent with the Christian viewpoint."

        Lol. Let me know when you can find any two Christian viewpoints to be consistent.

        January 22, 2014 at 12:17 am |
        • Doris

          correction: "... that are consistent".

          January 22, 2014 at 12:18 am |
      • Brother Maynard

        Sorry Spock
        But we've got history to back it up
        When the Spanish were settling the new world in present day Mexico, the Spanish priests / monks would baptise the babies of the Mayan and Aztec people prior to the soldiers killing them.
        They did not want these children to go to hell after they slautered them.
        Doing something GOOD ( for eternal salavation ) before doing somthing bad ( killing the child )

        January 22, 2014 at 8:02 am |
    • Reality # 2

      And then there atheists like myself who have Respect for Human Life in all its forms.

      See the Brutal Effects of Stupidity to see the solution to most if not all the horrors of abortion.

      January 22, 2014 at 12:11 am |
      • tallulah13

        I don't think you actually respect women at all. If you did, you would trust them to understand their own circumstances and to be able to evaluate whether or not they can carry a pregnancy to term. Forcing a woman to carry a child in an impossible situation is more akin to slavery than it is to respect.

        January 22, 2014 at 1:02 am |
        • Reality # 2

          Impossible situation ? The situation was not impossible before the pregnancy but there was a significant situation of stupidity. Eliminate the stupidity and said womb babes, moms and dads would never be put in such a situation. As the Rev. Jesse Jackson said once, "there is too much intercourse without discourse in this country". Unfortunately, his discourse was also lacking on too many occasions.

          January 22, 2014 at 3:36 am |
        • tallulah13

          Impossible, yes. It is not the place of politicians, priests or uninformed strangers to tell a woman the realities of her own life. Women are not slaves. You can choose for yourself. You cannot choose for others. You don't have that right.

          January 22, 2014 at 10:05 am |
    • Katharine

      Yes, we believe that aborted babies and miscarried babies and all little ones who die go straight to heaven. The relationship with God that a tiny child's soul is capable of having is a simple one of joy and perfect happiness. An adult who walks with God on this earth can develop a much deeper and more rich relationship with God in the next life, like the baby they are perfectly happy if they attain heaven but it goes deeper. There's an analogy that's sometimes used, everyone's cup is full but each person's cup comes in a size and shape that corresponds with their earthly relationship with God.

      Another factor is the lives that those children would have lived, the people who would have grown in goodness and holiness by loving them and sacrificing for them as caregivers, friends and families. The good they may have done or even the evil. Every life has so much worth and potential to change the world.

      And if you seriously believe there is no afterlife and no God you should be even more pro-life since this earthly life is all you would ever have and aborted babies are being deprived even of that.

      January 22, 2014 at 1:09 am |
      • Observer

        Katharine,

        The short-cut to heaven is something that will make mothers having abortions feel much better about.

        January 22, 2014 at 1:11 am |
      • Brother Maynard

        Katharine –
        "The good they may have done or even the evil"
        So even an evil life is precious? Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, Jeffery Dahmer all had precious lives ?
        I'm sorry but that is just rediculious ( sp? )

        And for the record I - an atheist - AM against abortion. That is why I support PREVENTATIVE measures against getting pregnant. Learning about s.ex should start when the child asks " Where do babies come from ? "
        S.ex should be thought of like brushing your teeth. You get up every morning and brush your teeth. You have s.ex every day you use protection.
        the only problem are the religious that STOP this flow of information, that think abstenience is the only answer.
        Truly the relitious are creating a problem so they can solve it.

        January 22, 2014 at 8:11 am |
    • nclaw441

      That is an interesting point. If the sole purpose of living were to die and go to heaven I might have to agree with you (but for the murder part). But my faith belief is that we are here to praise God and show God our love. We are also called to tell others, in hopes that they, too, will believe as we do. So I cannot agree with your analysis.

      January 22, 2014 at 9:29 am |
  12. baby james

    choice of death or Life for a baby, and there is actually a debate – and society is OK with choosing death – the baby is moving, sucking and alive and we are debating if a fetus can be killed – one side of this debate is oblivious to the point they cannot actually be thinking of these living babies. This is killing in every since of the word – please just think of what is happening – it sounds and feels wrong and goes against our human nature. It should be illegal as killing a 1 day old. Has nothing to do with religion it is all about sacrificing for the babies life. Pay bills or kill my baby. I do feel pity for the women who must feel so much guilt for the rest of their lives. Society should not give them an option -very sad

    January 21, 2014 at 9:39 pm |
    • Observer

      So what do you say to your wife/daughter/sister who needs an abortion to save their life? "Tough luck"?

      January 21, 2014 at 9:44 pm |
    • Atheism isn't a religion

      Please concern yourself with what impacts you...and the choice of a woman across the country's choice doesn't.

      January 21, 2014 at 9:45 pm |
      • Ken Margo

        One thing about this subject. It's easy to tell the guys from the gals. The guys usually sound like cavemen. They believe:
        Women shouldn't work, go to school, vote or have a choice. In other words a Rick Santorum.

        January 21, 2014 at 9:54 pm |
        • Atheism isn't a religion

          You're one of the few who most definitely isn't a caveman, Mr. Margo.

          January 21, 2014 at 9:58 pm |
        • Ken Margo

          Well Thank you.

          January 21, 2014 at 10:02 pm |
        • Atheism isn't a religion

          You're welcome. And Rick Santorum makes me shudder.

          January 21, 2014 at 10:06 pm |
        • Really

          Actually educated guys know that this is more than womens choice.
          We pay for the child if she has it, but have no choice if she doesnt.
          Does that sound cavemanish?
          Give the guy a way out of paying child support, providing medical insurance, etc.and this whole thing will go away.
          Do you think women will ho around if we had a choice also?
          You must be a pillow biter.

          Didnt the woman make a choice when they opened their legs. At least I am told that I made the choice to put my thing in her, so I should pay money. I guess it doent go both ways.

          January 22, 2014 at 11:29 am |
        • Ken Margo

          @Really..............I have no idea what you are trying to say. Think about it, then write it.

          January 22, 2014 at 3:12 pm |
    • Mary Elephant

      An appeal to emotion isn't an argument at all.

      January 21, 2014 at 9:47 pm |
  13. Ken Margo

    Did any of you notice that in those pictures displayed in the beginning of the article that not one person was offering any support for those "babies" they want so badly to be born?

    Did you also notice that not one person was calling for new guns laws to protect those that have been born?

    Did any of you notice no one was protesting the fact republicans want to cut SNAP (used to feed children) , Pell Grants (send kids to school) Planned Parenthood (Tests women for cancer and other diseases), Healthcare (for healthy children)

    I guess god doesn't care AFTER they're born either. Just wanted to point that out.

    January 21, 2014 at 9:21 pm |
  14. WASP

    bluntly put, your imaginary friend has no say so over another humans body.

    abortion is a choice, the same as giving birth to a child is a choice. both carry their own consequences and advantages. the only people fighting to revoke another humans ability to choose are the religious. i remember a few times in history that religion/the religious attempted to block another humans rights;
    1) slavery
    2) women rights to vote
    3) LGBT

    there are times when you just aren't ready and sitting down thinking " ok so if i have this child, i bring it into this world what kind of life will it be given?"
    if the child will be made to suffer due to the failures of the parent, then the options should be weighed.
    1) would it be more humain to abort the fetus so i can fix my life to better provide for the next child i choose to have?
    2) can i bare the weight of terminating this pregnancy?
    3) can i bare the weight of carrying it to term?
    4) would my current fiancial situation or living situation bring harm to this fetus once carried to term?

    everything carries weight and effects each human differently. you won't ever understand what these women that have to make these difficult choices go through until you live in their shoes, until then give these women the dignity and respect of being human and leave them alone. you have no right to force your beliefs on another human, just as i can't force my lack of belief on you.

    January 21, 2014 at 8:45 pm |
  15. Tom, Tom, the Other One

    If only there were time machines: The creationist believers could see evolution at work. Non-theists could see miracles not happening.

    Actually, I'd like to see Pink Floyd playing the UFO Club.

    January 21, 2014 at 8:03 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      I am so down for that.

      January 21, 2014 at 10:18 pm |
  16. 123

    Live4Him thinks only newborns are worthy of adoption:

    "Considering this category is the minute group – why bother discussing it? Why not focus on all the thousands of parents wanting to adopt a newborn but are unable to do so because the child was aborted?"

    They can adopt a child already within the adoption system.

    Why DONT they?

    I suspect they're not the right color.
    Plenty of babies being born. Birth rates aren't really down overall. Desirable white babies are at a premium though.

    January 21, 2014 at 6:42 pm |
  17. Barbarism

    Google an aborted fetus sometime and tell me the image isn't reminiscent of the torture chambers of the middle ages.

    January 21, 2014 at 6:39 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      90% of abortions occur in the first trimester. According to blogger Cherilyn b who had an abortion. The embryo is the size of an walnut and doesn't resemble an human. (She asked to see it after her abortion.) I doubt that the embryo/fetus would remind you of the torture chambers of the middle ages.

      January 21, 2014 at 6:58 pm |
      • Reading your comments.

        Uh Ken the aborted fetuses on Google ARE first trimester, and yes it does resemble a human but never mind that, I'm sure humanity isn't all that important to you.

        January 21, 2014 at 7:05 pm |
        • Ken Margo

          You can't believe everything you see on a website. If you don't believe me, take a look at a fox news website. Speaking of humanity. How would you help the mother,father and baby once it was born? Would you supply monetary support? Volunteer babysitting? Ensure employment? Pay rent, Healthcare? I could go on. I couldn't help notice you havent spoken of any support. I'm sure you know kids aren't free.

          January 21, 2014 at 7:21 pm |
        • Topher

          So they should be murdered because they're inconvenient? Up to what age should we be allowed to murder them? 2? 3? 4? Teenagers? They can be inconvenient and I don't even have one.

          January 21, 2014 at 7:58 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          Topher, If you don't feel that the mother should have a choice – would you support the child until it finishes college?

          January 21, 2014 at 8:02 pm |
        • Topher

          We've already discussed this tonight. I'd love to adopt if the government didn't sit there with their hands open.

          January 21, 2014 at 8:08 pm |
        • sam stone

          Gopher: I think you should run to the local police department to report these murders

          January 21, 2014 at 8:40 pm |
        • Honest

          Blaming the same government that won't do anything after they're born, Topher? Bull. Become a foster parent and adopt that way. Bet you wont cuz you want a bright shiny white baby just Iike you. All talk, no solutions except to try and prohibit the rights of people you don't even know and whose life you couldn't care less about.

          January 21, 2014 at 8:41 pm |
        • Ken Margo

          @Topher........I got news for ya. Kids as well as adults are murdered everyday, by gun violence. The very same religious whackjobs that whine against abortion, are same ones screaming gun rights! Topher you smell just as phony as they are. Thankfully topher your sciopathic ways are falling on deaf ears. Gay rights/marriage, abortion are happening despite the praying you do to your imaginary friend and are continuing to happen probably as we type.

          January 21, 2014 at 8:45 pm |
        • Honest

          Word, Ken Margo. Let the hypocrites legislate some sane gun control laws. Gonna take away women's rights, take away some gun rights too.

          January 21, 2014 at 8:58 pm |
        • sam stone

          i forgot all about gay marriage. gopher wants to deny gays the right to marry, because he says it will allow them to continue in their sin.

          however, he is strangely silent when asked what other sinners there are in his jeebus circle-j-e-r-k whom he wants to deny rights

          January 22, 2014 at 6:38 am |
    • saggyroy

      You mean the torture chambers that were developed by the clergy to use on heretics, witches and blasphemers?

      January 21, 2014 at 7:58 pm |
  18. cwong

    Apparently, you've never been to the March for Life or your estimates of attenders would be accurate. How about asking the people in the buildings along the March route. They always watch the seemingly never ending Marchers from their windows.
    Since President Obama was elected there are clearly over $400,000 people. And while you're at it, ask the people who work at the turnpike rest stops how busy they are on January 22. Your article was so biased you should be ashamed of yourself as a reporter.

    January 21, 2014 at 2:46 pm |
    • think4yourself

      Are $400,000 people like lesser versions of the $6 Million Man?

      January 22, 2014 at 4:58 pm |
  19. Johnny

    As someone who went to this when I was in Catholic High School I can say that easily 85 to 90 percent of our group just saw it as a vacation, and didn't care about abortion at all one way or the other. I would imagine it is that way for most of those groups.

    January 21, 2014 at 2:44 pm |
  20. Quiet Time

    zzzzzz zzzzzz zzzzzz zzzzzz

    January 21, 2014 at 2:28 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.