January 27, 2017 marked the 44th annual March for Life. This year, technology allowed the march to be streamed on Facebook, and this message of life and love received almost 2 million views and more than 33,000 shares. The March for Life began over 40 years ago to commemorate the January 22, 1973 Supreme Court decisions in Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton.
Vice President Mike Pence, who has called himself an "evangelical Catholic," joined the marchers at their rally, marking the first time ever that a sitting White House administration official has been present at the event. "Life is winning through the steady advance of science that illuminates when life begins more and more every day," he said in his speech.
"Since 1973, 58 million Americans have died as a result of abortion." "Science, reason, and truth are on the side of life." "In the words of one of my heroes, St. Teresa of Calcutta, 'abortion is profoundly anti-women.'" -March for Life President, Jeanne Mancini
"In the past four years, we have helped 330 abortion workers leave the industry." "For me it was a 13-week old baby in the womb that changed my life. One person, you can change the course of another person's life." -Abby Johnson, Former Planned Parenthood Director and founder of And Then There Were None
After the rally on the National Mall, the marchers walked 1.5 miles past the Capitol and on to the Supreme Court, where they prayed.*
Our Lady's Academy and Our Lady Comforter of the Afflicted Church were well-represented at the March! The students had the opportunity to attend Mass at Sacred Heart Shrine celebrated by Cardinal Sean O'Malley, and then join the March. Following are some of our photos, and you can find the rest of the Archdiocesan photos here. (13 Things you may not know about Roe v. Wade below photos)
13 things you may not know about Roe v. Wade:
- There were actually 2 court cases: Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton.
The Roe case held that any government restrictions on abortion must be subject to strict scrutiny, to ensure that they do not violate a woman's right to privacy. The 7-2 decision permitted abortion in order to save the life or health of the mother. The Doe case specifically defined “health” of the mother as “all factors -- physical emotional, psychological, familial, and the woman’s age,” which basically meant that a woman could have an abortion for any reason and claim it was for the good of her “health.” This second case helped expand abortion rights up until birth.
- The two plaintiffs, Norma McCorvey ("Jane Roe") and Sandra Cano ("Mary Doe") never had an abortion. In fact, Roe gave her baby up for adoption 2 years prior to the court decision.
- Roe v. Wade defined what we now think of as "trimesters," an arbitrary description of pregnancy used in the opinions.
- Jane Roe lied about having been raped, in order to garner sympathy for her case. She later recanted.
- Jane Roe never actually testified, nor was invited to appear in court in any manner.
- Mary Doe had originally sought help from Atlanta Legal Aid for a divorce and to regain custody of her children from foster care. She didn't realize her case would be used to further the abortion debate; she believed her case would be focused on equality issues for women, with regard to her own difficulty in obtaining her divorce and custody.
- Mary Doe has stated, "I was against abortion. I ran away to Oklahoma (to her grandmother's) to keep from having an abortion scheduled by my attorney." "It was only later that I learned that, through Margie Pitts Hames (her attorney in the Doe case), I had apparently sued Georgia Baptist Hospital to have an abortion." (Georgia Baptist is now Grady Hospital.) Her attorney had misrepresented her and sealed the records, but Ms. Cano did not understand the extent of her "role" in the case until she had the records unsealed in 1988.
- Both plaintiffs were, or actively became, pro-life.
- In 2003, Jane Roe filed a motion in a Dallas court to have them consider evidence that abortion hurts women. This motion was dismissed by the court.
- Also in 2003, Mary Doe filed suit in Georgia (Cano v. Baker) to overturn Doe v. Bolton on the grounds that there was new scientific evidence to support reconsideration of the 1973 decision. The court ended up denying her motion on procedural grounds, not on the merits of her case. An Appeals Court upheld the decision in 2006, and later that year the US Supreme Court refused to reconsider the case.
- In 2005, Jane Roe testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee to encourage them to overturn Roe v. Wade.
- Justice Rehnquist, in his dissenting opinion to Roe v. Wade wrote: "The Court's opinion decides that a state may impose virtually no restrictions on medical abortions performed during the first trimester of pregnancy." "the Court's sweeping invalidation of any restrictions on abortion during the first trimester is impossible to justify under that standard (of privacy.)" "To reach its result, the Court necessarily has had to find within the scope of the Fourteenth Amendment a right that was apparently completely unknown to the drafters of the Amendment."
- Ms. Cano passed away in 2014 at age 66, after spending most of her life trying to undo the damage from the Doe case. Ms. McCorvey passed away recently, on February 18, 2017 at age 69.
Both of these cases demonstrate that the courts were trying to influence social policy, instead of simply interpreting the Constitution. This can also be observed through the series of cases leading up to Roe. First, activist judges created and established a "right to privacy" (which does not exist in the Constitution) in the case Poe v. Ullman. Then the right to privacy regarding contraception was noted (Griswold v. Connecticut). Finally, the "right" to have an abortion because of a woman's right to privacy was rendered (Roe v. Wade). Both Roe and Doe were brought under Section 1 of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, or the "equal protection of the laws" and "due process" clauses.
The problems that the Court believed it was solving with its decision were the following: "Maternity, or additional offspring, may force upon the woman a distressful life and future. Psychological harm may be imminent. Mental and physical health may be taxed by child care. There is also the distress, for all concerned, associated with the unwanted child, and there is the problem of bringing a child into a family already unable, psychologically and otherwise, to care for it. In other cases, as in this one, the additional difficulties and continuing stigma of unwed motherhood may be involved. All these are factors the woman and her responsible physician necessarily will consider in consultation." - Justice Harry Blackmun, majority opinion
The Abortion Papers - a compilation of some of the memos of the private deliberations of the Justices. Found with the personal papers of the late Justice William O. Douglas.
2005 Testimony of Norma McCorvey before the Senate Judiciary Committee - "Roe v. Wade is not in the Constitution. It is just a bad Supreme Court decision with bad effects and needs to be reversed. I also support a Constitutional amendment to protect all human life."
Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992) - held that obtaining informed consent, waiting 24 hours, and in the case of minors, obtaining parental consent presented an "undue burden" on a woman seeking an abortion.
** The number of abortions in the US are at the lowest point since Roe v. Wade
1973: 16.3 abortions per 1,000 women
1980-81: 29.3 abortions per 1,000 women
2014: 14.6 abortions per 1,000 women (Source: Guttmacher Institute)
Sandra Cano's plaque at the national memorial for the unborn in Chattanooga, TN reads:
"I AM SANDRA CANO, I BECAME KNOWN AS MARY DOE WHEN THE U.S. SUPREME COURT RELEASED ROE V. WADE'S COMPANION CASE, DOE V. BOLTON, WHICH ALLOWED ABORTION FOR VIRTUALLY ANY REASON.
"I AM AGAINST ABORTION; I NEVER SOUGHT AN ABORTION; I NEVER HAD AN ABORTION. ABORTION IS MURDER. FOR OVER TWENTY YEARS, AND AGAINST MY WILL, MY NAME HAS BEEN SYNONYMOUS WITH ABORTION. THE DOE V. BOLTON CASE IS BASED ON DECEIT AND FRAUD.
"I STAND TODAY IN THIS PLACE OF HEALING, THE NATIONAL MEMORIAL FOR THE UNBORN, AND PLEDGE TO THE MEMORY OF THESE INNOCENT CHILDREN, THAT AS LONG AS I HAVE BREATH, I WILL STRIVE TO SEE ABORTION ENDED IN AMERICA."
-SANDRA CANO, MARCH 23, 1997