What Pro-lifers Can Learn From the World Cup Competitors
I am not the biggest sports fan and watch very little, with the exception of golf. But there’s something about World Cup soccer — or football, according to the rest of the planet — that interests me enough to sit through several games. While waiting for the USA v. Iran game on Nov. 29, I watched an interview with a young American player who was talking about the hard work he has had to put in his whole life.
“I have to work as hard as possible because there is always someone who will work harder,” this young man said.
The First Set in a Very Long Match
I have heard this sentiment a thousand times about so many subjects, but it stood out for me this time as I have been contemplating the pro-life movement and where we go from here. With the recent overturning of Roe v. Wade and the subsequent developments in so many states, there is so much to think about, plan for and reevaluate about our work.
While our movement has celebrated a major victory and seen so many lives saved, this success was actually just the first set in a very long match.
A Battle Redefined
Since the deadly Roe v. Wade decision of 1973, the pro-life movement has focused mainly on fighting abortion on the federal level, but the Dobbs decision in June redefined the battle, shifting it to the state level. To continue the sports metaphor, we have been in the preseason since Jan. 1973, and June 24, 2022 began the regular season.
I’ve been talking to fellow activists about the upcoming March for Life in January and it occurred to us how important the state marches have become in light of this new battlefield. Marches took place in five state capitals this year — I attended the one in Columbus, Ohio — and there are plans for at least 10 in 2023.
What the Irish Got Wrong
I was heartened to see such big turnouts at these marches, but I do worry that some people think we can now relax and enjoy our Roe victory. Instead, we need to take a lesson from what happened in Ireland.
The first time the group Youth Defence brought me to the Republic to speak, abortion was still illegal there. Youth Defence was working hard to keep it that way but too many others in Ireland thought they didn’t have to lift a finger.
That apathy, as we know, allowed the other side to gain momentum and bring the bloodshed of abortion to Ireland. Babies can be legally killed there until 12 weeks.
The Fight Has Just Begun
I recently came across a review of a talk I gave at a music festival about a decade ago. The writer said he left my talk early because he didn’t like the descriptive words I used when talking about abortion and society’s response — or lack thereof — to this holocaust. I was speaking a truth that was too hard for some to hear.
With all of this in mind as we approach the first post-Roe March for Life, we must reevaluate our fight and resolve to work much harder. I can guarantee Planned Parenthood and other pro-abortion organizations will be working harder than ever before to expand abortion where it’s legal — that’s already happening — and to restore legal child killing in states where the unborn are now protected.
We must take the words to heart that someone will always work harder or we will find ourselves, like Ireland, worse off than we started.
I have dedicated more than 30 years of my life to bringing an end to abortion and I will never forget the moment when the Dobbs decision was released. But even in the euphoria of that June day, I knew that in many ways, the fight had just begun.
The true victory will come when abortion is not only illegal, but unthinkable. We have our work cut out for us.
Bryan Kemper is the youth outreach director and coordinator of street activism for Priests for Life and the founder of its youth outreach Stand True. He is the author of Social Justice Begins in the Womb and Pro-life is the New Punk Rock.