Maybe the producers at ABC, CBS and NBC were so tuckered after televising President Barack Obama’s inauguration that they didn’t notice an estimated 250,000 Americans gathered in Washington just two days later. March for Life 2009 attendance indicates that something huge is afoot. Yet only the Catholic cable network EWTN covered it thoroughly.
Tim Graham of the Media Research Center found “zero” coverage of the March for Life by NBC and he provided transcripts of conditional mentions made by the other two major networks.
On CBS’s January 24 Saturday Early Show, Kimberly Dozier said: “Despite loud demonstrations this week, Mr. Obama also quietly stepped into the abortion debate. Late Friday, he overturned the Bush ban on giving federal funds to international family planning groups that perform abortions or provide information about terminating pregnancies.”
Later, Priya David read a shorter script: “By week’s end President Obama even stepped into the abortion debate despite protests against abortion during this week’s anniversary of Roe versus Wade.”
Then, on ABC’s World News Sunday, Dan Harris commented: “On Friday, the president signed an executive order, reversing the ban on federal funding for international organizations that facilitate abortions in other countries. The president didn’t allow cameras to film the signing, hoping not to provoke anti-abortion groups.”
Clip of protesters: “Pro-life remains alive. You don’t care if women die.”
Harris: “It didn’t work. Reaction was fast and brutal. Family groups accused Obama of plotting the infanticide of African children. And the Christian faithful say they’re now losing faith in Obama.”
Note to Dan Harris: Christians didn’t put their faith in President Obama, nor were we defeated by his executive order.
In fact, a Gallup poll released on February 2 shows that 58% of Americans disapprove of President Obama revoking the Mexico City Policy and thereby ordering taxpayer-funded abortions and lobbying in foreign countries.
Before and after the March for Life, many pro-life groups led further demonstrations or conferences.
While I could not possibly witness every event, I did see that 800 college students remained in Washington for the Students for Life of America (SFLA) conference at the Catholic University of America on January 24. SFLA leads 480 campus groups and closely monitors each group’s activities.
At the conference, Executive Director Kristan Hawkins was literally full of life – actually, full of lives – since she was pregnant with her first child and due to give birth at any moment.
Hawkins said, “The 2009 Students for Life of America conference was the best in our 20-plus years of history. We were blessed to have speakers from almost every major pro-life organization in the country and sell out for the second year in a row. Students from the entire span of the United States came. It was a blessing to train these pro-life leaders and teach them what it will take to defeat the culture of death. You could feel the energy and excitement in the conference center as students were buzzing about meeting pro-life leaders, asking questions of the SFLA staff and strategizing with students from other universities in their region.
“Some people thought pro-lifers would go quiet after the election of President Obama, the most pro-abortion president in U.S. history,” said Hawkins. “However, those people haven’t met the Students for Life of America in colleges and universities across the country – young people who really change their communities with the culture of life.”
The highlight of the conference was keynote speaker David Bereit, national director of 40 Days for Life, who accepted the Defender of Life Award from Students for Life of America. 40 Days for Life is the extensive and proven lifesaving routine of prayer and fasting to end abortion. It is 40 days of constant peaceful vigil outside abortion centers and Planned Parenthood offices, complemented by pro-life community outreach.
Michael New, a young assistant professor of political science at the University of Alabama, also attended the SFLA conference. New has done studies on pro-life strategy, he led a 40 Days for Life campaign and even has a fan club on Facebook.
He said, “For a long time, the pro-life movement neglected youth outreach. That is why it was so heartening to see 800 students at the Students for Life of America conference. David Bereit’s remarks about the history of 40 Days for Life clearly demonstrated the importance of local and campus pro-life activism to the assembled students.”
Bereit’s speech is about everything that ABC’s Dan Harris missed. It’s about the power of faith and love – neither of which is possible without humility. It’s about the significance of each and every person, especially the most vulnerable. Thus, Christians put their faith in Christ on the cross.
David Bereit’s speech is online, but be forewarned – you might be inspired to think big and join the next 40 Days for Life prayer campaign, which starts in 118 American cities, plus some in Canada and Australia, on Ash Wednesday, February 25, 2009.