It’s been 45 years since the first March for Life, but the reason we march remains the same—we’re doing it for the babies and their moms. What can you do to prepare your children to commemorate Jan. 22 in a meaningful way?
by Laura Kizior and Mary Kizior
In 1974, Nellie Gray and a group of dedicated pro-lifers held the first March for Life. They didn’t know what would happen when they gathered outside the Supreme Court on that cold January day. When 20,000 people showed up to march with them to help protect preborn babies and their moms, Nellie and her friends realized that they needed to make the March for Life an annual event until abortion was finally abolished in our nation.
Being pro-life is about more than just knowing abortion is wrong. It’s about spending every day loving and respecting all of God’s children from the very moment of their creation until death.
That includes respecting the elderly, helping the needy, and showing respect for each human being in everything you do. Your children may span many different age ranges, and some of them may be too young to really understand what abortion is, but you can still participate in activities as a family that will help your children embrace and live a culture of life.
Whether or not you make it to the March this year, there are four main activities you can do as a family to help build respect for preborn babies in your own home.
Praying to end abortion is something we should do all year, but the anniversary of Roe v. Wade every Jan. 22 gives us the opportunity to renew our efforts for the coming year. With family prayer time, you have the opportunity to show your children how to engage with the culture in a very unique way.
We cannot end abortion and the horrors of the culture of death without prayer. Children don’t need to know anything about abortion to pray for the safety of expectant mothers and fathers and their preborn children. The most important pro-life lesson your children need to learn from family prayer time is that prayer has the power to transform hearts and souls for Christ—starting with our own hearts and souls.
Keep a family prayer journal where you can enter prayer intentions and answered prayers. Your family prayer journal is where your children can see a record of God working in their lives and in the lives of the people around them. Every few weeks or months, take some time to review prayers and note which intentions have been answered.
When your children are having a hard time, you can say to them, “Remember when we prayed for Aunt Jean when she was in the hospital and she had a good recovery? God answered our prayers. He always does. It’s up to us to listen to Him.”
Pregnancy resource centers are the “front lines” of the pro-life movement because they provide women with the care and support they need to say yes to life. There are many ways we can lend a hand to pregnancy resource centers. Volunteer at the center to help clean, organize donations, or provide other necessary services. You can even try raising money for the center. Fundraising can be as simple as doing a “bottle drive” at your parish by passing out empty baby bottles and having parishioners fill them with spare change. Visit CareNet or Heartbeat International to find a center near you.
3. Educate your children
We say this again and again: Pro-life education must be intentional. Although your children will learn many things about how to live out the gospel of life through your example, you cannot assume that they will be able to defend their pro-life beliefs when challenged by their peers or even other adults. You can’t send your kids out into the world to battle the culture of death if you don’t first arm them with the truth.
When your children are young, focus on building virtues and learning about the beauty of every human being. When your kids become teenagers, hone in on practicing arguments to defend the dignity and respect of every human being.
Abortion activists like to argue that abortion is not a black and white issue or that there are some grey areas. In real life, morality can seem less absolute because of certain circumstances. That’s why it is important for your family to regularly talk about things like abortion and euthanasia. Don’t just tell your children that abortion is wrong because it’s murder. Use news stories or scenarios to stimulate discussion and then explain how one person’s life is not more valuable than another’s.
Host a discussion night for other families with teenagers using these discussion guides, this lesson on euthanasia, or this lesson follow-up on assisted suicide, or organize a showing and discussion of Who Was the Real Margaret Sanger?. One day, your kids will have to face challenges from the outside world, but it is up to us to help prepare them for that moment so they don’t lose their faith or beliefs in the face of adversity.
Note: We do not recommend talking about abortion with very young children. If your younger children have questions, we recommend this approach.
4. Join a local walk for life
Attending the March for Life in Washington D.C. or the Walk for Life West Coast with over half a million other people isn’t always practical. Fortunately there are many opportunities in cities around the country.
Check out this website to find a walk for life in your own community. Make the experience powerful for your kids by reminding them that they are doing something important for tiny babies and their moms. Help your children make their own signs to carry in the march.
We each have a mission to stand up in defense of every human person, no matter how small. We are each blessed by God with special talents and abilities. Ask yourself: How can I use my special talents in the Lord’s service? How can I help end abortion?
We need heroic parents, homeschool parents, teachers, students, business people, janitors, and doctors. No matter where you are or what you do in life, there is a way for you to share the gospel of life with those around you in unique and creative ways.
This January, let the March transform your efforts to end abortion. Everyone can make a difference in ending abortion. Become educated, understand what precious lives are at stake, and pray for courage to carry out our mission. We can end the culture of death if we work together.