HOWELL: Why We March
The Round Table

Today, the 44th annual March for Life winds its way through Washington, D.C., starting at the Washington Monument and heading toward the steps of the Supreme Court.

We, the Georgetown University Knights of Columbus, attend the March every year in accordance with our desire to promote a culture of life on campus and around the nation. We oppose euthanasia, the death penalty and particularly abortion because of our belief in the supreme innocence of its victims.

We march because we believe each individual human being is created uniquely and lovingly by God. The act of creation does not occur at birth, but rather at conception, when the process of life begins. This belief is not only the official position of the Knights, but that of the Catholic Church and, ostensibly, the university as well.

Although we champion Georgetown’s values by marching, we will go this year, as we have in the past, without the university’s support. While many of our peers attending institutions such as University of Notre Dame and Catholic University of America receive a day off from class to attend, Georgetown University has refused the petitions of its attendees for a similar allowance.

The inaugural March for Life was held Jan. 22, 1974 and attracted 20,000 marchers. That day marked the first anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that reasoned a woman’s right to privacy allowed her to decide whether to have an abortion.

We continue to hold that abortion is the most pressing issue of our time even 45 years after Roe, as nearly 60 million abortions have been legally sanctioned in the United States, roughly the same number of people who died in World War II.

Although Nellie Gray, the founder of the march, had originally intended it to be a one-time event, she instead pushed to have an annual march to keep issues the opposition of abortion, the death penalty and euthanasia on the national radar.

Since then, the March has attracted hundreds of thousands of protesters, including more than 600,000 in 2013. Featured speakers have included sitting presidents such as Ronald Reagan in 1987 and George W. Bush in 2003, as well as numerous members of Congress. This year, Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway and Cardinal Timothy Dolan are set to deliver addresses.

Together, we reject the arbitrary distinction between born and unborn because we believe life persists fundamentally unchanged from womb to world. A child is no more alive one minute after birth than one minute, or even six months, before. Accordingly, no utilitarian argument could dissuade us from our stance against abortion.

Further, we reject the claim that a society, family or single parent would be so disadvantaged by the birth of a child so as to justify the destruction of the child’s life. No one has a right to determine for another when life is worth living.

Of course, we hope that all those sympathetic to the cause attend despite the university’s lack of accommodation, but more importantly we hope this occasion might instigate a respectful dialogue on campus centered on life, which we and the Catholic Church hold to be the single most essential value of human existence.

Many on campus disagree with us, often in the name of principles such as liberty and privacy. However, there is no scale on which to measure the value of a human life, which is qualitatively superior to privacy, liberty or any other right. The only choice, then, is whether or not to recognize the worth of every human being. Those of us who identify as pro-life stand on the side of human dignity and will not allow life to be cheapened.

Although the fetus starts as a clump of cells, it rapidly and ineluctably changes. I, too, am a clump of cells, but I am not the same clump as when I was conceived, nor will I be the same in 10 years. Life, then, is fundamentally a process of growth and change, which has its decisive, fragile and miraculous beginning in the womb.

Richard Howell is a sophomore in the School of Foreign Service. THE ROUND TABLE appears every other Friday as a rotating column between members of the Knights of Columbus.

Have a reaction to this article? Write a letter to the editor.

6 Comments

  1. John Harris says:

    Well said! Thanks for writing this.

  2. Sherman Roberts says:

    KUDOS & BRAVO TO THE COURAGEOUS RICHARD HOWELL, AND THE KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS AT GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY!!!

    SHAME ON GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY’S PRESIDENT, ADMINISTRATORS, FACULTY, AND ALL THOSE ON CAMPUS WHO DISAGREE WITH THE PRICELESS DIGNITY OF LIFE, AND WHO PROMOTE A CULTURE OF DEATH FOR WHATEVER REASON!!!

    IT IS CLEAR GU APOSTATIZED FROM THE CATHOLIC CHURCH MANY YEARS AGO. DO NOT CALL YOURSELF A CATHOLIC UNIVERSITY IF YOU DO NOT ACT LIKE ONE! YOUR CHOICE IS: YOU ARE EITHER FAITHFULLY CATHOLIC, OR YOU ARE NOT! WHICH IS IT???

    SHERMAN ROBERTS, COLLEGE, C’65

  3. William Jakinovich says:

    What a wonderful statement. Brilliant. Thank You to Richard Howell and the Georgetown K of Cs.

  4. It seems odd that a University would not support in light of the fact that the University system is designed to support, debate, discuss a diversity or variety of ideas / thoughts.

  5. As someone who appreciates the conviction of members of the anti-abortion, I am somewhat befuddled by a few statements in this article. My primary confusion is with the claim that the KOC and Right to Life are not accommodated by the university. There is no basis in the claim that the administration does not support Right to Life. If in fact they are referring to the university community at large, then I would suggest a few things to help improve their image:

    1) Do not say you want to engage with HFC but write editorials and responses to complaints that take holier-than-thou stances and do not directly respond to their concerns. I would point to the editorial written by a HFC member this weekend in criticism of the conference and the Right to Life response as an example of Right to Life ignoring common criticisms of their work and firing back with rhetoric that is both insulting and unproductive.

    2) I understand that Right to Life is primarily focused on abortion but I am unable to fully commit myself to the group because time and time again I see members, particularly members in the KOC like the author, engaged in social activism that is embarrassingly anti-Catholic and anti-life. A recent example would be the support within the Knights for Trump’s most vulgar policies and a tendency to conflate patriotism with justice and religion.

    Do better!

  6. Sherman Roberts says:

    This is a follow-up to my January 27th comments cited above. TRUTH is the mind’s conformity with reality. It is not difficult to see why people today have difficulty with such a basic concept because all falsehoods, including all forms of relativism, are mental deviations from reality. As persons endowed with God-given dignity, we have a personal responsibility by our very nature, and we are bound by a moral obligation to seek truth, especially religious truth, because religion itself is an obligation. With science we get to know the physical world; with religion we get to know the spiritual world, and we continue building on what previous generations have taught us. Faith is not giving up personal freedom, faith is gaining freedom. We are naturally spiritual, and religion gives us freedom to explore the spiritual realm.

    Truth, especially religious truth, makes demands upon us. To say that everything is relative so that we can do whatever we want is a serious violation of our responsibility as persons. Truth’s obligatory nature is an essential aspect of truth. All authentic truth comes from God, who wants us to know and understand His truth, so we can embrace it and live by it. Jesus Christ reminds us, “The truth shall make you free” (Jn 8:32). He also said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me” (Jn 146). Truth is a Person!

    Considering Georgetown’s moral and ethical hypocrisy over the past few decades, the university may claim to be pro-life, but yet invites the head of Planned Parenthood, or Kathleen Sebelius of HHS, to speak publicly to students to promote abortion. To get an idea of the scope of the overall problem, I have attached an article from The Cardinal Newman Society that speaks to GU’s dissenting Catholic “identity”, and the Canon Law case against GU.

    The real purpose of the university is not about the free expression of ideas–IT IS ABOUT THE PURSUIT OF TRUTH. Students rights to the free expression of immoral, unrealistic, or eccentric ideas do not belong in a university, but in a public park or a private venue. Georgetown has fallen away from forming its students with a solid, moral, and ethical Catholic foundation that prepares students to discern the truth later in life, and to evangelize in a fallen world, as Christ commanded. Academic freedom must be practiced within the confines of the truth and the common good. A Catholic university’s obligation is to search for and teach truth, which includes the truth of the sacredness of human life, the evils of abortion and euthanasia, as well as the unnatural, immoral behavior of LGBTQ

    When people say one should not judge, ‘judge not’ does not mean we ignore evil! Jesus did not tell us that we should close our eyes to moral evil in the world. He expects His followers to acknowledge the difference between good and bad conduct in themselves, and others. Although He wants us to be forgiving and merciful to others, He does not want us to ignore, much less approve, immoral behavior. Admonishing the sinner is a spiritual work of mercy much needed in today’s broken world.

    https://cardinalnewmansociety.org/exorcist-authors-canon-law-case-georgetown-continues/

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>