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Love saves lives. This was the theme of the 45th annual March for Life in Washington D.C., which drew tens of thousands of pro-life activists  —  including 40 students from Princeton Pro-Life  —  to protest the legalization of abortion in Roe v. Wade. Though four and a half decades of marches have not overturned Roe, we persist in joyfully and peacefully witnessing to the sanctity of all human life. 

Love saves lives. The pro-life movement calls for the respect of all human lives. We believe that the unborn child is a member of the human species and endowed with fundamental dignity, just like every other human being; abortion extinguishes this life and the remarkable potential it bears. We stand for the lives of the elderly and dying, who should be protected and cared for, not discarded through euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide. We march for the physically and intellectually disabled, who are aborted at tragically high rates and who face many hardships if they are born. At the March for Life this year, marchers carried signs protesting police brutality towards African-Americans, the infanticide of girls in China, the proliferation of nuclear weapons, and the use of the death penalty. There are many ways in which human lives are being disrespected in our nation and our world. By numbers, abortion is the largest source of violence in our country, but this doesn’t mean we should ignore the other offenses against the dignity of human life. To protect anyone’s right to life, we must affirm and defend every person’s right to life. 

Love saves lives. Critics of the pro-life movement sometimes call it “pro-birth,” suggesting that we advocate for babies to be born without seeking to improve the quality of life of those who are born. While the right to life undergirds all other rights, and neither poverty nor disability reduces the worth of a child, the pro-life movement can do a better job demonstrating love put into action to provide a supportive safety net to all lives that are threatened. Saving lives is not a numbers game. Rather, the pro-life movement must continually seek a deeper sense of what saving lives can be - giving hope to those in desperate situations, supporting single mothers, empowering fathers to take responsibility, strengthening families and communities, integrating the elderly and disabled into mainstream life. Saving lives is not about one-time actions, but about transformation. 

Love saves lives. A world where abortions are illegal but people still want them is no victory for the pro-life movement. The goal should be to increase love, and the movement should be motivated by love. We can fight the evil of rape. We can make society more welcoming to people with disabilities and their families. We can make our workplaces and schools more compassionate towards pregnant women and families. The pro-life movement is not about passing judgment or expressing anger. Love is rooted in unconditional respect for the other, and is perfected in action and relationship. It is love alone that can change someone’s heart and make them see the good that can come from an unplanned pregnancy. It is love alone that can heal the wounds of women who regret having an abortion and men who regret lost fatherhood. 

We affirm that every life is good and beautiful, despite whatever challenges it may contain. If anything is true, this is true. To think that any act of violence against an innocent person can be justified in the name of some greater good is to dismantle, piece by piece, the fabric of equality and human rights that any truly loving and peaceful society is built on. Violence and apathy have taken their toll on both sides of the life issues debates, and have blinded us all to the need for personal action and responsibility. It takes courage to show love and to ask for love, but it is what our world needs more of right now.

Princeton Pro-Life (PPL) is a campus group. The President may be reached at acavasos@princeton.edu.

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