David Frum

01.25.13

A Way Forward for the March for Life

Change comes to the March for Life.

[Jeanne] Monahan embodies the movement’s transition. The photogenic, warm former federal government policy worker was picked in November to take over the March for Life after the death of Nellie Gray, the hard-line, media-unfriendly 88-year-old who ran the massive event almost single-handedly out of her home. Despite being an event primarily of youth, until last year the march had a bare-bones Web site and no accounts on Twitter or Facebook. Its main outreach to Congress (besides marching past the Capitol) had been passing out roses, which was banned after the anthrax scares of 2001.

Monahan’s charge is to modernize the march for a country that is becoming more conflicted about abortion even as it remains steadfastly committed to the Roe ruling and the value of personal choice. For the movement’s next generation of leaders, the question is whether those two things can coexist. Should the focus remain on Roeand changing laws to limit access to abortion, or has that left a legacy too judgmental for younger Americans? Should the emphasis shift to changing minds and hearts, particularly of women who are pregnant and don’t want to be?

My vote goes for Option 2.