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On January 22, hundreds of thousands of people will join together in Washington DC for the annual March for Life. January 22 is the anniversary of the Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion in America—effectively ending the fundamental right to life in the land of the free. Since 1973, over 56 million American children have died in the womb due to the tragedy of abortion.

The March for Life in the country’s Capitol is one thing that we can all do to witness to the value of life, but I think it’s a mistake to think that the primary road to ending abortion is to wait for the government to overturn the legislation. That strategy requires waiting and patience—on government branches, no less.

Thankfully, we don’t need to wait on the government in order to build a culture of life. In his encyclical, Evangelium Vitae, Pope St. John Paul II refers to abortion and all life issues as a battle with the “Culture of Death.” What is a culture? It’s the very way of life of the people. Everything from the way that we dress, the music we listen to, the food that we eat, the way that we talk, and our core values and religion as people, makes up our culture. When John Paul II refers to a “Culture of Death,” he is saying that our civilization’s way of life builds to legalized abortion—it builds towards death. Or in other words, just as true love is life-giving, lust eventually leads to death (either physical or spiritual, or both).

Think about it. What are “pro-choice” advocates protecting when they advocate for abortion rights? They say that they want choices available for women and that the government shouldn’t have the ability to dictate to a woman what she can and can’t do with her body. But abortion isn’t about what a woman can and can’t do with her body. It’s about unjustly taking the life of another person. What the pro-choice movement refuses to recognize is that the argument for abortion rights isn’t about a woman’s right to her own body. It’s about protecting a woman’s “right” to her way of life and valuing that “right” over the fundamental right to life.

The reason why we have abortion in our country is because our culture wishes to give people the “right” to SEX WITHOUT CONSEQUENCES. Our culture values this “right” above all other rights.

The way of life of the people in our country dictates that abortion must be an available option for all people because we don’t want to accept the responsibilities that inherently come with having sex. The number one reason for unwanted pregnancy in America is due to failure in contraception. This means that two people engaged in sexual activity and attempted to use contraception as a way to “protect” themselves from having the responsibility of accepting new life into their relationship. When contraception fails, abortion becomes the “safety net” to prevent the two people from accepting the responsibility for their actions. The way of life of our country inherently leads to a “Culture of Death” because our way of life requires that death be an option so that we can live as we wish.

So how can you build up a Culture of Life”? The nature of sex demands authentic responsibility. It’s not just the responsibility to accept new life if it is created, but also to love the person that you are with in a lifelong commitment of love. Sex requires maturity and responsibility. When you wait until marriage to have sex, you are waiting until you are ready to accept the responsibilities that sex requires of you. In this way, you change your way of life and you become one person working to change the culture.

The best way that you can build up a Culture of Life is to live chastity in your life.

Also posted at Chastity Project.