Racing Toward a Culture of Life

By Mary Prentis

January 30, 2015

Runners build up endurance to race in a marathon, and Olympic athletes train endlessly to compete in the Olympic Games. A great deal of hard work and perseverance is needed to achieve smaller goals that eventually lead to success in larger goals—such as winning the marathon or earning a gold medal.

Each year, on or near January 22, pro-life supporters gather in remembrance of a court decision that has affected countless lives for the past 42 years. Last week hundreds of thousands of pro-life advocates flocked to our nation’s capital, banding together in our effort to protect life at all stages. Like the runners and Olympians who achieve milestones during their training, the crowds and their enthusiasm are inspirational and encouraging. Yet although the anniversary of Roe v. Wade has passed this year, our legwork is not complete and is as crucial as ever.

As pro-life advocates, we have not finished training for our race. We need to continue moving forward with love in our hearts and the desire to make a significant impact. The tide is turning as the millennial generation is emerging as the “pro-life generation.” We all have a responsibility to defend and protect all human life, from conception to natural death—how exciting to see this reflected in our youth!

Yet the pro-life position is often misunderstood as neither showing compassion to mothers nor caring about the children after they are born. This is unfortunate. The pro-life leaders with whom I have interacted are incredibly warm-hearted, genuine individuals who truly value the sacredness of all human life at every stage. Those who see a lack of compassion from pro-lifers may not be aware of the many resources and compassionate care available to women facing unplanned pregnancies.

If you are not familiar with the work of crisis pregnancy centers, I strongly urge you to visit one. These centers exist to provide warm and caring environments for mothers and families who find themselves with an unexpected pregnancy. They provide supplies such as diapers, clothing, formula, furniture, and basically anything that new families need and may not be able to afford. Many centers offer parenting classes and life skills that benefit not only the new mother but the family unit as a whole. Many crisis pregnancy centers also work alongside health centers, offering free ultrasounds and other necessary medical assistance. The majority of centers rely solely on volunteers and donations, so if you are looking for ways to help the pro-life mission, please consider contacting your local center or your diocesan respect life representative.

Let us keep defending the beautiful gift that is life and always remember the graces with which God has provided us: our own lives and the ability and desire to continue fighting the good fight. Let us keep training for our race, lifting our voices together, and never give up until life in all its forms is respected and protected.

Mary Prentis is a staff assistant for the Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. For more information on the bishops’ pro-life activities, please visit

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