No established right-to-life organization was prepared to undertake the planning, financial and operational responsibilities for a high impact prolife March on the U.S. Capitol. But, grassroots prolifers wanted to march! About thirty prolife veterans resolved themselves into a committee and began making plans for the first March for Life.
On January 22, 1974, the first March for Life was held on the West Steps of the Capitol. An estimated 20,000 committed prolife Americans rallied that day on behalf of our preborn brothers and sisters.
In 1974, the March for Life was incorporated as a non-profit, non-partisan, non-sectarian organization.
These Life Principles express the ideals motivating pro-life Americans and indicate the purpose of the March For Life:
- We hold these truths to be self-evident: That all human beings are created equal and are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, among which is the right to life, and Therefore
- The right to life of each human being shall be preserved and protected by every human being in the society and by the society as a whole, and
- The life of each human being shall be preserved and protected from that human being's biological beginning when the Father's sperm fertilizes the Mother's ovum, and
- The life of each human being shall be preserved and protected from the biological beginning throughout the natural continuum of that human being's life by all available ordinary means and reasonable efforts, and
- The life of each human being shall be preserved and protected at each stage of the life continuum to the same extent as at each and every other stage regardless of state of health or condition of dependency, and
- The life of each human being shall be preserved and protected to the same extent as the life of each and every other human being regardless of state of health or condition of dependency, and
- When there is any doubt that there exists a human being's life to preserve and protect, such doubt shall be resolved In favor of the existence of a human being, and
- When two or more human beings are in a situation in which their lives are mutually endangered, all available ordinary means and reasonable efforts shall be used to preserve and protect the life of each and every human being so endangered:
- WHEREFORE, Pursuant To These Principles, we recommend and urge the adoption of a Mandatory HUMAN LIFE AMENDMENT to the Constitution of the United States of America.
APPLYING THE LIFE PRINCIPLES
Realizing that no sound action can grow out of a vacuum of purpose, in 1974 the March For Life formulated and included in its charter of incorporation, the Life Principles, as shown above. Purposefully, the Life Principles are not framed in the negative tone of "thou shalt not," and are framed in the positive tone of duty and responsibility of each human being and of society. The Life Principles are set in the context of our Declaration of Independence—that the right to life is inalienable and endowed by our Creator. If this basic right is weakened, all other rights are meaningless, as disparagement of the value and dignity of human beings will then permeate our society's mentality and the Laws of our Land—contrary to our common good.
It is the duty of each individual and of society operating through its laws to provide protection for each member of the society. This follows the basic homicide laws of the common law that society protects a member from assault and death.The protection shall extend from the beginning of each human being's life—acknowledged to be when the father's sperm fertilizes the mother's ovum—and throughout the natural continuum of that human being's life.
All available ordinary means and reasonable efforts shall be used to preserve and protect human life. This would be determined on a case-by-case basis; it is ordinary in our practice of law to consider the facts of each case.
No value distinction may be made in determining the worth and dignity of any human being. Thus, the life of an individual as a preborn child shall be preserved and protected to the same extent as at any other stage of that individual's life, whether infant, teenager, or aged.
Similarly, no value distinction shall be made between the value of the life of one individual and of another; the life of a preborn child shall be preserved and protected to the same extent as the life of, e.g., an infant, a young adult or a middle-aged prominent national figure. In summary, each human being's life shall be preserved and protected, using all available ordinary means and reasonable efforts, without regard to whose life it is "better" to presence and protect. There can be no exceptions.
If there is any doubt whether or not a human being exists, then society and any individual resolves that doubt in favor of action which will preserve and protect a human life. A woman unsure of whether she is pregnant, for instance, would not use an abortifacient, which could kill her preborn child who may be in her womb. This follows the simple practice that one does not shoot a bullet into a blind area which may be occupied by a human being.
If the lives of two human beings are mutually endangered, use all available ordinary means and reasonable efforts to preserve and protect the life of each and every human being so endangered. Even with these efforts and means, one human being's life may be lost, or all may be lost. But, the guiding principles are that no innocent human may be intentionally killed in an effort to save another human, and that it shall not be predetermined by law that one human life may be sacrificed to save the life of another human. Any decision about who may be saved must be made on a case-by-case basis, taking into consideration the total circumstances, and trying to save as many humans as possible. With respect to a difficult pregnancy, the principle of "equal care for both the pregnant mother and her preborn child" is well established. Although a pregnant mother and/or her preborn child may die, there is no justification in the law of God or man for the intentional killing of even one innocent born or preborn human in existence at fertilization. NO EXCEPTION! NO COMPROMISE!
With these Life Principles in mind, the March For Life is the collective effort of grassroots prolife Americans to assure that our state and federal laws shall protect the right to life of each human in existence at fertilization. An important step is adoption of a Mandatory Human Life Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. Such an amendment would be simple and require that individuals and society provide protection for the right to life of each human in existence at fertilization. It would require that State laws conform to the Constitution and provide the same protection. Thus, the Life Principles provide guidance and purpose to the grassroots prolife volunteers in our efforts to be effective through our education and action programs.