Ten years ago, we founded OneLife LA with the hope of starting a new conversation and encouraging a new way of thinking about the right to life and the cause of human dignity in our city and in our nation.

At that time, Roe v. Wade was the law of the land. The lives of millions of unborn children were being taken in the womb each year as the result of that 1973 U.S. Supreme Court ruling, which claimed to find a “right” to abortion in the federal Constitution.

Catholics and other concerned citizens had long taken to gathering on Jan. 22, the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, to peacefully march for an end to abortion and advocate for public policies that support women, children, and families.

The pro-life movement is one of the most diverse and significant initiatives for nonviolent social change and civil rights in our nation’s history, and it is a coalition of conscience rooted in the prayers and sacrifices of countless ordinary Americans from every race and walk of life.

Our aim with OneLife LA is to help support and broaden this movement by raising awareness of the beauty and dignity of every human life, from conception to natural death. We also want to recommit ourselves, as Catholics, to our duty to work for the beautiful Gospel vision of a culture of life and love.

The Church has always defended the unborn child’s right to life, since the first century.

We still believe that abortion is a grave evil and social injustice, because it attacks life itself and targets the weakest, most defenseless members of our community. We also believe, as the popes teach, that the right to life is the foundation of every other human right.

Sadly, even beyond abortion, we see everywhere in our society the spreading of an anti-human spirit, a disregard for the sacredness of human life. In many ways, our society is forgetting the beautiful vision of Jesus and the Church.

Jesus brought into the world a profound, radically new idea about the human person.

He taught that everyone is created for a reason by the Father, who from before the world’s foundation knows us and loves us and has a plan and purpose for our lives.

Every person, from the moment of conception, is created in God’s own image to be his own beloved son or daughter.

Jesus told us that we are so precious that every hair on our head is numbered, and that God gives every child an angel in heaven, to guard and guide that child.

And to show us how much we are loved, Jesus offered his own life on the cross for the redemption of all men and women, again, without exceptions.

Even secular historians recognize that these Christian truths marked a “revolution” in human thought and shaped the foundation of Western civilization, changing how we think about women, children, the family, the poor, and more.

These truths are the basis of our country’s founding belief that all men and women are created equal, with God-given rights and freedoms, and that the purpose of government is to safeguard these rights and freedoms.

OneLife LA is about proclaiming these truths and restoring this vision of the human person in our society.

America has changed in these past 10 years. Thanks be to God, Roe v. Wade has been overturned.

But abortion remains widespread and threats to unborn life have multiplied — through embryo research, “surrogate” motherhood, and a host of new “reproductive” technologies.

We still face the challenge of building a society and economy that supports marriages and families, where every woman has the help she needs to bring her child into this world in love.

More than that, we need to keep working for a society where no one is a stranger and there is no life that is not worth living, no life that can be left behind or thrown away.

That means resisting the growing pressures for assisted suicide and insisting that the elderly and disabled be cared for with true compassion, as children of God.

That means serving the homeless and the mentally ill, the immigrant, and the prisoner. It means confronting racial and economic injustices, and the crises of drugs, family breakdown, and human trafficking.

Ten years on, OneLife LA continues to be a dream worth living for. It is the dream of the world as God intends it to be. 

Pray for me and I will pray for you.

And let us ask our holy Mary, the mother of life, to help us to build a world where every life is precious and sacred, where every person is treated as a child of God, and where we love every person as Jesus loves us.