By Makenzie Winter
On January 27th, 2017, students from the Catholic University of America will participate in the 44th annual Vigil for Life and March for Life. They will join thousands of students and fellow Pro-Life supporters from across the country to protest the United States Supreme Court Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton decisions that legalized abortion in the United States. Following the March for Life, Pro-Life members spend time lobbying with members of Congress.
For many students at the Catholic University of America, the March for Life is a powerful and inspirational experience. Reflecting on his experiences with the March for Life, Student Minister and Student Leader of the March for Life, senior politics major Juan Aznaran said he was
excited to be attending.
“The Pro-Life movement is very much alive and growing with our generation. It gives me hope that my generation will achieve the change we’ve been fighting to accomplish for so long,” Aznaran said.
In the wake of the Women’s March just a week prior on January 21st, 2017, society remains divided on the rights for all women, especially on topics such as reproduction. According to the Women’s March mission statement, women’s rights include that of reproductive freedom or affordable birth control and abortion rights. The organization and its sponsors identified as Pro-Choice. Raelyn Schnappauf, junior politics major and participant in the Women’s March said,
“The women’s march was a great success and I was honored to be a part of it.”
In contrast, the March for Life’s official mission statement is against the use of birth control and abortion. Megan Krakie, freshman psychology major said she feels participating in the March for Life is an effective message.
“I believe that marching shows that I am for women and that being Pro-Life is not anti-feminist. Being able to have children is unique to women, and preaching that abortion is a right is profoundly demeaning and insults the strength of women and our unique gift to be mothers,” Krakie said.
Although students will be marching with many people who share their Pro-Life beliefs, students will be met by others who identify as Pro-Choice. Regardless of the authority of either side, in order to cultivate communication, students are encouraged to focus on creating a discussion, rather than an argument, when speaking with others of different beliefs, according to Eric de la Pena, OFM Conv., Associate Chaplain for Faith Development. Students are also challenged to allow their actions to speak louder than their words.
“More than the ability to argue back those who oppose our faith, we must be able to demonstrate that we live up to the words we preach. There is nothing more convincing and heart changing than to meet such witnesses who live the faith they profess, and profess the life they live. Personal integrity is the best response and defense we can offer to those who do not believe,” said De la Pena.
The theme of the 2017 March for Life focuses on “The Power of One,” which is a theme inspired by J.R.R. Token’s work, The Lord of the Rings. According to the March for Life website, “The Power of One” aims to convey that even one person can make a difference in the lives of others, and bring about a culture where all human life is respected and protected. Pro-Life activists also attribute to the theme the belief that one life is not more valuable than the other.