MARCHING FOR LIFE
Every year, Washington D.C. witnesses the greatest human rights rally in the world. Nicole Samuel gives us a peek into this pro-life gathering
Rain or shine, cold or snow, every January, Washington D.C witnesses the biggest human rights rally in the world! This year at the 46th annual March for Life there were believed to be between 200,000 to 300,000 people. More than a somber rally, the March for Life is a celebration of life and pro-lifers being energized by the passion and unity they share for the protection of their brothers and sisters in the womb!
On January 22, 1973 the United States Supreme Court legalized abortion through the infamous court case Roe V Wade. A few months later, Nellie Gray, the founder of March for Life held a meeting at her home with 30 pro-life leaders to discuss how to commemorate the one year anniversary of Roe. Their fear was that January 22nd would pass without notice, instead of reflecting on how legalized abortion had hurt women and taken the lives of the innocents. The stated mission of the March is to “end abortion by uniting, educating, and mobilizing pro-life people in the public square.” The first march was held on January 22, 1974 in Washington D.C. and had approximately 20,000 people participating. The March was intended to be a one-time event in the hope to overturn Roe, but it has continued every year and has grown tremendously.
Even though you are marching with hundreds of thousands of people, the March from the National Mall to the U.S Supreme Court goes faster than you imagine. This time we were stuck for a while in the mud due to a recent snowstorm. Despite our soaking feet we were plenty distracted by meeting people around us and listening to their stories of how they got to be at the march. Many parents with their children were also present at the march. It was a common sight to see moms and dads wrapping their little babies inside their jackets to keep them warm in the harsh weather. This act reminded me of the need for us who are stronger and able to protect the lives and needs of the most weak and vulnerable.
The March for Life has an impressive representation of young Americans and the air is filled with their energy and passion. Various pro-life groups from colleges and high schools are present with their matching hats and sweatshirts with many cleverly coined signs. “We are the Pro-Life Generation” was one of the most caught on slogans that were seen on signs and heard in chants at the march. They are called the pro-life generation also because they were born years after abortion was legalized in the country. Through recent advancements in technology and ultrasound images, they have seen the truth about babies in the womb. Recent polls by the Public Religion Research Institute have shown that more young people (ages 18-29) are changing their views on abortion and that they are more pro-life than their parent’s generation! Despite the recent horror of the abortion laws in New York (making abortion legal up until birth for many cases), it is a comfort to know that this pro-life generation at the March for Life is growing and influencing their peers to change their views on abortion and working steadily to abolish this heinous crime in their lifetime in our country.
Among my Jesus Youth peers and among my Catholic student groups at college, the March for Life is a well known event. Only until recently did I realize that outside of these religious groups, the average American may not even be aware of this massive rally because mainstream media does not adequately cover it. A study by Media Research Project on three major TV networks showed that they covered the 2017 Women’s March for an hour and 15 minutes in comparison to the March for Life which only received 35 seconds! Even in the social media sphere, Facebook has censored and blocked the content of many pro-life groups. In this context it is important that we stand up as individuals and share our view on the sanctity of life both on our social media pages and also in our personal conversations with the world around us.
I have been blessed to be able to work with an organization that educates people on the sanctity of life and promotes chastity as an antidote to the abortion problem. As I started working more in this sphere, I have encountered the deep hurt and need for healing as a result of the epidemic of abortion. Mother Teresa said that “we must not be surprised when we hear of murders, of killings, of wars, of hatred. If a mother can kill her own child, what is left but for us to kill each other.” Every year at the March for Life many courageous women from ‘Silent No More’ share their testimonies of the harms of abortion- both physical and psychological. Men are also grieving for their babies that were killed, and peace within families and relationships are also destroyed by this grave sin. Abortion has a deeper effect on our society than we are able to perceive.
“If you hold back from rescuing those taken away to death, those who go staggering to the slaughter; if you say, “Look, we did not know this”— does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it?” Proverbs 24:11-12 As Christians we are called to stand up for those who do not have a voice and who are killed every day. Since Roe V. Wade, over 60 million people in the United States have been murdered. Maybe we didn’t know the truth about abortion and its deep impact on our society. We know that our Lord’s mercy is the only medicine that can heal the hurt caused by abortion. Now that we know, how do we act? Now that we know, how can we be a voice for the voiceless and a presence for the despairing mothers and families?
Hope to see you all at March for Life 2020!