Students Attend March for Life
Around 500 members of the CUA community stood on the steps of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception on January 23 before venturing into downtown Washington, DC to participate in the anti-abortion movement’s annual event, the March for Life.
“Catholic University has the largest number of students attending out of every college in the country,” said Students for Life President, Mary Elizabeth Murphy.
The March for Life tradition began in 1974, a year after the Supreme Court made its decision to legalize abortion in the United States with the Roe v. Wade case. The March, designed by anti-abortion activists, is a peaceful protest against this ruling. Hundreds of thousands of people of all ages gather to support this movement in hopes of seeing this case overturned.
Students showed great enthusiasm and spirit at the March, despite the cold and rain. Most students held signs bearing slogans such as, “Defend life” or “Life Counts,” singing as they walked through the streets of downtown Washington. Chants such as “I believe that we love life” spread throughout the crowd and encouraged other marchers to join in.
President John Garvey and his wife joined students participating in the March for Life. Before the procession began, Garvey walked through the crowds shaking hands and taking pictures with various students, a look of sheer pride on his face. Garvey also updated the University’s Twitter account throughout the day.
“The most inspiring thing about March is to see so many young faces everywhere you turn. Future of the movement is bright,” said Garvey in one of his tweets.
The University hosted more than 1000 high school students in the Dufour Center the night before the March. These students gathered from all over the country to participate in the event.
A group of student volunteers assisted and supervised the University’s guests during their stay on campus.
In addition to the March for Life, other pro-life traditions surround campus. The Vigil for Life mass was held the eve of the March at the National Shrine. More than 20,000 people attended the Vigil, celebrated by Daniel Cardinal DiNardo, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Pro-Life Activities. Members of the community had the opportunity to participate in Confession and pray the Rosary.
Students for Life also welcomed Abby Johnson, author of Unplanned, to speak on campus on January 24.
Johnson acts with a “fierce desire to help women in need” as an “outspoken advocate” in the pro-life movement, Mary Katherine Murray said. As a previous Planned Parenthood worker, Johnson has dedicated her to life to help women and to educate others about the discrepancies of abortion clinics.
Johnson finds that most women who seek abortions are alone, afraid, and unsure of what to do. Planned Parenthood is first and foremost a business, designed to promote abortion rather than serve as a support system for pregnant women, she said
“Wherever vulnerable women are, Planned Parenthood is also,” said Johnson.
She continues to visit campuses, churches, and other organizations throughout the country to promote her ideals and experiences to further support women.
Next year, the pro-life movement will mark Roe v. Wade’s 40th anniversary with the March for Life, which is scheduled for January 25, 2013. The March is being held a few days after the true anniversary, as the date conflicts with the Presidential Inauguration.
The pro-life movement and all of those who support it provide “hope for the future,” said Reverend Jude DeAngelo, OFM Conv, the University Chaplain and Director of Campus Ministry.