By: Steve Miller – Sports Editor
Amidst the divisiveness of the election and administrative turnover in this country, a cohort of 50 UD students took to Washington, D.C. to stand for their unwavering belief in the value of life from conception to natural death.
Flyers for Life participated in the 44th annual March for Life, held this year on Jan. 27, to oppose the Roe v. Wade decision and celebrate the vulnerable lives pushed to the fringe of our society.
The next day, students attended the Cardinal O’Connor Conference on Life at Georgetown University.
Protection of the unborn is the main focus of the March each year, and this year the unborn were particularly celebrated because of the recent re-institution of the Mexico City Policy, which prevents foreign aid from supporting coercive, abortion-focused organizations.
In addition, feminist pro-life groups were more fervent given the cold shoulder they were given by the recent Women’s March.
The March for Life, which is one of the largest demonstrations each year in the capital, was supported by President Trump, who sent Vice President Mike Pence to speak at a rally at the National Mall to kick off the event.
“You know, life is winning in America. And today is a celebration of that progress that we have made in this cause,” Pence said. “You know I’ve long believed that a society can be judged by how we care for its most vulnerable, the aged, the infirm, the disabled, and the unborn.”
Senior advisor to the president, Kellyanne Conway, also spoke at the rally.
The March itself tends to draw between 400,000 and 600,000 attendees, per annual estimates. But an estimate for 2017 was not available at the time of publication.
Demonstrators traversed Constitution Avenue from the Mall, past the Capitol, and to the Supreme Court with joyous cadence in support of life and liberty.
Pro-lifers defend not only the rights of the unborn, but also the lives of the disabled, elderly, enslaved, oppressed, and anyone else held powerless by the culture.
“Flyers for Life opposes any action which directly takes the life of an innocent human being, legal or illegal,” said David Gross, a UD junior and the incoming president of Flyers for Life. “We work to build a culture of life, and know that God’s mercy can heal wounds.”
But since the specific issue of abortion affects so many innocent lives, not just of the child but their mothers and families as well, it has a special emphasis in the pro-life movement.
“The right to life is a right secured in our Constitution, but it is found in Natural Law,” said Gross. “Abortion is obviously a ‘hot topic’ in our culture, and there is a concerted effort to keep it legal.”
As usual, this year the march was flooded with Catholic high school and college age students from across the country, but there were also many groups from other religious, political and international organizations there.
“I think over the years it’s become less of a ‘Catholic’ thing, because there used to be a stereotype about the ‘crazy Catholics’,” said junior pre-physical therapy major Emilie Pollauf, who was attending the March for Life for the second time. “But this year we saw lots of signs about Lutherans and Evangelicals for life.”
“It’s interesting, going on it for a third time, it was really awesome to notice how everyone all came together and how many different viewpoints everyone has in the pro-life movement,” said Megan Talty, a senior exercise physiology major.
“Something that really stuck out to me was how peaceful it was and how respectful everybody was,” said Ellie Wenzinger, a junior pre-physical therapy major. “In my head I picture rallies and marches about being not as peaceful. I like how Pence said we’re not about conflict but about love.”
Along with several other collegiate pro-life groups, students from Flyers for Life traveled to Georgetown the next day for a conference on life. There, keynote speaker Reggie Littlejohn discussed the grave issue of forced abortion and sterilization in China. Other speakers touched on more specific life issues such as assisted suicide and medical rights, the death penalty, and the pro-life movement’s compatibility with feminism.
For pro-life activists, it’s important to bridge the political gap to succeed in their cause.
“It is about empowering individuals to ensure that all people are treated with dignity, equality, and respect no matter their age, developmental stage, or ability,” said junior Lucy Bratton, the vice president of Flyers for Life.
In fact, many pro-lifers emphasize the separation of their point from politics.
“It brings together hundreds of thousands of people from all across the US,” Bratton said of the movement and the March specifically. “People of all different ages, races, and creeds, to celebrate the goodness of human life.”
Photo courtesy of Steve Miller – Sports Editor