Mark Mysonhimer stands in front of the Supreme Court Building in Washington D.C. during the 2022 March for Life. Photo courtesy of Mysonhimer.
Zoë Hill | News Editor
Reporting by Mark Mysonhimer
With Roe v. Wade hanging in the balance, protestors gathered in Washington D.C. on Jan. 21 for the annual March for Life protest against abortion.
Flyers for Life, the University of Dayton’s pro-life organization, takes dozens of UD students to the demonstration each year. Mechanical engineering first-year student Mark Mysonhimer was one of the dozens of Flyers who attended.
“I’ve wanted to be a part of this movement I have heard about every year since I discovered what abortion was,” Mysonhimer said.
The group was unable to go to the national capital last year due to COVID-19. The pandemic conditions in D.C. amid the Omicron variant surge this year also lead to a less-than-average turnout. Even still, tens of thousands of marchers from across the country were in attendance.
The subzero temperatures that Friday in the city didn’t stop Mysonhimer and the Flyers for Life from marching. When the group arrived early in the morning after a nine-hour bus ride, the temperature was around six degrees, according to Mysonhimer. He said the group waited to get into the Basilica for Mass while he ate a snack and tried to not “lose any fingers” from the cold.
The marchers gathered on the National Mall in the shadow of the Washington Monument. The march kicked off with a singer and several speakers who detailed their personal experiences with abortion. According to Mysonhimer, the speakers told stories of how abortions left them infertile, regretful or with unexpected consequences. Catholic speaker Father Mike Schmitz and members of Congress also took the stage to kick off the largest annual human rights demonstration in the world.
“The crowd was very energetic, but it was a lot colder when we had to get a move on,” Mysonhimer said. “During the march, there were several signs I thought [were] quite good, and I took photos of a few of them, but my hands were often cold, as was the rest of me.”
Along the march was a college group “dancing and shouting pro-life chants to their drummers playing cadences and other songs,” but the protest wasn’t just all fun, Mysonhimer said. A billboard nearby showed graphic depictions of abortion which he said brought the gravity back to why he was there.
Mysonhimer was surprised to not see counterprotesters waiting for the group at the Supreme Court Building, which he attributed to the frigid weather conditions. The Supreme Court will decide the fate of the Roe v. Wade decision that set the groundwork for reproductive rights in the United States. The precedent will celebrate its 50th anniversary next year if it is not overturned this summer.
Based on stories from friends and family members at other universities, Mysonhimer was surprised with UD students’ civility when discussing the topic of abortion.
“I’d still expect most UD students to be pro-abortion since college students are largely left-leaning politically, but I haven’t had any of the experiences my cousins and siblings have had at UC [University of Cincinnati] or The Ohio State University,” Mysonhimer said.
Even though he left the trip exhausted, Mysomhimer said he plans to attend the march again— even if it were to be in worse weather conditions. Seeing the turnout of people for the 2022 March for Life made the cold worth it, according to him.
“There was this one hill we had to go up, and you could look behind you and just see an endless stream of people behind you,” Mysonhimer said. “[That was] one of my favorite parts.”