Students attend March for Life in DC

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Students attend March for Life in DC

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Eighteen undergraduate students and one Jesuit scholastic student from Saint Louis University took a trip to Washington, D.C. to attend the 44th Annual March for Life last week. The journey began on Thursday, Jan. 26 at the brisk hour of 5:30 a.m. and took them 800 miles across six states, reaching D.C. just in time to sleep. Friday morning, the day of the March for Life, the students attended a Mass at St. Aloysius Church at Gonzaga College High School, along with hundreds of students from other Jesuit schools across the country. Following Mass, thousands of people from all over the nation gathered near and around the Washington Monument to kick off the March for Life Rally.

The rally was so crowded, many could hardly see or hear the speakers. Nevertheless, the spirit of the March filled with life and love was felt throughout the crowd of a few hundred thousand individuals, both young and old. The rally included speakers such as Kellyanne Conway, Counselor to President Trump, who expressed promises of Pro-Life laws becoming a priority during this presidential term. The most distinguished speaker was Vice President Mike Pence, along with his wife.  This was a historic moment as he was the first vice president and highest-ranking official to ever speak in the 44 years of the March for Life.  He said, “We will continue to win the hearts and minds of the rising generation if our hearts first break for the young mothers and their unborn children.”  The vice president also added, “Let this movement be known of love, not anger. Let this movement be known for compassion, not confrontation. When it comes to matters of the heart, there is nothing stronger than gentleness.”

At the conclusion of the rally, the marching began near the Washington Monument and spanned nearly two miles, passing the Capitol, and concluding at the U.S. Supreme Court.  During the march,  a multitude of signs were seen with slogans such as, “I am the Pro-Life Generation”, “Pro-Women, Pro-Child, Pro-Life”, “Gays for Life”, “Pro-Science, Pro-Women, Pro-Life”, “Muslim Feminists for Life”, “9 weeks after conception a female has ovaries and a uterus” and many other signs denoting representation of an organization, a school, a church or a township for life that included places as far as Texas, North Dakota and Kansas.

On Saturday, Saint Louis University’s Students for Life attended the 18th Annual Cardinal O’Connor Conference at Georgetown University.  The conference began with the keynote speaker, Reggie Littlejohn. She shed light on the atrocities of China’s family planning policies, forced abortions and sex selective abortions. To combat this issue, Littlejohn has created an organization called Women’s Rights without Frontiers that supports women throughout their pregnancies.

Following the keynote speech, there were eight breakout sessions.  The breakout sessions included an hour lecture and some question and answer.  The breakout sessions topics included Pro-Life politics, a nurse’s perspective, the 21st century healthcare challenge, the death penalty and  pro-life feminism.

The conference concluded with a panel that included an author and op-ed columnist for the New York Times, the former spokesperson for the president of the U.S. Council of Catholic Bishops and a member of the Vatican’s secretariat for communications.

Following the conference, the students attended Mass at Georgetown, with the Auxiliary Bishop of Washington, D.C. as the primary celebrant.

The trip ended Sunday morning with the 14-hour trek back to Saint Louis.

This trip was an inspiration to many students who attended, including freshman Therese Madison who  said, “The march goes beyond a union of faiths and ages. It creates a unified pro-life mindset that can and will fuel change in our country.”