Forty students organized by Georgetown University Right to Life will be among the pro-life advocates across the country to descend on Washington, D.C., again this year for the annual March for Life, but other pro-life groups plan to employ more radical methods of protest.
For Right to Life President Eileen Marino (NHS ’15), the March for Life has historically been an important way to spread awareness about the issue of abortion.
“It was basically a group of people who were just concerned that the ruling wasn’t representative of what the American people wanted or even if it was, it wasn’t fair. … We’re trying to call attention to the issue and raise solidarity,” Marino said.
Tuesday marked the 40th year since the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision, the event that sparked the first March for Life in 1974, increasing the meaning of the march for many participants this year.
Marino described what she sees as the paradox of a country based on the belief that everyone has the right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness allowing abortion.
“There’s nothing I love more about being American than the fact that I’m party of a history of the protection of human dignity, so when I see good people who stand for good things, and a country as free and committed to life as America, letting something like abortion — which is so obviously a violation of innocent human life — [continue], I’m ashamed that we’re forgetting the basis of our country,” Marino said. “I don’t want to be ashamed of something I’m so proud of.”
While Right to Life dedicates its efforts to peaceful advocacy, other pro-life student groups in Washington, D.C., have participated in more extreme activities this week.
On Thursday, a prayer vigil held at the local Planned Parenthood was organized by Priests for Life. On their website, the event was described as “sponsoring a large youth presence at Planned Parenthood abortion mill.”
During the vigil, National Director of Priests for Life Fr. Frank Pavone spoke about the frustration that is felt by the pro-life community, referring to the young people as the “abortion holocaust survivors.”
“If we’re not angry with this, then something is wrong with us,” Pavone said.
Youth Outreach Director for Priests for Life Bryan Kemper shared a similar message.
“These are the people who are tired of their generation getting killed. … This is the evil of our age,”Kemper said. “This is the generation that survived Roe v. Wade. Roe v. Wade will not survive us.”
Right to Life Board member Louis Cona (COL ’15) commented on some of the more radical means of promoting pro-life policies.
“Personally, I think prayer is very powerful, but I also think you can’t fight fire with fire, he said.” “Overall, the pro-life issue is very peaceful. We have to change the minds and hearts of people. …You can’t do that by yelling and screaming, but by discussion.”
For Cona, the March for Life is a way to bring together all the pro-life advocates to campaign for the reversal of the legalization of abortion.
“People are standing first and foremost for the lives lost, for what we believe is a tragedy. The march shows that a large portion of Americans do believe strongly in the pro-life movement.”