On January 22, 1973 The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on the historical Roe v. Wade decision, which legalized abortion in the United States. A year later, the first March for Life, founded by Nellie Gray, was held on the West Steps of the Capitol, with an estimated 20,000 supporters in attendance. On the 8th anniversary of the historical decision, PDHC opened the doors to its first pregnancy resource center on January 22, 1981. This year, the March for Life was held on Friday the 21st, and had an estimated 150,000 supporters in attendance.
PDHC staff member Karoline Kress was one of those in attendance, representing the next generation of young adults standing up to protect the unborn and giving a voice to the voiceless. She shares her experience below:
Early Friday morning, I woke up in a hotel room in the city of Washington D.C.
The reason that I flew to our nation’s capital and stood outside for hours in the 20-degree weather was to give a voice to the voiceless. After dressing in layers of clothing, three layers of socks, and my coat as a final layer, I broke open my hand warmers and walked out the door. As I arrived at the metro to head to the national mall, I noticed all the youth groups with chaperones heading to the same spot I was. It reminded me of the years that I had attended March for Life in high school with my youth group. We would board a bus late Thursday night and arrive in D.C. Friday morning in time to attend the Pro-Life mass at the National Basilica and walk in the March for Life, just to board the bus after we marched past the Supreme Court for the ride home. The conviction within the hearts of youth and young people is such a witness to the sanctity of life. We truly are the Pro-Life Generation.
This march is historical, and I am hopeful that it is the last march under Roe. It is a chance to make history and show up for the voiceless. The theme of this year’s March for Life is “Equality begins in the womb.”. This message was interwoven through signs, messaging, and speakers at the rally.
When I arrived at the rally, I found my brother who had traveled with the pro-life group at Miami University in Oxford. During the rally, as the speakers were delivering their speeches to the crowd, several courageously shared their unexpected pregnancy stories – some chose life, while others chose abortion. Regardless of their past decision, the women were taking a stand for life in front of the nation. I was struck by the crowd’s reaction as they were sharing their testimonies. The stories of these women are what I hear every day at PDHC. The struggles of being young, scared, not feeling supported, worried about what others would think or say, buying into the lie that abortion would solve their problems, my list could go on and on.
I was reminded of the gift that it is to work at PDHC and to be let into the vulnerable parts of a woman’s heart as she would sit across from me in a consulting room faced with an unexpected pregnancy. These stories that the speakers shared at the rally are of real women that I have the privilege to talk with every day. The crowd around me was captivated by the stories and hardships and the message of hope in Jesus that prevailed through it all.
Among these testimonies were congressmen and women voicing their support for the pro-life movement and national speakers such as Lisa Robertson, Kirk Cameron, and Fr. Mike Schmitz. All spoke with conviction, love, and passion about the pro-life movement and upholding the dignity of all, especially the unborn children.
Thinking back upon this rally, the words that have stuck with me and several others in attendance were delivered from Fr. Mike Schmitz, “Every child matters. Every woman matters. Every person matters. You Matter.” He also spoke of a young woman that had come to him for spiritual guidance during an unexpected pregnancy. She told him that she did not want to be a mom. And he responded, “you already are.” You already are. How many of our clients do I hear say, “I can’t do this” or “I am not ready to be a mom”?! And the truth is that they already are. How powerful. Science is on our side. On day one, a new life is formed - separate DNA, a unique being. At 21 days after conception a baby’s heart starts beating. At 12 weeks the baby has its own fingerprints. Each unborn baby matters.
As the rally wrapped up, all 150,000 marchers traveling from various areas across the U.S. walked down Constitution Avenue towards the Supreme Court. Groups were walking in silence, praying the rosary, and some chanting cheers. One of my favorite parts of the march are all the different signs that marchers are carrying. Some are homemade while others were passed out by large groups supporting the march. I chose a sign in the shape of a heart that read “Love them both” from Live Action. I loved this sign because that is what we do within the pro-life movement. We have the opportunity to love not only the unborn baby but also the woman.
March for Life is a testimony to life that has continued for 49 years. I march for the women and their unborn children that I have encountered at PDHC. I march to protect the sanctity of life. I march for the remembrance of all the lives that have been lost to abortion. I march against the narrative that society gives that empowering woman includes abortion. I march for a post-Roe America. I march so that equality may begin in the womb. If not us, then who?
By Karoline Kress, PDHC Staff Member