By Cullen Trobec
On Friday Jan. 19, fourteen CSB/SJU students embarked on a two night trip to Washington, D.C. to participate in the 45th annual March for Life.
The trip was sponsored and led by students from the CSB/SJU Students for Life organization, a group devoted to promoting pro-life rhetoric and lifestyles within the CSB/SJU campuses and surrounding community. The trip was co-sponsored by other groups such as the local Knights of Columbus and Fides et Ratio.
The March for Life is widely agreed upon to be the largest single day pro-life gathering in the world, with previous years having drawn over 400,000 demonstrators. The CSB/SJU students who attended held signs, participated in the march itself and heard speeches and presentations from prominent speakers and politicians, including President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. This year’s march was the first time in the 45 year run that a United States President has directly addressed the March For Life.
The march began at the National Mall and traveled to the Supreme Court building where the main rally was held as a sign of defiance towards the historic Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision of 1974 which ruled that women have the constitutional right to abortion. As the rally showed, the decision is anything but unanimoussly agreed with.
Students in attendance remarked at the rally’s contagious feeling of optimism, a combination of the large number of young people in attendance and the presence of an executive branch that is currently in line with many pro-life policies.
“It definitely looks as though the top administration of the United States of America is extremely pro-life at the moment, at least from the display they helped the march put on,” SJU sophomore Jack Colleran said of the many speeches made by politicians.
Amidst a volatile political climate, attendees also noted how united the event was. Groups from both sides of the aisle participated in solidarity, directly challenging the idea that abortion is predominantly a partisan — and gender specific — issue.
“One of the most reassuring parts of the entire march was just seeing how many women were present,” Colleran said. “I think there’s a stereotype that a lot of pro-lifers don’t really care about women’s rights, but at the end of the day I would say that the majority of the people at the march were women.”
“There were so many people there that we talked to that showed that you can still be pro-woman and pro-life. It didn’t have a political feeling at all which was awesome,” CSB junior Katie Dockter said.
Dockter is the vice president of Students for Life, and was the primary organizer of the trip. Having participated in the March for Life in years past, she was determined to help send a group from CSB/SJU.
“The march was something that I really wanted to prioritize. It’s amazing going to a place and being involved in an event where you’re surrounded by people that support your vision,” Dockter said.