I didn’t really understand what the March for Life was the first time I went. To be fair, I was five. My dad has been to every March for Life since the first one in 1973, and decided I was old enough to go with him. I understood the basic concept of abortion: it killed a baby in the mommy’s tummy. That was bad. As I grew older, I realized why abortion was bad, and why it was inherently violent.
I was 13 years old when I noticed one sign in particular at the March for Life. I didn’t see the person holding the sign, but it stuck out to me like a sore thumb: I regret my abortion. To my knowledge, I had never met anyone who had had an abortion. I honestly had never really thought much about the mother of the baby. In my mind there was only one victim of abortion. At that moment, however, I realized there were two. I was in awe of the bravery of this woman.
The next year, I went to the March with my high school. I was shocked that more people didn’t come. Not only did marching give us a day off of school, but marching was standing up for the smallest among us. Most of my friends at school were pro-life, but said they didn’t want to go to the March because they didn’t want to make up work or miss practice. What I didn’t realize, which perhaps some of my classmates did, was that standing up for what you believe in isn’t always easy. As a young teenager, I failed to realize that an essential component of standing up for a cause is that there will be people who not only do not agree with your position, but will stand up to defend the opposite position. I never realized how equally scary and motivating that can be until I encountered pro-choice protesters.
My school group cut through the March because we needed to be back in time for the busses at the end of the day. On our way back to the bus, we walked by the Supreme Court. In front of the Supreme Court, were people stood holding big blue signs, which read “Keep Abortion Legal." I couldn’t believe it. The idea of people not just supporting the legalization of abortion, but actually going to the Supreme Court to advocate for it, floored me. An emotion other than pure shock filled me, however. I felt a fire being lit under me to stand up for life. Nothing would keep me from fighting for the unborn. I was zealous and filled with courage.
As I went through high school, I met more people who thought abortion was not a problem and should remain legal. I met even more pro-choice people when I entered college. During college, I became very active in service and environmental organizations, putting me in a vastly pro-choice crowd. I had the fact that I was pro-life, something I would have openly discussed in high school. I figured I could still do the March for Life during winter break, then go back to helping poor kids and hugging trees during the rest of the year.
That plan only worked for so long. There came a point when I realized if I was truly going to stand up to social justice, I needed to work to protect the most vulnerable among us: the reborn. So I needed to figure out how I “fit." I ended up being president of the pro-life club while also an officer in two environmental clubs. That year, when I took my pro-life club to the March for Life, I looked around and noticed all the different kinds of groups at the March. The next year I proudly displayed my “I’m an environmentalist and I reject abortion” sign after I returned New Wave Feminists “I Am a Pro-Life Feminist” signs from the Women’s March.
This year, as an intern for Rehumanize International, I can’t wait to explore the diversity of the pro-life movement even further. I excited to join the pre-March #Rehumanize Meet-Up and post-March Karaoke event! An I am ecstatic about going to the Cardinal O’Connor Conference the day after, where the theme is “The Future of the Pro-Life Movement in a Secular World." I can’t wait to find out how I fit --how all of us who promote human dignity fit -- in this wonderful pro-life world.