2017-01_LT-march

Blog/CYM Blog

#WhyWeMarch

For several years I brought my South Carolina youth group to the March for Life in Washington, D.C. It was the most popular trip we took each year, but also the most challenging trip to organize and lead. There were two overnight bus rides, chilly temperatures, huge crowds and a city full of strangers that my friendly southern teens would smile and make eye-contact with (Even the strangers in vans who offered them candy.) Each year we’d battle new challenges: bus sickness, freezing rain, overflowing hotel toilets. Each year I was amazed when we returned home in one piece.

That’s why, deep down, I was a tiny bit relieved when I moved to Florida and began to work in a parish that didn’t have a tradition of attending the March for Life. It was too ambitious a trip to attempt my first year on the job, and after seeing the snowy footage and status updates from people whose busses had broken down or who were snowed in at their hotels, I began to think that maybe I’d keep quiet about the March for Life and be pro-life on a smaller scale. Have a holy hour to pray for an end to abortion. Show “October Baby.” Keep it simple and — most importantly — indoors.

Then Blair joined our parish.

A sophomore who had attended the March for Life with her Catholic school the year before she moved to Florida, she was glad to hear I had also attended. Then she was very unimpressed to learn that I didn’t plan to bring the youth group that year. She never complained or said anything negative — but she did run a grassroots campaign among her peers, telling the other teens in youth group about her experience at the March for Life and why they should go, too. She kept reminding me that she’d be the first person to sign up if we marched.

Blair’s persistence helped me realize that just because I was done with being cold, wet and tired in Washington, D.C., our nation still needed witnesses for life. In 1973 — years before most of us were born — the Supreme Court made a terrible decision when Roe vs. Wade legalized abortion nationwide. Since then, National Right to Life estimates that there have been over 56,662,169 abortions in the U.S. (And that was in 2014) 56,662,169 people who will never have a first day of kindergarten, 56,662,169 people who will never know what it’s like to eat self-serve fro-yo, 56,662,169 people who will never get asked to homecoming.

That’s why even though it means being cold, tired and leaving my husband at home to fend for himself on a diet that will probably consist of pepperoni and grilled cheese, I’m ready. I’m marching again.

So is Blair.

And so are all those she’s talked into joining the March for Life for the first time. Because 56,662,169 (and counting) is a number that demands drastic measures. It’s a number that demands that we hop on buses and trains and planes and flood the streets of the capitol to show our lawmakers that THIS generation isn’t okay with abortion.

Times are changing and the teens in our parishes are already leading the charge with their beliefs and presence. According to statistics published under “Reasons for hope” on the official march for life website, “pro-life” has become the new normal for Americans, with only 41% now identifying themselves as “pro-choice”. My favorite description of the March for Life came from former NARAL (National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League) president Nancy Keenan who told Newsweek in 2010, “my gosh, they are so young… There are so many of them, and they are so young.” Bringing our teens to the March for Life is not easy for us- their leaders and chaperones-, but their presence is a punch in the gut to the pro-abortion lobby. A chance to flaunt that the pro life movement is young, enthusiastic and our numbers are growing every year.

We’re going to keep coming back to D.C. — not because we like trekking through a frozen tundra — but because we believe that this generation will be the generation that reverses Roe vs. Wade. (And in my case, because students like Blair who won’t let me get lazy.) We’re giving kids the truth about the dignity of all human persons and helping them put their knowledge into action — volunteering with Crisis Pregnancy Centers, helping the homeless and honoring the elderly. And when we march through D.C., we’re reminding our politicians that they must defend all human life if they hope to earn the young vote.

One abortion is one too many.

This is #WhyWeMarch.

About the Author

Alison Blanchet

I love being Catholic, coffee and buying shoes on sale. I'm afraid of catching things that are thrown at me, heights, and food on a stick. My first pet was a fish named Swimmy, whom my mother found creepy and flushed down the toilet when I was at school. She told me he died of natural causes.