Thousands of pro-life activists marched to the U.S. Supreme Court Thursday on the anniversary of a monumental court decision giving women the right to have abortions.
The March for Life, an annual demonstration against abortion, started at the Ellipse outside the White House and continued to the Supreme Court.
At least 30 students from GW pro-life advocacy groups, including Colonials for Life and a chapter of the Knights of Columbus service organization, met at the Newman Catholic Center on campus and joined the thousands of marchers.
“It is a time for the pro-life majority to stand up and say … we don’t want this, we never did,” said Suanne Edmiston, founder and director of GW Colonials for Life. “Next Jan. 22, we do not want to be on the Mall mourning the death of 1.3 million babies; we want this to end … We want the atrocity of abortion to end.”
The 31st anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision, which legalized abortion nationally, brought speakers and demonstrators, alike, calling to outlaw abortion. Hot dog vendors lined the streets, tents were set up and a stage was erected on the lawn of the Mall where conservatives, including Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.), spoke.
Demonstrators carried signs reading “Peace In The Womb,” “It’s A Child Not A Choice” and “Abortion Is Homicide.” A large billboard displaying a picture of an aborted fetus also adorned the march site.
“Anyone should care about injustice whenever people try to dehumanize others and exert their will,” said GW law student Joshua Konecni. “It’s very similar to slavery to put individual rights of the woman over that of the child.”
Many Catholic priests and clusters of praying demonstrators attended the event. Some held signs reading “You Cannot Be Both Christian and Pro-Choice”
“The Catholic Church is steadfast in its determination for pro-life … (yet) pro-life is not a religious position,” said Konecni, a Catholic.
GW sophomore Nick Bularzik, a member of Colonials for Life and the Knights of Columbus, was optimistic about pro-life advocacy in the future, especially for GW students.
“Right now abortion culture has become the norm, especially on campus. But people think pro-life is a smaller minority than it really is and the pro-choice majority bigger than it really is,” he said.
The GW March for Student Lives, a coalition of University groups Voices for Choices, the Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance and the Student Global AIDS Campaign, sponsored a pro-choice theater event Tuesday in honor of Roe v. Wade. Voices for Choices plans pro-choice events throughout the year.
Under the leadership of President George W. Bush, the abortion debate has changed dramatically.
On Nov. 5, 2003, Bush signed the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act into law, which makes an abortion illegal in the third trimester of pregnancy unless the mother’s welfare is at risk. More specifically, the law forbids a doctor to take the baby’s life if the baby’s body is already partially delivered.
“This year we have a modest cause for joy,” said Bularzik in reference to the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act. “This is a small but noteworthy step towards a country where human life has protection at all stages of existence.”
Bush’s recent legislation changed the mood of those in attendance at the march Thursday.
“I did notice a very dignified optimism in the crowd,” Edmiston said, “a real sense that many believe we are going to overcome the current culture in the U.S. that has turned its back on the idea that every single life, no matter how vulnerable or frail, is beautiful.”
This article appeared in the January 26, 2004 issue of the Hatchet.