BJ Students March for Life


C. Audrey Harper, Writer

The 44th annual March for Life occurred on January 27, 2017, in protest of the infamous 1974 Supreme Court decision, Roe v. Wade. The March for Life is held every year near the anniversary of Roe v. Wade in Washington, DC, and this year’s march happened one week after the women’s march. Locally, St. John The Baptist Catholic Church brought a group of young people to the march. From Bob Jones, students Chenoa Gentle, Caroline Lang, and Sean Brady attended.

While there are not exact estimates about how many attended the march, there have been upwards of 650,000 marchers in the past. Numbers were expected to spike after the inauguration of President Trump, who has stated that he is pro-life.

Sophomore Chenoa Gentle said, “It was a lot more people were going out there [to march in the rally] because Trump was president, so they felt safe to be a pro-life person.”

Caroline Lang, however, believes that “the election has not changed the atmosphere or attendance of the march at all. Men and women have shown the same strong support for this movement since the ruling of Roe v. Wade was decided 44 years ago. The only difference this year was the attention that the march received. I do think that Trump will change the country’s stance on abortion, but we don’t march to catch people’s attention, we march to celebrate life and to stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves.”

Vice President Mike Pence addressed the crowd last Friday, making him the highest-ranking public official to ever personally address the March for Life rally. Pence, an evangelical Catholic and a proponent of gay conversion therapy, proclaimed to the crowd, “Life is winning again in America.”

Counselor to President Trump and the first woman to run a successful presidential campaign, Kellyanne Conway, addressed the crowd as well, “I am a wife, a mother, a Catholic, counselor to the president of the United States of America, and yes, I am pro-life.”

“Before being Catholic, I didn’t know what being pro-life or pro-choice was, becoming Catholic and it being a social issue to me, I think it’s changed my view because God created everyone equal, so who has the right to take a life and not to take a life,” Gentle stated. “It [abortion] can be political, and it can be religious, but I think it’s a justice issue.”

While many pro-life advocates opposed the Women’s March, many believe that each march had similar goals.

“I fear that with a largely conservative government in control, women will lose access to what little health clinics we already have. It would be unfair for me to support the misogynistic laws that would diminish these options,” Lang commented.

Since the march, Trump has nominated Neil Gorsuch, a conservative with values similar to the late Justice Scalia, to the Supreme Court. While Gorsuch has not established if he will support the overturning of Roe v. Wade, he is popular among pro-life Americans and has been an opponent of both Obamacare’s mandate on employers providing contraception and assisted suicide.

While the future of abortion rights seems wary, both sides are eager to see the legislation put forth by the Trump administration regarding reproductive rights.