February 13, 2015

Indiana college students help form ‘the pro-life generation’

Participants in the 42nd annual March for Life carry signs and chant pro-life slogans as they march toward the U.S. Supreme Court building in Washington on Jan. 22, the anniversary of the legalization of abortion in the United States. (Photo by Michaela Raffin)

Participants in the 42nd annual March for Life carry signs and chant pro-life slogans as they march toward the U.S. Supreme Court building in Washington on Jan. 22, the anniversary of the legalization of abortion in the United States. (Photo by Michaela Raffin)

By Michaela Raffin

WASHINGTON—Kaylie Ricks looked around at the excited crowd gathered on the National Mall and captured mental images of her first experience on the March for Life in Washington on Jan. 22.

She saw a young mother pushing her baby in a stroller, a group of college students with matching bright green hats chanting pro-life slogans, and a teenage girl holding a sign that noted, “I am the pro-life generation.”

“There were so many young people,” said Ricks, a 20-year-old Butler University student from Dixon, Ill. “That our generation—high school, college age kids—are passionate about an issue like that, I think it’s really important.”

Ricks bused from Indianapolis to Washington with a group of 45 other Indiana college students committed to the pro-life cause. This year marked the 42nd anniversary of the Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton Supreme Court decisions that legalized abortion in the United States.

Every year on Jan. 22, rain or shine, snow or sleet, hundreds of thousands of pro-life supporters march from the National Mall to the U.S. Supreme Court building to voice their opinion on one of the most controversial human rights issues of the day.

March for Life president Jeanne Monahan-Mancini calls it “the largest, most important civil rights demonstration in the world.”

This year’s theme for the March was “Every life is a gift.” Red tags with that slogan flashed across the big screen near the stage upon which pro-life musicians, politicians, religious leaders and young speakers rallied the crowd for the trek up Capitol Hill.

Seminarian Adam Antone, a 21-year-old from Chesterton, Ind., in his third year of formation at Bishop Simon Bruté College Seminary in Indianapolis, traveled to Washington with a group of his fellow seminarians who are passionate about the pro-life issue.

“I believe that life is a gift,” said Antone, who is studying for the Diocese of Gary, Ind., and a member of St. Patrick Parish in Chesterton. “Life is sacred and given by God, and I want to stand for life. I realize how precious it is and how thankful I am for my life, and I want to make sure that every child has the ability to live out their life.”

The rally before the march featured several pro-life speakers. Julia Johnson, a senior at Shanley High School in Fargo, N.D., was the loudest and most enthusiastic of them.

“We are the pro-life generation…we will not remain idle, we cannot,” she said, her voice ringing out across the National Mall. “It is our job to protect our brothers and sisters in the womb and their right to life.”

Johanna Johnson, a junior at Butler University from St. Louis, embraced this message. She was also impressed with the number of people who support the pro-life cause with her.

“You can throw around words like half a million, but to see 650,000 people there all for a common cause …” she said. “It was amazing.”

Johanna Johnson’s pro-life views were formed during her childhood and have stuck with her ever since.

“I have a little brother, so there was a time in my life when he was in mommy’s belly. And it was very clear that that was a baby, not that it was going to be a baby,” she said. “He was a baby, and he was my brother.”

Johanna’s story is the story of “the pro-life generation.” It’s a generation that takes selfies and posts on social media, but its members also truly believe they can end abortion in their lifetime.

Johanna added, “Our generation survived Roe v. Wade, but Roe v. Wade will not survive our generation.”
 

(Michaela Raffin, an intern for The Criterion, is a junior at Butler University in Indianapolis.)

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