Students for Life heads to Washington to take part in march

BY VERONICA MENALDI
Daily Staff Reporter
Published January 20, 2009

While many University students were making their way back from Washington, D.C. after watching the presidential inauguration Wednesday, some students were preparing for a different type of trip to the nation’s capital.

About 40 students and recent graduates left last night for Washington, D.C. to join 150,000 people at the March for Life — an annual protest of the Supreme Court's decision in Roe v. Wade — which legalized abortion.

After attending the march, which will be held on Thursday, the group will take part in the first Life Prizes Awards, in which six $100,000 prizes will be handed out to pro-life activists. The group will also participate in the Students for Life of America Conference.

Lauren Bennett, president of the University’s chapter of Students for Life, has attended the march for the past five years. She said it unites pro-life activists from all across the country.

She added that the atmosphere is both happy from celebrating life and mournful for the lives they contend were lost to abortions.

Zach Stangebye, vice president of the University's chapter of Students for Life, said he’s excited to see many people demonstrating their support for the pro-life cause.

“A lot of the time, people don’t think the pro-life movement is as big as it is,” he said. “Once you see all the people that are at the march, it’s really overwhelming to think there are so many people holding a pro-life position. It’s eye opening.”

Bennett said seeing so many supporters helps her realize she’s not alone in her beliefs.

"The most amazing part of it is the amount of youth that are there,” she said. “There is such a strong presence, and it speaks a lot to me. It shows that you're not alone and that's hard to remember sometimes."

The demonstrators are hoping to send a message to President Barack Obama, on his second day in the White House.

Stangebye said the march could serve as a sign to the government and new President about the changes people want to see.

“I think that it can have a big impact on the big leaders too, and it will at least pressure them to re-think the issue, if not inspire them,” he said. “Also, it would show them the way we, as Americans, feel about current abortion legislation.”

But Kym Lovell, chair of the University's chapter of Students for Choice, said she sees the timing of the march — right on the heels of Obama’s inauguration — as a sign of disrespect.

“I am saddened that during this monumental week in history, people are spending their time and energy spreading messages of intolerance and the suppression of rights and freedoms,” she said.