Young people focus on the personal, not political, at 50th March for Life

WASHINGTON (OSV News) -- With the Supreme Court this past June overturning Roe v. Wade, the 1973 ruling that asserted that abortion was a constitutional right, many efforts of pro-life leaders turned to obtaining either a federal abortion ban though Congress or putting restrictions on the practice in the states.

But political analyses about a national abortion ban or even much commentary on the Supreme Court's reversal of Roe were not at the forefront for many of the young people OSV News spoke with at the March for Life. They preferred to talk about the personal: a friend or family member who considered abortion and found support through either a pregnancy resource center or the prayers of others.

People who are from their actual lives.

For Marjorie Dannenfelser, 57, who heads SBA Pro-Life America, the new post-Roe goal is "to win back the states" and "to win back the presidency," as she said on a Jan. 18 press call, but Lauren McCann, who heads Collegians for Life at the University of Mary in Bismarck, North Dakota, doesn't think in those terms.

"I guess I don't hold fast to one party, because things change in politics," she told OSV News, while acknowledging that "a national ban on abortion is something we can pray for and look forward to."

Cecilia McFadden, a student at Christendom College in Front Royal, Virginia, where she heads Crusaders for Life, said, "I actually do not really follow politics at all."McFadden preferred to discuss a relative with an unexpected pregnancy for whom abortion had been made a clear option, and how she saw what that person had to go through to keep the baby.

"I was able to see her strength in that," McFadden told OSV News. She sees the post-Roe future as "not just praying about it," but to "make adoption centers more well known."

The emphasis on the personal in young women's stories doesn't surprise Christen Pollo, who heads Pro-Life Michigan. Pollo's own mother had considered abortion while pregnant with her, she said.

She thinks a personal account "brings their faith to the issue. These are real human beings who are living that way."

As for the post-Roe future, "I think we should do everything we can to help someone in an unplanned pregnancy," she said. "Killing babies -- that's not how a civilized society responds to a problem."

Hollieann Geike, who heads the Students for Life chapter at Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio, and was at her second March for Life, also said she’s not political, since "abortion isn't a political issue; it's a social issue."

She added, "I have a lot of friends right now who have children," including one who had to fend off pressure to have an abortion. "She chose life and has the support of her grandmother."

Morgan Ehlis, another University of Mary student, told OSV News, "It's an overwhelming experience for someone from a rural area like me, being in a place like D.C. with like-minded people for a cause."

The young people among the tens of thousands of pro-life advocates at this year's 50th March for Life demonstrated without serious delay and their marching ended, as it always has, in front of the Supreme Court.

"I'm grateful to be pro-life," said Ehlis. "It's swimming upstream for sure, but there's this big support group we have."

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Kurt Jensen writes for OSV News from Washington.