On Jan. 21, over 150,000 people gathered at the National Mall in Washington D.C. and marched from the Washington Monument to the Supreme Court Building in the 49th annual March for Life.
The March for Life is a national rally and march that supports the pro-life movement and seeks to promote the rights and dignity of every human life. Included in the marchers were 35 Auburn students who are a part of the Students for Life organization on campus.
Students for Life is a national pro-life organization that helps high school and college students by providing resources to campuses to help spread information and knowledge about abortion. The Students for Life Club at Auburn hosts a few events throughout the year, including Crosses on Cater, which is a demonstration on Cater Lawn where they put out crosses with flowers to physically represent how many babies are aborted each year. Participating in the March for Life is their biggest event, and this year they had 35 students attend.
Prior to the trip, the group raised money through GoFundMe and other sources to cover expenses such as travel and hotel.
Lupita Contreras, senior in biomedical science, currently serves as the president for Students for Life, and she shared how they are grateful to the community for coming together and providing what was needed.
“We just had countless people help — anonymous, non-anonymous, students, parents, families, representatives, so it really got the whole community together, and we raised $3000 which we are so thankful that we were able to do that.” Contreras said.
This was Contreras’s fifth consecutive March for Life. She shared her personal story on why she supports the pro-life movement and chooses to partcipiate in this event.
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“A big part of why I march and why I will forever march until the day we don’t have to anymore is because my mom was a twin, and she and my grandma had a very high-risk pregnancy. The doctor was really pushing my grandma that she could get an abortion, and the doctor thought it would be better and safer to go ahead and cut out risk,” Contreras said. “My grandmother ended up choosing life. Because of that choice my grandma made years back, I am here and I am able to march for those that might not have had that opportunity.”
The March for Life started with a rally at the foot of the Washington Monument, where different speakers shared their experience and involvement with the pro-life movement. Included in these speakers was Katie Shaw, a 36-year-old woman with down syndrome who also serves as a down syndrome advocate.
Shaw shared the fact that over 80% of babies with down syndrome are aborted. She shared her testimony of her mother being advised to get an abortion because Shaw had down syndrome, but ultimately her mother chose against it. Shaw also shared how she was saddened that an increasing number of babies with down syndrome are not given the chance to live.
Savannah Street, junior in accounting and business analytics, currently serves as treasurer for Students for Life. Street spoke on how Shaw’s speech was especially moving.
“She basically gave us her testimony and that her life is important,” Street said, “and it makes her so sad that so many people like her that could have been her friends are not on this earth.”
Street also shared how her experience marching encouraged her to reflect on the people marching beside her who each brought their own story to the movement.
“It's really cool because it's not like I’m marching for my own reasons and my convictions, but it's also that there are people besides me marching for their own reasons,” Street said. “We basically all marched down the roads of Washington D.C. towards the Capitol to make a difference and to make a stand for the life of babies and precious children.”
The March lasted around two hours from its initial start to ending at the Supreme Court Building, and the Auburn students marched together holding an Auburn flag.
After serving Students for Life for four years, Contreras reflected on much it means to her to have been able to travel with the organization and participate in the March for Life, especially with fellow Auburn students.
“Marching alongside these people and having a community that is just as passionate as me really give me so much hope for the future and further inspires me to keep going,” Contreras said. “And I think that it what is beautiful about having a community here at Auburn is we get to establish a little family and really be advocates for this cause.”
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