Students Attend Anti-Abortion March in D.C.

The group “Students for Life,” traveled to Washington D.C. Jan. 23 to participate in the annual March for Life.

The march’s official website states that the purpose of the march is to memorialize the Supreme Court’s “infamous” decision in the case of Roe v. Wade that legalized abortion in 1973.

Fifty students gathered inside St. Thomas More Church at 3 a.m. to take a six hour trip down to the nation’s capitol. Vice President of “Students for Life” James Finnegan claims that this was the highest numbers of students ever to come from St. John’s to go to the march.

For the majority of the trip most students sat in silence and caught up on sleep for the six hours it took to get from St. John’s campus to Washington D.C. The silence was only interrupted to pray half the rosary. Students were also able to take advantage of a short rest stop in Aberdeen, Maryland.

The students arrived at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception for the 10 a.m. mass. Students had time to tour the basilica before the mass began. The Archbishop of Philadelphia Charles Chaput, said in his homily that it was important for Christians to start the day off in prayer because “the devil we want to cast out will be cast out with prayer and fasting.”

Finnegan also said that it was important for the St. John’s students to start the day off in church. “This is very much a day of prayer and remembrance,” he said. “This is a movement about changing hearts and minds and we can’t do that by attacking people like some do. The rosary is our weapon.”
The students then walked from the basilica to the Metro, the D.C. subway system, and took two trains to the National Mall to hear a series of speeches given by anti-abortion members of congress.

Speaker of the House Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) opened the series of speeches and was followed by members of congress from around the country and several members of anti-abortion agencies.

During the speeches rain fell on the National Mall and turned the grass to mud. Students tried to keep warm and passed the time by dancing around in the mud in an attempt to keep their feet warm. Several put on plastic ponchos protecting themselves and the backpacks they were carrying with them.

Michael DeBenedetto said that he was happy to see so many speakers standing up on stage. “It’s good to see politicians standing up and wanting
to make a difference,” he said.  “I think the movement is moving in the right direction.”

Finnegan said that one of the only negative aspects of the entire trip was the last congressman to give a speech, as he digressed from the topic of abortion
to talk about other matters.

“There’s a lot of passion and a lot of energy in the movement and sometimes that can be lost and misdirected,” Finnegan said. “I think sometimes people get a little carried away in the rhetoric and maybe say things that make us seem a little more kooky than we would want to appear,” referring to the congressman’s remarks.

After the speeches were finished, the advocates proceeded to walk from the National Mall to the Supreme Court and Capitol building. St. John’s students got separated in the middle of thousands of marchers from around the country.

While passing the Supreme Court and Capitol buildings marchers held up signs calling for the de-funding of Planned Parenthood and the repeal of Roe v. Wade.

After passing the Capitol building, St. John’s students went to Union Station to get back on the bus.

The students broke the silence that occurred during the morning portion of the trip and conversed with each other on the way home. Finnegan said that one of the positive aspects of the trip was that people with the same beliefs can get together and feel connected with other people.

Finnegan said that this was his second year helping to organize the University trip to D.C. He said that if he could change one thing about the trip, itd be to bring more students.

“I’d love to see another bus,” he said.