January 25 2018
Protesters marched from the National Mall to the Supreme Court in the annual “March For Life” last Friday, Jan. 19, in Washington D.C. This year’s theme, “Love Saves Lives,” was echoed in the remarks made by President Trump, who became the first sitting president to address the rally live via satellite.
The D.C. march was one of several important moments for the pro-life movement in the past weeks. Other March For Life events joined the D.C. movement, including the Chicago march held Jan. 13. Students from across the nation attended the Cardinal O’Connor Conference for Life, the largest collegiate pro-life conference in the nation on Jan. 20. Churches around the nation celebrated “National Sanctity of Life Sunday” on Jan. 21, and President Trump declared the 45th anniversary of “Roe v. Wade,” Jan. 22, as “National Sanctity of Human Life Day.”
Sophomore Edie Heipel traveled to D.C. for the march. “Going to the march in D.C. this year was really impactful for me, because I never before realized how unifying it is a cause. There were people of all differences there … It was such a joyous occasion. Everyone was smiling, and it was bringing strangers of different backgrounds together for this cause that we all believe in,” she told the Record.
Heipel has been attending pro-life events since she was a child but didn’t become personally passionate about the movement until later. “It really wasn’t until I made my faith my own, which was about sophomore year of high school, that I became pulled to this issue,” she recalled. Heipel now serves as vice president for Wheaton’s pro-life organization, Voice For Life. The campus organization has five cabinet members in total and over 15 people affiliated with Voice For Life went to the march.
Sophomore Sophia Leach, business manager of Voice For Life, attended her second March For Life in Chicago this year, but found the experience more meaningful as part of the Voice For Life community than her first experience. “For me, the march is a small, but really impactful way for me to have skin in the game of what I am about as a proud pro-lifer. It doesn’t seem like a big deal,” Leach said. “Just being one of thousands of people walking for less than a mile, but it’s more about not being afraid of people knowing that I went, and that I’m not ashamed of my convictions on this issue.”
Wheaton’s Voice For Life community also attended the Cardinal O’Connor conference at Georgetown University. President of Voice For Life, junior Bethany Lin, said that the speakers at the conferences arrived from all over the nation, bringing together different careers and ideas to protect and defend life.
“A lot of times we think of pro-life as just saving unborn babies, but it’s really so much bigger than that, because life is valuable at every stage. It doesn’t matter if someone has disabilities, or if they are of a certain ethnicity or certain size or a certain background. Every human life is inherently precious,” Lin told the Record.
True to the unifying and holistic aims of the marches and conferences they attended, the Voice For Life cabinet envisions a similar movement here at Wheaton this year.
“We had a similar vision of changing this club into a more active, more service-oriented club. A lot of times, the pro-life movement is very politically charged, and I feel like that ends up being more about positions than valuing human lives. So our goal for this year and even in the coming years is to really value everyone’s lives, even college students here … a common need is that everyone wants to feel valued and loved, and that’s something we are in a position to do,” said Lin.
Voice For Life plans to volunteer at local pregnancy resource centers as well as nursing homes. They also want to increase efforts to care for college students through participation in student care events and other opportunities on campus. Their next outreach, scheduled for Feb. 19, is to volunteer with CareNet, an organization that partners with churches in the area to meet needs of local families.
January 25 2018