By Jacquelyn Oster, Class of 2019
On the evening of Thursday, January 17, the students from Thomas More College of Liberal Arts began their pilgrimage to Washington, D.C. where they would join hundreds of thousands of pro-life Americans in the 46th annual March for Life.
At 4:30 a.m. on Friday—after nine hours of conversation and laughter punctuated by short naps—the students arrived at Union Station where they freshened, ate breakfast, and rode with coffee in hand to the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception for the closing Mass of our nation’s overnight prayer vigil for life.
With an hour to spare before Mass, some students joined Dominican friars in a lower chapel for Adoration and Lauds. Other students spent that time in contemplation under the Trinity dome of the church’s nave. There, surrounded by thousands who had spent the night in prayer, they gazed at the images of countless saints whose witness was enshrined in Venetian glass mosaics nearly three hundred feet above.
After Mass, the students traveled to the National Mall where conservative pundit Ben Shapiro provided a clear and incisive defense of pro-life values while debunking arguments for a woman’s supposed right to kill her unborn child. Shapiro showed that the fundamental right to life is logically supported by scientific and empirical facts. Still, he concluded his talk by saying that this tenet of the Natural Law only matters to those who believe in the dignity and value of every human life.
It was heartening for students to witness the support of republicans and democrats alike. The rally featured addresses by Vice President Mike Pence, Congressman Dan Lipinski (D-IL), Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ), State Representative Katrina Jackson (D-LA), Senator Steve Daines (R-MT), and Abby Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood clinic director. President Donald Trump made a brief appearance by video. He thanked participants and listed the pro-life successes that have been made during his presidency: the reinstitution of the Mexico City policy, the appointment of conservatives to our federal courts of appeals, and the legislation that he signed which empowers states to defund Planned Parenthood. Trump is also working to make permanent the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits taxpayer funding for abortion in spending bills. He mentioned his efforts to protect the religious freedom of doctors, nurses, and charities like the Sisters of the Poor.
After the rally—which ended at 1:00 p.m.—the students marched for almost two hours with a banner representing TMC. They were joined by alumni and other friends who participated in their singing of the Magnificat. After their arrival at the Supreme Court, some students made their way back to the station, while others filtered in to crowded Irish pubs for a celebratory beer. At 6:00 p.m., they began the nine-hour bus ride back to campus.
Shapiro’s conclusion—that a belief in the right to life is supported and animated by faith—resonated with the students of TMC. The theme of this year’s March, “Pro-life is Pro-science,” may be affirmed by republicans, democrats, and even the non-religious. But those who fight most ardently for the right to life are those who believe that every human being is made in the image of his Maker, to love, serve, and be with Him for all of eternity.
This video documenting Thomas More College’s involvement at the March for Life was filmed by Daniel Richert, class of 2020.
Daniel Richert has been filming and making videos on his YouTube Channel, the Reel Experience Media for over seven years. His goal is to spread the true, the good, and the beautiful, the fruit of a liberal education, through video. Last fall, he became an intern for the Center for the Restoration of Christian Culture.
You can check out Mr. Richert’s work on his Youtube Channel.