March for Life: “I’m adopted! The world wouldn’t be the same without me!”

Zelda Caldwell/Aleteia
Joni Abdalla and friends travelled from Indiana/Zelda Caldwell for Aleteia

Cheerful and diverse participants of today's demonstration talk about why they made long treks to walk in DC

March for Life 2017/Diane Montagna for Aleteia

The crowd walking the Mall of Washington D.C. today is enormous, and it is a crowd without rancor, full of good cheer, and optimism on this sunny winter’s day. The March for Life is always a peaceful gathering, despite its grim focus on abortion.

As we gathered, I was able to make the acquaintance of a few fellow-marchers, who kindly agreed to tell me why they were there.

Students from Iowa's Bishop Garrison High School/Zelda Caldwell for Aleteia

“We took a bus! For 20 hours!” Students from Bishop Garrison High School, in Northern Iowa. First time marcher Laya DeLange, part of this group, said, “I march to show people who may be thinking about having an abortion to consider adoption. My mom adopted me. I feel like, if my birth mother had chosen abortion, I obviously wouldn’t be here, and I don’t want to sound conceited or anything, but it wouldn’t be the same without me!”

NFL Star Ben Watson at the 2017 March for Life/Diane Montagna for Aleteia

Laya may not be famous, like the Baltimore Ravens’ Ben Watson, but she’s right. The world wouldn’t be the same without her, or without him! Watson thinks it is particularly important that men show up for the march, and also to show up for life: “Men, it is past time we be the protectors we were meant to be. Men, we can be silent no more!

Joni Abdalla of Indiana/Zelda Caldwell for Aleteia

Joni Abdalla, a mother of seven, came from Indianapolis with friends, Of her sign, “Make womb for love,” she says, “I wanted to come up with something really powerful thats also really positive and encompasses everything we feel about the movemet.” She considers herself a feminist and added, “we have to love our women better.”

Joni Abdalla and friends travelled from Indiana/Zelda Caldwell for Aleteia

Lots of diversity at the March!

Bikers for Life at March for Life 2017/Diane Montagna for Aleteia

Meanwhile, Quinn Fruge, Carter Andrus and Austin Miller came all the way from Saint Edmund High School in Eunice, Louisiana. The school participates in the march every year, but this is their first time. Aside from calling every woman they met, “Ma’am,” Carter and the boys had this to say: “It’s not fair for someone else to decide who lives. The baby has as much right to live as any of us.”

Quinne Fruge, Carter Andrus and Austin Miller, from St Edmund High, Louisiana/Zelda Caldwell for Aleteia

Finally, Vivian White and crew — easy to spot in their polka-dot hats — were happy to be part of a group so large it needed five buses to get to Washington. “I’ve been wanting to come for a long time, and no one ever asked me,” said Vivian. “I feel like it’s important nowadays, with the younger generation, to do this. The sanctity of life from birth to death is important. God created you with a purpose, and that’s where my heart is!”

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March for Life
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