I found myself surrounded by thousands of pro-lifers the weekend of Jan. 20 through Jan. 23 at the March for Life, showcased by the photo on our front page. Ever since the first anniversary of Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, a pair of 1973 decisions by the Supreme Court that created an essentially unqualified right to abortion up until the point of birth, thousands of pro-life people have marched in Washington, D.C. during this annual event to protest the decision and show their support for all those who have been affected by abortion. This year was the 39th year since the decisions and another year where the mainstream media, for the most part anyway, ignored or distorted the protests.
Some people say the pro-life movement is composed solely of people of the middle- aged and older part of America, but my experience that weekend tells me something different: there is a significant number of students and other youths who are actively involved in the movement. I’m proud to say that I took advantage of this opportunity to stand up for what I believe in even though I was nervous about it and am glad that I’m not alone in my position.
I think it’s extremely important that everyone gets over his or her fear of expressing an unpopular opinion or just simply an issue he or she feels strongly about by doing something that takes him or her outside of his or her comfort zone. That weekend was certainly such an experience for me because I actually didn’t know anyone else who was going with the group. But I ended up having an extraordinary experience anyway, and I recommend more people get involved in some way. The issue that you decide is important to you could be anything, just get involved in something.
Often, people will excuse themselves from taking a stance on any topic. Sometimes a person doesn’t know where to start. Sometimes it’s the fear of making a fool of one’s self. And sometimes it’s a matter of a lack of time. But most people have these fears; it just takes a certain amount of courage and ingenuity to overcome these fears and make a difference.
In case you happen to be shy about your beliefs, I’m going to include a few basic tips about activism.
- Be charitable. Caritas and Veritas is the best way to go. You’ll attract more people to your cause if you are kind in the way you approach people who don’t believe what you believe.
- Study both sides of the issue and make sure you have a pretty good idea of what you’re talking about. Your arguments don’t have to be perfect – that’s a major benefit of debate; you’ll learn more about others’ perspectives and have to consider the issue in a different way. This is especially important if you have a viewpoint that most people don’t agree with.
- Create a group or simply gather together some people who believe the same thing you believe. Unfortunately, I have been way too busy this year, my last at DU, to revive a pro-life group on campus, but if you’re a freshman or a sophomore, get busier! You never know who might want to get involved.
Defending your beliefs might not be the easiest way to live your life, but it is essential. After all, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” – a quote attributed to Irish political philosopher Edmund Burke.
– Mary Stroka, Editor-in-chief