Gannon University was well-represented at the 2015 March for Life Thursday in Washington with over a dozen of its students present.
They were among thousands of anti-abortion activists who rallied together in Washington at the March for Life for this year’s theme “Every life is a Gift.”
Among the Gannon students to attend the march was Megan Schoming, a junior physical therapy major. She said the March for Life is a congregation of people from all over the United States – even some internationally – who gather in Washington to protest against what she called unjust laws that have been put into place by legislation that threaten the dignity of human life.
“The phrase ‘pro-life’ means we are defending all human life from conception until natural death because we believe that God is the giver of life, so the right to take a life is reserved for God alone,” Schoming said.
She said many people are unaware of where the phrase “Choose Life” actually originated. The phrase is pulled directly from the Old Testament Deuteronomy 30:15-20 and is again referenced by Jesus in the New Testament, Schoming said.
Schoming said the most well-known pro-life case is the fight against abortion laws, which originally came about due to a court case in 1972 known as Roe v. Wade.
“These are the laws we fight against daily and every year we gather at the Capital to speak for those who have no voice,” Schoming said. “The March for Life is important for a number of reasons. Testimonies are powerful and fuel the fight so that people see why we are pro-life .”
There is also power in large numbers of people coming together, not only just asking for change from the officials, but joining as one in prayer, Schoming said. She said Masses are said every hour, all day long at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception to end abortion in the country and in the world.
The rosary and Divine Mercy Chaplet are said before, during and after the March for Life, she said. Schoming said prayer is powerful, especially when many people are praying for the same thing. She said there was even the opportunity to bring grievances against unjust laws to the governors and representatives who have the power to make changes in legislation.
Gannon students’ presence in the nation’s capital for last week’s march was nothing new.
Schoming said Gannon students have been attending the March for Life years before she came to the university and since she has been here, she has attended it with other students every year for three years.
Bianca Morris, a freshman history major, said it was her 10th year going and she has seen it grow and grow each year.
“Seeing a multitude of people coming from all over the nation to meet – in unison –and stand up for a serious topic really changes you,” Morris said.
“It means so much more than just walking and protesting. It’s about giving a voice to the voiceless and standing up for what is morally right.”
Morris said she hopes that more students will take interest and join the cause. She said she prays that each year the influence from the march will grow and bring them one step closer to change the world for the good.
“Being there really rekindled that fire in me to uphold justice,” Morris said “Seeing strangers at my left and right fighting for the same thing gives me hope that someday we can eradicate the evils in our world.”
Nicholas Tabar, a junior mechanical engineering major, said it was his second year participating in the March for Life. He said he began participating in the march because he wanted to stand up for what he believed in both politically and most importantly religiously as a participating Catholic.
Tabar said he loved being a part of the march, but his favorite part was taking in a Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.
“Being able to partake in a Mass with thousands of like-minded individuals – most of them my age – was such a powerful and emotional moment for me as a Catholic,” Tabar said. “The march itself was an amazing sight as well.
“Being able to see the throngs of people that travel hundreds and possibly thousands of miles to be in Washington to participate was simply astounding.”
This year, 18 Gannon students went to the march and they were joined by students from Mercyhurst University and members of St. George’s Church. Schoming said normally the cost for students to attend the march was around $20-$30 per student after fundraising, but a generous donation enabled the students to go for free.
“I hope that from experiencing this national event and from interacting with all those present, our students are able to see how large scale this issue is,” Schoming said, “and feel even more compelled to continue fighting for the right to life.”