Why I March
January 28, 2014
In May 1997 at 22 weeks, my sister, Rachel, was born. Though Rachel was barely 2 pounds and small enough to fit into my father’s hand, she was a fighter. She had a congenital heart defect and Down syndrome. And she was still the most beautiful baby I had ever seen. She was MY sister. I was 7 years old and although Rachel lived only a few short months, her presence remains with us—the impact still resonating with me, my family and even our community and standing the test of time. She showed me the value of every human life at every stage of life.
Fast-forward several years. I remember distinctly the moment my mother spoke to me about abortion. It was inconceivable to me that killing a human life, especially an innocent human life, was legal and was happening every day. It became real to me when my mother told me that the doctors wanted to abort Rachel, our sweet baby Rachel, because of her “birth defects.”
These are the memories I would carry with me as I joined the March for Life in our nation’s capital. I have had the privilege of marching three times, this year being my fourth. Some might expect it to be the same experience each time, but returning this year, post college, as a young adult brought a new perspective.
I was blessed to stand for life with hundreds of thousands in the streets of Washington DC. And at the rally on the Mall, I saw busloads of high school students and signage from universities across the country. It was truly inspiring. It is so easy to forget that there are millions out there who are my age and younger who share my pro-life conviction.
As I took in the sight of the thousands gathered in the Mall, I thought about the theme for this year’s march: #whywemarch. Why was I marching? Yes, I am pro-life, but there was something more. As I stood watching the families around me, I found my answer. I saw her.
She was no older than 3 years old, sitting in a stroller and looking like a big pink marshmallow. My first reaction was shock that parents would bring this baby out in the freezing cold. I got over that once I saw her smile. She had blue eyes and a familiar face. Rachel’s face – my sister’s face.
I admit that every time I see a little girl with Down syndrome I think of baby Rachel. Many times I scan crowds looking for anything or anyone that reminds me of my sister. She is one of the main reasons that I march – she and the millions of other babies like her who are aborted each year. This little girl’s parents painstakingly bundled her up for the cold on this January 22nd – the 41st anniversary of the court case that allowed her to be killed in the womb. And in the backdrop of that pure white snow that greeted the thousands of marchers that day, she was the example of the beauty of every life and at every stage of life.
I can’t imagine not being pro-life. I was blessed to be born into a family with strong Catholic values who instilled in me the sanctity of life. But it’s moments like these – when I see Rachel’s face in the sea of thousands – that I remember why standing for life is so important not just this year but every year and not just once a year but every day.
Tags: March for Life