Every January, Notre Dame Right to Life leads between 700 and 900 students and faculty from Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s and Holy Cross to the March for Life in Washington D.C. Each of us marches for many different reasons, but overall, we all are striving to seek an end to abortion. This motive understandably draws a lot of controversy. But I believe it is through dialogue and storytelling that we are able to center ourselves around our shared humanity. I know that many disagree with the pro-life stance, but know that this is me starting a dialogue, and this is why I march.
I march because when I was eight months old, I was adopted from China. I was a product of the one-child policy, left at a police station by a mother I never knew. Many mothers were pressured into getting abortions. In fact, over 336 million children were aborted in China as a result of the one-child policy. We don’t know their names or their stories, yet we can see the pain that must have been behind the pressure to get an abortion. We see this pain in parents being deprived the capacity to have a family and love their children.
Statistically speaking, I shouldn’t be here. I’ve thought about how I became so lucky, how I was close to being a part of that statistic, how I was almost diminished to a number. But I was granted life, and I have been given opportunities that many children were denied. I am more than a number; I am a human being who has dignity that was recognized at conception by my biological mother. Because of that recognition, I was adopted by a loving mother who gave witness to life through adoption. I am incredibly grateful to have had these experiences, because I know that 336 million others weren’t even given them.
Two women, my birth mother and my adoptive mother, saw my dignity as a human being and ultimately loved me so that I could have life. I try to bear witness to this, and I march because I want more children and women to experience such love. This love is hard to give, but Mother Teresa says that “love, to be real, must cost, it must hurt, it must empty us of self.” Love requires sacrifice; love requires choice. We must choose to love others despite the demands it places upon us.
Let me be clear: I am not saying that women who are getting abortions are rejecting love in any capacity. Women often choose to get abortions because they are denied basic human rights, such as a just wage. Their dignities are not being upheld, and the way in which we as a society should solve this is through love. It is love which saves the lives of women who feel the only choice they have is abortion. Love means empowering women to become to mothers and supporting them after their child is born. Love means providing prenatal care, especially to those who cannot afford it. Mothers are called to give love by sacrificing for their child, and we are called to give love by sacrificing our resources so that mothers are able to fulfill this obligation. It is through this love that we might make the pro-life movement a reality.
The March for Life’s theme this year is “Love Saves Lives,” and if you believe this statement, you should consider marching with us. Help love the pro-life movement into reality. Bear witness to life and love, and march in solidarity with the millions of lives that have been lost to abortion. But also know that the pro-life movement encompasses more than just abortion. Notre Dame Right to Life has a holistic view of respecting life from conception to natural death. We have service events that work to love and respect the dignity of all human beings, especially those on the margins of society, because by doing this — as Fr. Greg Boyle said in his book, “Tattoos on the Heart” — “the voices at the margins get heard and the circle of compassion widens. Souls feeling their worth, refusing to forget that we belong to each other.”
So, come to some of our club’s events, join us on the march. March for the 336 million children who never got a chance at this beautiful life and their families. March for women whose value in society is being diminished. March for those who were able to make the demands that love required and for those who couldn’t make the sacrifice. March because you want all souls to feel their worth, to be respected and receive love. I pray that we all have the strength to make the sacrifices love demands.
vice president of community outreach
Notre Dame Right to Life