Southeast Missouri State University student publication

Students for Life travel to St. Louis to march against abortion

Wednesday, February 7, 2018
A group of Southeast students who attended the march in St. Louis.
Submitted photo

Making their voices heard on behalf of those who could not speak for themselves was the objective of Southeast students who joined many other demonstrators during January.

Southeast’s Students for Life attended St. Louis’ first annual March on the Arch on Jan. 27 to promote their pro-life convictions, over a week after the national March for Life. The group hopes their actions bring attention to the cause on campus and nationwide.

Sophomore psychology major Beth Ludwig has been a member for a year and a half and is president of Students for Life, and she said she wants to make the organization more active at Southeast in both religious and non-religious circles.

She learned about the March on the Arch from friends in St. Louis who are members of Life Runners, an activist group that spreads the pro-life message via 5K races.

Ludwig was motivated her to be a part of the march because of her personal opposition to abortion as the taking of human life.

“I wanted to show that every life matters," Ludwig said about participating in the march. “We have to be willing to show what we believe and walk peacefully for life and show that this generation will be the one to end abortion.”

Three members of Students for Life attended the March on the Arch that took protesters from Planned Parenthood to the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis. Steve Heine, a Southeast freshman majoring in multimedia journalism, said the marchers were well-received through most of the city.

He said there were counter-protestors, but they were not disruptive and at times held dialogue with marchers.

Ludwig described the march as an “awesome experience” and unique from other political demonstrations she had attended. As opposed to silent political marches, she said this particular march had music and chants.

Students for Life itself has been present at Southeast almost three years and is a part of a national organization. The campus group has grown out of Newman Catholic Ministry.

Heine, vice president of Students for Life on campus, said his aunt and grandparents attended the Washington March for Life and his family is adamantly pro-life. Heine has a history of involvement in pro-life events, beginning with his grandparents taking him to pray outside of Planned Parenthood when he was younger.

Madison Smith, a junior majoring in integrated marketing communications, attended her first pro-life demonstration at the march in St. Louis.

“It was really neat to go and see the diverse group of people,” Smith said. “There were lots of very different people you wouldn’t expect to see.”

She said she liked seeing a large group of people rallying around such an important cause and enjoying the event while doing so.

This diversity, Smith said, included a variety of individuals, she said, including numerous younger protests.

She said some protestors too unique, intersectional positions on the issue. She cited the New Wave Feminists, a group that deviates from typical organizations by opposing abortion.

The anti-abortion movement has held the motto “We are the pro-life generation” in recent years.

Ludwig said they need to convince people to be pro-life and believes the majority of people do not think of abortion positively, but most believe women should be able to choose because it is their body.

“You just have to be loving to them, and explain to them why being pro-life is the best option,” she said.

Heine said he believes there to be a silent majority of people who oppose abortion, but people are hesitant to speak out on such a sensitive topic. He said he's optimistic change is coming.

Smith said abortion is not a political issue but a human-rights issue. By politicizing it, the issue is disregarded and the urgency is ignored. She noted the testimonials of doctors who have performed abortion and from women who have had abortions. She said their remorseful words have been moving and motivating

Students for Life has a history of associates being involved in the national march held every January for the last 45 years.

Students for Life will be having events this spring. One of which will be a speech by the founder of New Wave Feminists, Destiny Herndon-De La Rosa, in April in Dempster Hall.

Students for Life holds meetings at 7 p.m. every other Tuesday in the UC Indian Room. To learn more about them, students can visit their Facebook page.