Held annually in Washington, D.C., the March for Life is a rally with the purpose of taking a stand against abortion with special emphasis on attempting to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade case, where the Supreme Court ruled 7-2 in 1973 that abortion was a fundamental right protected by the United States Constitution.
This year’s march marked the third attended by Fayette native Tiffany Bates, a senior studying Health Science at Heidelberg University. According to organizers, an estimated 485,000 attended alongside Bates and the hundreds of others from northwest Ohio.
“It was absolutely incredible. The Diocese of Toledo marched together, which was close to 700 people. The leader of my group had a microphone and portable speaker and we prayed the rosary throughout the march, as well as throughout our trip to and from Washington D.C. There is a large group of pro-choice people at school, so being around so many people who are so passionate and have the same views I do was absolutely amazing,” Bates said.
As the marchers made their way down Constitution Avenue past the Supreme Court, National Mall, and Capitol Building, there was a new sense of validation and pride felt. Although previous marches included remarks made remotely via telephone by Presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, this year featured a live, in person address from Vice President Mike Pence, a champion of the pro-life movement.
The vice president’s indication that the Trump administration would fight to “restore a culture of life” in the United States and begin by soon appointing a pro-life Supreme Court nominee appealed to many in attendance, including Bates.
“It was nice to have the support from the administration,” she said.
Attending the march was a natural choice for Bates once the opportunity arose. A member of the Catholic Newman Club and Cru, Bates credits her Catholic faith in being a cornerstone of her beliefs.
“When I was a Sophomore at Heidelberg, we had a speaker from the diocese come to the Catholic Newman Club [to speak] about the March for Life and I knew I had to go. I have always believed that every life matters, from the womb to the tomb,” she said.
The march, in its 44th consecutive year, is sure to live on, and Bates hopes to continue to attend. However, if life takes her in a different path (especially as she looks to attending nursing school this fall), she plans to still speak up for her beliefs, and encourages others to do the same.
“I will definitely continue to be the voice for the voiceless, even if I cannot attend the March in D.C. for a couple of years … Stand up for what you believe in, even if you’re standing alone,” Bates said.