By Mike Jordan Laskey
January 18, 2019 — Last January, on an unseasonably warm Friday, I stood on a street corner in Washington, D.C., at the March for Life. Tens of thousands of people streamed by, the longest mass of humanity I’ve ever seen up close — drummers, banners and flags; chanting high school kids; seminarians praying rosaries; moms pushing strollers — stretching on and on and on.
I had marched in the past and knew the demonstration drew a lot of watching it from the side gave me a clearer sense of the crowd. It also gave me a lot of hope.
I was reminded that this social justice movement working and praying for the protection of the most vulnerable people in the world — unborn children — is strong in numbers. It is full of joy and faith and youthful energy. I am so glad those who are literally voiceless have bold witnesses speaking up for them.
Held every January in Washington since 1974, the first anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion in the U.S., the March for Life is attended by hundreds representing Jesuit parishes, high schools, colleges, universities, and other institutions. They march because of the Ignatian call to be “men and women for others.” They march because they are striving to live a faith that does justice. And they march because they see the face of Jesus in the face of each child and parent, committed to the protection of human dignity at every stage.
“Our common calling is to stand in solidarity with the unborn, the ‘least of our brothers and sisters’ (Matthew 25:40), through prayer and political activism,” the Jesuits of the United States wrote in the 2018 statement on abortion, Protecting the Least Among Us. “It is our desire that Jesuits, along with their colleagues, will continue to offer a consistent message of respect for life, especially for unborn children.” The Ignatian family joins in prayer and action with all those who march today and with all who work in the defense of human life year-round.