Opinion: Save the Babies

Dowling students attended the 49th annual March for Life in Washington D.C.


Josie Talley

An opinion article on attending the March for Life.

Josie Talley, Staff Writer

On January 21st, 2022, tens of thousands of people gathered in Washington D.C. for the annual March for Life. This year, some Dowling students were among that crowd. This was the 49th annual march and possibly the last. There was a sense of hope among participants as pro-lifers across the country await the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v Jackson, a case that could overturn Roe v Wade.


As president of Dowling’s Students for Life group, I’ve attended the March every year that I could. The trip was canceled last year due to COVID-19, but we were fortunate enough to attend this year, despite restrictions and the cold. Every year is powerful and inspiring for me, but this year felt different. One aspect that was different was the noticeable lack of pro-choice protestors.


Adam Hanten (12) was surprised by this.


“Usually there’s a lot [of protesters]…The fact that they weren’t there made it a little less energetic; having protesters at the March ‘lights a little fire under your butt’ that wasn’t there, but it was still great,” Hanten said. 


This was Hanten’s second year at the March, but for many Dowling students, this was their first time at the event.  Taylor Tallman (11) and Tyler Schweizer (12) hadn’t attended the March before this year.


Schweizer went on the March to “save the babies.” 


“I decided to come this year because I’ve always been pro-life, and I wanted to stand up for what’s right,” Tallman said.


Hanten said that he hoped to set an example for men who may be dissuaded from joining the pro-life movement. 


Before the March, students met with their legislators and attended the pre-march rally. The favorite speakers of most participants were Fr. Mike Schmitz and a girl with Down syndrome. 


“I’ve watched his videos [Fr. Mike Schmitz] through my UtFidem groups, and it was nice to see him in person,” Schweizer said. 


The March following the rally was cold and crowded, but I thought the energy was incredible. The streets were full of people and there were unique signs everywhere.. I personally enjoyed the people playing bagpipes.


For Nicole Pedersen (11), her favorite part of attending was more on the people side of things. 


“The community of everyone there…it radiated such love and had such a positive vibe…also getting closer with all the other Dowling pro-life students because sometimes it can feel like we’re in the minority, even at a Catholic school,” Pedersen said.


I asked the interviewees how the March has inspired them going forward, and here were a few of the responses.


“I feel like I’ve been super quiet about all my positions–I just don’t speak about them, including abortion. And that’s actually one I’m scared most about to talk, because I see people constantly, like, how could you ever be pro-life?” Daniel Osborne (12) said. 


“[I was inspired to] Be more vocal about my beliefs, because in the past, I have held back from posting anything on social media or speaking about it because I didn’t know how people would react to it,” Pedersen said. 


On Saturday, the day after the March, my sister and I attended the National Pro-Life Summit through Students for Life of America. There were inspiring speakers throughout the day, and a couple of the most impactful speakers were women who had considered abortion. It’s important to understand the position women may be in when considering abortion as to relate to them and know their needs. We attended an apologetics training and learned about the Dobbs v Jackson case. It was, overall, a wonderful experience. 


My final question to interviewees was their advice for or message to Dowling students, especially ones on the fence about this issue. The abortion question is very nuanced, and I was impressed by their responses.


“Have tolerance,” Osborne said. 


“I think that everyone should at least give the March for Life a shot; It could really change and impact your life,” Maddy Pierick (11) said.


Taylor Tallman (11) suggested that students come to Students for Life meetings after school on Mondays.


“Be open to have conversations about it and be open to getting yourself more educated about the topic because society as a whole isn’t good at changing viewpoints on anything…We’re too set in our beliefs…Be open to learning more about it, be open to having conversations, and know that it’s okay to change your beliefs once you gain more information,” Pedersen said. 


The March for Life trip was an amazing experience for all involved and definitely strengthened attendees’ belief in their views. It helped everyone to understand that, as Pedersen said, we believe we are “on the right side of history” and “saying that babies’ lives matter and that abortion is wrong shouldn’t insult anybody because it’s the truth.”