Villanovans for Life attend March in D.C.

Kara Herman

It has been 36 years since the Supreme Court legalized abortion in what continues to be one of the most famous and controversial debates of our time.

Every year since then, hundreds of thousands of people gather in Washington, D.C., to protest the court’s decision and defend life in all stages.

The March for Life is held on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, Jan. 22. First, a rally and religious services are held all around the National Mall. Then protestors march up Constitution Avenue to the Capitol building.

Chants and prayers can be heard along with the counter-demonstrations of pro-choice activists.

Among the mix of thousands of people old and young, the Villanova community is well represented.

Villanovans for Life – the University’s pro-life club – sponsors a trip to the March every year.

Part of the club’s mission is to raise awareness on the fundamental beliefs behind the pro-life stance.

This includes educating, praying, donating to Mothers-A-Month Association, observing Respect Life Week and attending the March for Life.

This year the club’s turnout was around 35 people, about the same as in previous years. But the club has goals that go beyond numbers.

“I’m hoping that as a whole the March will inspire people who are pro-life to continue to work towards the goal of protecting all human life,” said Clare Oven, a junior and the club’s president.

Because the abortion debate is so controversial, many people refrain from making their beliefs known.

However, Oven hopes that the March inspires not only her fellow club members but others too.

“I also hope that people who are watching the March will see the enthusiasm and dedication of pro-life people,” she said.

Villanova, as a Catholic Augustinian University, follows the Church’s beliefs about pro-life issues.

While the Health Center offers gynecological exams and STD tests, it will not offer any kind of contraception or encourage the termination of a pregnancy. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that “Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception,” and the penalty for formal cooperation in an abortion is “excommunication for this crime against human life.”

However, if a pregnant woman’s life were in danger and she could be saved by an abortion, the procedure is permitted under Church doctrine.

This accounts for 0.1 percent of the 42 million abortions worldwide every year, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Rape and incest account for 1 percent of abortions in the United States according to the WHO.

While abortion is against the Catholic Church’s teachings, it is legal.

This year, the Villanova students arrived at the March and listened to the speeches at the rally on the mall.

Some University alumni were also present at the March and joined the current students after spotting the University banner.