On a frigid day in January 2020, three Clapham School High school students, along with several other like minded young adults, braved the cold to stand up for the most vulnerable amongst us—the unborn.
Then Clapham School senior, Caleb Logan, initially decided to join his youth group and travel all the way from Chicago to Washington D.C. to attend the annual March for Life because he thought it would be a fun youth group experience. To his surprise, he found that he enjoyed the whole event—from taking part in the march to listening to supporters' arguments on different sides of the aisle.
Fellow student, Allison Dumper, was so impressed by the 2019 March for Life, where she experienced many eye-opening experiences, that she jumped at the chance to attend again in 2020. This time, in addition to taking part in the march, she also registered for the conference held after the event. This conference aims to equip men and women to fight against abortion and its related problems in a loving and God-honoring way.
Priscilla Logan felt that God wanted her to go on this trip. She was hesitant to commit at first. In the Fall of 2019, in the midst of acting in a play, classwork, and extracurricular activities, she was finalizing her plans for the Spring semester. Priscilla has always loved traveling and found it hard to say no, but she wanted to protect her time. However, when her youth pastor emailed with the opportunity to attend the March for Life in Washington, D.C., she signed up on the last night, and just a few hours before the deadline, she paid the deposit and waited to hear if there was room for me to go. Priscilla prayed that God would decide her fate, knowing it would be an invaluable experience. By His grace, she received confirmation of a spot a few days later, and planning began in all seriousness.
The March for Life takes place every January on Roe vs. Wade's anniversary—a ruling made by the Supreme Court to guarantee women access to abortion. Over the years, the purpose of the March for Life has expanded beyond just abortion and has now become a celebration of life in all forms—from the moment of conception to the moment of natural death.
For these three students, this trip did not come without expense. They hustled to generate their own funds to pay their way. They each had to cover the cost of transportation, food, and housing. This youth group trip turned out to be more of a financial sacrifice than the students expected, but they all agree it was totally worth it. These young people's dedication to generate funds to support a cause they deem important is truly inspiring.
Priscilla Logan shared how she raised money for the trip.
Funny story I actually wasn't planning on participating in a bake sale, but I signed up anyway and eventually decided on making my grandma's cinnamon rolls. Long story short, the tray sold out quickly, and for the next three weeks, we had other members of the trip come over on Saturdays to make anywhere from 4-6 trays of cinnamon rolls—all of which sold out. Anyway, the success of the bake sale surprised me and dropped the cost down to less than my favorite pair of headphones 😯: $345. So, in other words: we got a deal.
Bake sale after bake sale brought in enough money to subsidize some of the cost, but the rest came out of the student's own pockets.
Allison already held strong beliefs on abortion, but this trip helped to equip her with more robust and more convincing arguments to stand up for the rights of the unborn. In preparation for this trip, she read some papers, speeches, and articles about abortions, what it means to be pro-life, and the idea that this fight is not a one-time decision but a lifelong battle. These papers helped set the mood for the trip—it got her thinking about why she cares about saving the life of the unborn and why it is important for her to take a stand for the most vulnerable.
Priscilla recalls that she was a young middle schooler when she first learned about abortion.
"I always knew in my head that I should care for these 60 million unborn children. However, this deep-rooted problem in our society had never taken root in my heart until recently, when abortion was presented to me as a reality."
Priscilla goes on to express her regret for not becoming involved in the pro-life cause earlier. She explains that although Clapham has been a wonderful place for her to learn over my middle and upper school years, she can only remember a handful of instances when this issue was discussed at school. Priscilla understands that abortion is a divisive political issue in our society, but she wishes that schools and churches would be more open to discussing this political topic.
These three students found they were welcomed and included in a new community of warriors whose aim is to give voice to the inhumane treatment of human babies. This community of warriors takes aim at the legal system that ruled on a case steeped in controversy and deceit in the hopes of restoring the right to life for every human being–particularly those who cannot advocate for themselves.
And yet, these warriors, although fierce, are fighting this battle in love. There is no hate speech or vitriol to be found in their approach. Instead, what these students found at the March for Life, were men, women, and children gathered from all over the country in a peaceful, vibrant, and joyful pursuit. These warriors know that there is an aftermath that follows abortion, and they know that the women who gather in protest are the victims of a decision that will stay with them for the rest of their lives. They also know that only the power of the Cross is enough to bring absolution and peace and that this is their mandate: to lovingly spread the good news of the gospel to a fallen world.
To see men and women united against the common enemy of abortion ignited a passion in Caleb.
Although I felt pretty under the weather, I did feel inspired to act, and I also felt privileged to be a part of this movement.
The students left the 2020 March for Life energized and educated, having learnt new information to be assimilated into their existing worldviews.
During the speeches held at the March for Life, Caleb was struck by at least two statements. The first was made by Dr. Kendra Kolb. She explained research that determined that a fetus can feel pain on their fingertips and lips as early as seven and a half weeks of pregnancy. Although this was a fascinating new discovery for Caleb, he reasoned that pain should not be the reason we abolish abortion, but that we should rather abolish abortion because a fetus is human. In Caleb's words:
Pain doesn't make us human; it makes us sensitive. We are human by nature of conception.
Caleb learned from Stephanie Gray not to focus on the opposing team's argument but rather to look at the person behind the argument. Listen to what is asked and answer the question they need answered. If the opportunity arises, gently challenge with a question that will lead to the reevaluation of the values an opponent holds. Caleb connected with this thought because he believes that arguments are base, but relationships are deep.
Allison shares her experience:
This trip was very exciting but also a convicting time. It is a sobering thought that so many children have been killed before leaving the womb. But this thought, this truth, is the entire reason for this March: to stand together as one body and declare that we do not agree with the acts that take place inside of Planned Parenthood and other abortion facilities.
Caleb, Priscilla, and Allison are all certain that they will attend this event again in the future, but they are also interested in helping out at local pro-life ministries like Caring Network and 40 Days for Life. Caring Network supports women who face unplanned pregnancies, and 40 Days for Life organizes prayer and counseling outside abortion clinics.
The students would like to leave you with some advice.
95% of biologists, who are cited by the general public as the leading authority on the definition of human life, say that human life begins at conception. Yet, all arguments aside, the issue of abortion is primarily an emotional issue and ought to be approached in a personal way, where emotions can be adequately addressed. This battle is not won in Washington; that's simply where it begins.
Life is sacred, not only to us Christians but also to every American. According to the Declaration of Independence, every American has three unalienable rights, "LIFE, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." These rights are bestowed by their Creator and should be protected by their governments.
One thing that I walked away with is that the fight against abortion is no longer just a fight for the unborn. It is still about that, but on a grander scale, it is a fight against the dehumanization of all peoples. We stand for the unborn, their mothers, and all people who have been seen as less than what they are. Pro-life does not mean we only care about the unborn babies; it means that we care for all life. If I could give one charge to a friend, I would say that it is important to take a stand no matter what the stand looks like for you individually. It may be that you go and March in Chicago or you could march in D.C., you could pray outside an abortion facility, or you have a conversation with a friend who disagrees with you. No matter what it is or how small it seems. The important thing is that you do not sit back and watch. The Fight for Life is well worth fighting for.