Hello there, my name is Tess Laurentius and I am a senior at Ladywood High School. I have been lucky enough the past two years to travel with St. Michael's Youth Group to Washington DC for the March for Life. It has been one of the most impactful experiences in my life.
I grew up in private school education, and have always been taught that abortion was wrong. I went into the public school system my freshmen year, and was challenged to uphold my beliefs. I was a minority in many situations, and it was difficult to stay true to my values. Luckily, I joined my youth group junior year of high school, and was finally able to meet a group of young students who strongly believe in the pro-life message. I expanded my knowledge of the issue, and deepened my faith through research. By becoming informed about abortion, I was finally able to see the true harm it causes. I learned many things that both shocked and interested me. Before this, I had no concept of what was going on in a woman's life that would make her feel that a child could be a burden. Through my research, I was able to sympathize with those women and accept that this issue affects a lot of people.
While I was discovering all of this through research, my youth group was planning their annual trip to the March for Life. Every January they take about thirty students from various high schools on a large tour bus for a ten hour trip to Washington, D.C. I had mixed emotions of excitement and nerves. I had no idea what to expect, but I knew my journey was for more than myself. I kept reminding myself of the true cruelty abortion has, and how my voice was for those who couldn't speak.
When we were there, we attended the annual Mass and pro-life rally at the convention center. It was jam packed with youth who all supported life. It was incredible to see such a large group of people who were all fighting for the same cause. There were many speakers, and a very powerful Mass which kicked off the actual March. I will never forget squeezing through the crowds, bumping into many people, and being reminded that I shared a common factor with all of them: we were all pro-life advocates.
As we poured out into the streets, the March began. It was thrilling to see this mass of human beings all revved up to support the unborn. There were many banners and signs that represented an immense amount of places people traveled from. We were from all over the country, young and old. The energy was magnificent, people were chanting, praying, singing, and crying. I was overwhelmed, but in a very positive way. I realized that no matter what force stands in front of the fight for life, God's love will overcome. There could be no instance that a child should be murdered.
I was affirmed in this belief when I saw a group of inspiring people cross my path. The women and men had some way been affected by abortion. There were signs that said, "I am a child of rape," "I regret my abortion," and "I regret my lost fatherhood." The rawness of those signs rendered me speechless. Those women and men had incredible courage and the love of God to be able to walk in that March. I was proud that they were able to share their story, hoping others would realize the same.
The March finally concluded, and as I looked back from the top of the hill, I saw the true unity of the pro-life movement. I saw God's love in action, and I had my faith restored in humanity.
I returned again this year on the same March, and felt nearly the exact same feelings. I know the pro-life movement is gaining respect, and more people are realizing the importance of this issue. I would love to return again to the March for Life to fight for and support the unborn children whose lives are at stake. However, I hope that one year will be my last year. I hope that my children and my grandchildren will not have to do the same, and that abortion will finally be recognized as a true crime against humanity. This is my generation's issue that we have to overcome, and I know with the growing support it can be done.