Campus News

‘Students for Life’ march in anti-abortion protest

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Braving below-freezing temperatures, five Bethel College students joined roughly 500,000 other demonstrators in Washington D.C. for the March for Life on Friday, Jan. 25. The march is a peaceful protest in which pro-life advocates walk from the National Mall to the Supreme Court. “I don’t think I actually realized how many people were there until we got to the top of Capitol Hill,” freshman Kara Walterhouse said. “I couldn’t even see the end of the group.” The five students are members of Students for Life, an anti-abortion group that meets on campus. The trip was organized by Joseph Rasbaugh, who has now participated in the march for five years. In years past, Rasbaugh attended the protest with his church. This year, the Bethel students rode up on a charter bus with his church. “Every year it’s just kind of a renewal for that fire-that passion of mine,” Rasbaugh said, adding that his favorite part of this year’s march was seeing the other Bethel students attend for the first time. The group held a sign that said, “Be a life saver. Vote pro-life,” and showed a picture of a baby framed in a life-saver. They later saw their sign on Fox News, according to Brittany Burk, a junior at Bethel. Burk said that she thinks society is “numb” to the issue of abortions, and she enjoyed seeing people from all ages come to the demonstration. She added that abortions can have a lot of negative emotional ramifications, and not just on women. “We typically think of it as a women’s issue, but it’s not,” Burke said. “It comes from both sides.” Angela Cornell, a senior at Bethel, said she has dreamed of going to the March for Life since she was 12-years-old. She added that she’d become discouraged in recent years, feeling like there was nothing she could do, since she is only one person. She drew encouragement from the fact that so many demonstrators represented her generation. According to Cornell, it was announced that 400,000 of the marchers were under the age of 20. “Abortion’s days are numbered,” Cornell said. “There’s no way it’ll last another generation.” Walterhouse said the side of the abortion topic that she is most passionate about involves babies who are aborted because they will likely have a disability. Her mother works with students with disabilities. “It breaks my heart to know that there are babies being aborted for their parents’ convenience,” Walterhouse said. Walterhouse enjoyed listening to a speech given by pro-life advocate Rick Santorum. Santorum ran for President in the 2012 election, but lost the Republican Party’s nomination to Mitt Romney. Freshman Dustin Stucky decided to participate after hearing of the March for Life from members of Students for Life. He stressed that beyond the group’s protest against abortion, they also bonded as a group. “It was just meaningful to be a part of that,” Stucky said. The group marched for over two hours in temperatures that dropped as low as 19 degrees. “I couldn’t feel my legs anymore,” Rasbaugh said. Cornell added that she was “genuinely concerned” for their well-being in the frigid conditions. This year’s March for Life marked the 40th anniversary of Roe V Wade, the landmark Supreme Court decision that paved the way for abortion to be made legal. Rasbaugh said that he believes Christians should be doing more to stamp out abortion. “I feel like it’s a holocaust happening in our country, and Christians are just letting it happen.”
Students for Life members (from left) Angie Cornell, Dustin Stucky, Brittany Burk, Kara Walterhouse and Joseph Rasbaugh display their signs in Washington D.C. on Friday, Jan. 25.
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