Campus News

Bethel College Students and faculty march for life.

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“Pro-women, pro-life! Pro-women, pro-life!”
Photo captured by South Bend Tribune
This cheer rang out in the cold streets of South Bend last Friday, Jan. 27, as hundreds of people marched in front of the South Bend courthouse, as they do every year. The March for Life takes place every year around the anniversary of the passing of Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court case which concluded with the legalization of abortion. Bethel College, as an evangelical Christian school, has many pro-life students and faculty on campus, and there were a few of them present at the march. One such student was freshman Christian ministries major, James Adcock. Adcock’s involvement with the pro-life movement actually stems from his own mother’s involvement with a crisis pregnancy center in his hometown of Knox, Ind. called Bella Vita. I asked Adcock what happened at the march. He said that when he arrived, Adrianne Esquibel, the keynote speaker for the march, was speaking to the crowd about her own experience with abortion. “(She was) talking about her experience with pregnancy and how she wasn't ready,” he said, “and how…it just seemed like everything was going to end if she was going to have this child. But…she knew that she didn't want to end the child's life and trade it in for hers, so she actually talked about…the process of going from abortion-minded to having a mind to give (the child) up for adoption.” I asked Adcock what his reaction to Esquibel’s speech was. “My reaction, personally, I don't know, it's kind of like one of those things where it's hard to put myself in those shoes, because I'll never be pregnant and I'll never have a child...But you can just tell that there are, even when it seems like there's no way out, that there's a way. There's always a way, and God provides that way.” Associate professor of English Christian Davis’ experience getting to the actual rally wasn’t quite as smooth as Adcock’s. “It was pretty unusual,” he said. “The plan that St. Joseph County's Right to Life had put out was that everyone would meet at a place on East Washington at 11:30 for a rally, and then go downtown to the courthouse at noon to protest. I couldn't go because I had a class, so I got there just after noon, and there were only about 20 people there.” Organizers were present, handing out posters, so Davis picked one up and began marching. Soon enough, however, he saw something coming down the street from the north. “…After about ten minutes, a group appears behind a big banner coming down from the north, not from the east where I expected them,” said Davis. “And I kind of go up toward them, and as I can see, there are about 40 people behind the banner. About 20 of them are monks in brown robes (and) sandals. Some of them not even wearing socks, and it was cold that day.” This group was from the Apostolate of Divine Mercy, a local Catholic group dedicated to combatting abortion in the area. The Apostolate actually did much of the legal work required to shut down a local abortion clinic and now focuses primarily on helping women who have chosen to not have abortions. But monks from the Apostolate weren’t the only ones to show up that day. Davis continued with his story. “…Then, about (12:25), I look to the east, and there's another banner coming, and behind that, some of the Knights of Columbus and their fancy suits and hundreds of people with them, coming from the rally. I saw one count from Right to Life that claimed over 600 were there. There were kids from seven different schools that came. So I just thought it was kind of amazing; we had monks from the north and knights from the east, and then hundreds of people who rallied there at the courthouse.” Davis described the environment at the march as excited and happy. “Lots of people were having a good time,” he said. I asked the two demonstrators what they thought the purpose of the March for Life is. “It's definitely not for the women who have abortions...or are thinking about having an abortion,” said Adcock. “…It's more for the authority figures above us who make those decisions, who decide whether abortion is legal or if it's not. If we say that murdering unborn children is legal or if it's the choice of the woman to do what she wants with her body.” “This has been ongoing every year to keep telling the people of the United States...that abortion is unacceptable,” said Davis, “and that it is killing an innocent person, and to make sure that people know that it has not come to be accepted by the society. There are still those of us who stand against it.” I asked both participants what they would say to those who opposed the demonstration. Adcock said, “I would say that I know that what you believe is what you believe because you believe that it's right, and it's not that you're trying to squander me, it's just that you think your opinion is right and it's just in conflict with mine.” “It depends on why they're opponents, of course,” said Davis. “If they're opponents because they believe abortion is acceptable, they have to understand that human life is sacred, and unless you can prove that an unborn child is not a human life, we have to protect it. It's the only way to make sure that our society will protect the rights of all people.” I also asked them what they would say to those hesitant to go next time. “If you care about the value of life, you should be involved,” said Davis. “If you don't, then you don't need to be involved.” I also asked Adcock if he felt the march took a stance, and if so, what stance that was. “Personally, I think I was more of a spectator,” he said. "I think pro-life is more than just the babies that haven't been born yet…So I think that when we say we're pro-life, we need to not just abandon that care and that motivation that we have once they're born. I think that needs to carry out through somebody's life, whether they're immigrants who have (come) illegally into this country, whether they're your next-door neighbor, just treating them like how we're saying how these unborn children should be treated...like they're valuable to God.”
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