Pro-life advocates from the Milwaukee area are taking their message to Washington D.C. for Friday’s annual march. It’s been 44 years since the Roe versus Wade Supreme Court decision that affirmed women’s right to have abortions. WUWM’s caught up with a few people headed to D.C. to ask them about their hopes.
It was around 5 p.m. on Wednesday when families -men, women and children - began arriving at St. Mary’s church in Elm Grove. It was the meeting point for the 90 or so people waiting for two busses that would take them to Washington D.C. for the annual March for Life. Jade Hrdi works for Pro-Life Wisconsin; it organized the trip. She says the one thing people may not know about the pro-life movement is that young people are helping to lead it.
“They room together at the hotel, they hang out together over the weekend. It is definitely a youth centered movement. The pro-life movement is younger than traditional protest movements have been. It’s a great thing to see them getting involved,” Hrdi says.
One of the young people making the trip is 17-year-old Emily Czaplewski. She says that while her family set the basis for what she believes, it began to take on a new meaning when she turned 12. She started a youth group.
“We make baby hats and booties and blankets and different things. Just like knit or crochet or so. And my friends and I would get together and do that and we’d donate them to pregnancy help centers,” Czaplweski says.
Czaplewski says she’s hopeful her generation will see an end to abortions but she says it’s going to take more than a change in law.
“What we really need to start doing is changing hearts and minds where we are and with the people that we can reach. Because to change laws, that’s great and we need to do that, but that’s not going to mean much if we haven’t reached out to people who are in these crisis situations and help to change their minds and hearts,” she says.
Sixteen-year-old New Berlin resident Brendan Sanchez says one way he works change minds is through what people in the pro-life movement call sidewalk counseling.
“It’s tough because a lot of the people who are suffering from unplanned pregnancies are actually a lot younger than you’d think. And it really helps that they know that they know that there’s somebody who they can talk to who’s about their own age. They often get scared off by older people who are telling them what they should do. So it really helps to have a lot of youth give witness and it shows that we really are the pro-life generation,” Sanchez says.
Across the country, abortions are at the lowest levels since Roe versus Wade. Still, abortion opponent Dan Miller say they will continue to fight until the practice is outlawed.
“These people that are in the wombs of mothers across the land are persons just like us. The only difference between us and them is time and nourishment,” Miller says.
Pro-lifers recently got a bit of boost by President Donald Trump.
One of the first things he did after taking office was to reinstate a Reagan-era policy. It bans American aid to groups that discuss abortion as an option, in other countries. Since 1973, the U.S. has prohibited the use of tax dollars for abortion services everywhere.