Story By Emily S.
“We are the pro-life generation!” — one of the many phrases chanted on Saturday, January 19th at the 5th annual “OneLife LA” Walk For Life. Last year, this march brought together 35,000 pro-life activists of all ages to march for one cause: the right to life for all human beings from conception to natural death.
Around thirty Bruins made an appearance at this year's march. As UCLA bussed their way from the University Catholic Center to downtown LA, freshman Environmental Science major Erica De Guia said, “I am marching because I believe in the value of life… I believe that God doesn’t make mistakes and He puts people on the world so that they can change it.”
“Being pro-life isn’t specifically for Christians or Catholics; it's for everyone! Being pro-life is also being pro-women, and pro-men; being pro-life is being pro-human."
Victoria Rojas, a second-year History major added: “I’m marching today because this is the ultimate way to show what empowerment is: to be there for your children, to advocate for their right to life.” Victoria spoke a little more about how she helped raise her younger sister and the struggles that came with being in charge of a child’s life at a young age: “Although it is a lot of work, watching her grow up has been worth more than anything.”
Sebastian Gomez, a second-year physiology major, spoke on being a pro-life man: "Responsibility and respect are values that I uphold, not only because I am Christian, but because I was raised always to respect women… as men we have to acknowledge the consequences of our actions and hold ourselves accountable for them, no matter how small or large.” Live Action UCLA’s Vice President, Quinn Rickard, expanded on the pro-life male's perspective: “I think that, man or woman, we should learn to protect and preserve life from all stages… there should not be a separation between men and women on this issue.”
The march began at 12:30 on La Placita Olvera on Olvera Street and proceeded through the streets of Downtown LA to Los Angeles State Historic Park. Afterwards, marchers attended a festival with food trucks, live music, booths featuring pro-life non-profits, and celebrity guest speakers. Prominent women of diverse ethnicities spoke about the sanctity of human life, including Karyme Lozano, Lizzie Velasquez, and former Planned Parenthood clinic director Abby Johnson, who quit and became pro-life after assisting with an ultrasound-guided abortion. Planned Parenthood is the United States’ largest abortion provider.
“I’m marching today because this is the ultimate way to show what empowerment is: to be there for your children, to advocate for their right to life.”
The Women’s March, which in its statement of principles supports “open access to safe, legal, affordable abortion,” was scheduled on the same day as One Life LA only a few blocks away. The Women’s March LA’s mission to “bring together people of all genders, ages, races, cultures, political affiliations, disabilities and backgrounds to affirm our shared humanity” seems like it should go hand-in-hand with One Life LA’s message to “unite communities” over “the beauty and dignity of every human life,” but there is a distinct gap in ideologies between OneLife LA and the Women's March because of the controversy of abortion.
According to UCLA student Erica de Guia, the OneLife LA march is especially crucial for women: “This cause directly affects women; men don’t give birth; men don’t have babies in their uteri. Abortions don’t just harm the child; they also harm the person carrying the child emotionally, physically, and spiritually. These effects are not thought about before abortions, because at the moment it is easier to think only about how hard it is to have a child.” She went on to say, “Being pro-life isn’t specifically for Christians or Catholics; it's for everyone! Being pro-life is also being pro-women, and pro-men; being pro-life is being pro-human…in many ways, the people at One Life LA, and the Women’s March are marching for the same things, for our people, for our rights. The ‘gap’ in between is a product of miscommunication and misunderstanding. I think we just have to talk in a kind, civil way to voice our views and talk about it because talking is the only way we are going to get anywhere.”
With its Community Partners such as Harvest Home and FosterAll, OneLife LA hopes to inform potential mothers and families that there are a multitude of local organizations dedicated to affirming human dignity in all stages of life.
Meanwhile, at UCLA, students from the pro-life club, Live Action UCLA, and at the University Catholic Center are eager to help pregnant women any way they can. Through Live Action UCLA’s Pregnant on Campus Initiative, students offer emotional and material support to pregnant women on campus to help them know that they are not alone. Our message to future mothers: “We are here for you always; may you have the courage to face the world with determination and grace.”