A contingent from several Monmouth County parishes, along with members of the Red Bank Council, Knights of Columbus, gather on the steps of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception upon their arrival to Washington Jan. 24 to participate in the annual March for Life. Pictured in front are Father James Grogan, pastor of Nativity Parish, Fair Haven, second from right, and Lori LaPlante, pastoral associate in Holy Cross Parish, Rumson. Photo courtesy of Joan Kret
A contingent from several Monmouth County parishes, along with members of the Red Bank Council, Knights of Columbus, gather on the steps of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception upon their arrival to Washington Jan. 24 to participate in the annual March for Life. Pictured in front are Father James Grogan, pastor of Nativity Parish, Fair Haven, second from right, and Lori LaPlante, pastoral associate in Holy Cross Parish, Rumson. Photo courtesy of Joan Kret
"We are making history by standing up for what we believe in,” Abigail Ingram shared.

Ingram, 22, is among the hundreds of youth taking part Jan. 24 with other faithful from across the Diocese in the 2020 March for Life, which last year saw more than 10,000 pro-lifers gathered to make their voices heard as well as listen to a roster of speakers on the National Mall.

Her reflection speaks volumes about the reality of this 47th annual March, which has as its theme, “Life Empowers: Pro-Life is Pro-Woman.”

Photo Gallery: Diocese's faithful on March for Life

Photo Gallery: 47th Annual March for Life, Washington, D.C.

The March for Life Education and Defense Fund explained that the year 2020 marks the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment of the Constitution, which guarantees women the right to vote. It was women suffragists, early pioneers of the feminist movement, who led the movement to pass the 19th amendment. Suffragist leaders like Susan B. Anthony and Alice Paul understood that abortion ends a life and harms women. This history-making march by the pro-life movement reflects a belief that life is an empowering choice for women, babies and society.

Ingram, who is a member of St. Mary of the Lakes Parish, Medford, and a student in Rowan College at Burlington County, is hoping that education, as well as protest, will help to change people’s minds about abortion. “Abortion is murder and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Some people are just uneducated and don’t really know the process of what really happens. So maybe if people are educated, it will change their view on things.”

Like so many before her, Sophia Stack, a seventh-grade student in St. Mary Academy, Manahawkin, and a member of St. Mary Parish, Barnegat, understands that being part of something leads to understanding: “Although I am young, I still want to learn how I can make a difference in preventing abortion. This experience helps me understand something that I am most grateful for. I am adopted from Guatemala and my birth mother gave me up since she couldn’t provide enough for me. Even though she knew that, she wanted me to have a wonderful life even if it meant without her. I’m glad she chose adoption over abortion.”

For Jesse Lugo, a member of Freehold’s St. Robert Bellarmine Co-Cathedral youth group and student in Colts Neck High School, the March for Life is an opportunity to be actively involved. “I firmly believe that abortion is not a good thing. It must end, and that starts with everyone’s involvement. I’m looking forward to seeing the millions of people who wish to aid our cause.” 

Lugo’s mom, Beth McGovern, reflected, “This is my second year making the trip with my son, Jesse. I have wanted to go for so many years, it was time to stop putting it off. In talking and teaching my son about how important it is that we not give in or give up on an end to abortion, it was time for me to put my money where my mouth is and show that stopping our life and making this trip is necessary. Praying for an end to abortion is no longer enough.”

She continued, “Going to a march with several hundred thousand people gives you chills. You cannot come home from this the same. Staying away, not getting involved is no longer an option for me. It’s too important.”

Looking ahead, Ingram offered, “I am hoping that one day we have enough people going [to the march] and enough people to convince all representatives that [abortion] is wrong. I’m hoping one day we actually succeed and one day abortion will be illegal in all states.”