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March for Life 2023

March 15, 2023

Liberty University has been organizing trips to the National March for Life for decades, but this year’s march, on Jan. 20, held even more significance as over 500 Liberty students became part of the first march in a post-Roe America, and, for the first time, were chosen to lead off the march and carry the banner.

Junior Summer Smith speaks at the pre-march rally on the National Mall.

This year, march organizers also approached Liberty about selecting a student to speak at the pre-march rally on the National Mall. Junior Summer Smith, president of the Students for Life club at Liberty, took the stage among an impressive lineup of pro-life leaders, including the Rev. Franklin Graham, Tony and Lauren Dungy, and actor Jonathan Roumie (Jesus in “The Chosen”).

Smith addressed the pro-life generation, sharing how her passion to fight for the unborn is a personal one.
“My mom was an 18-year-old senior about to graduate when she found out she was pregnant, and like most women in her situation, didn’t feel prepared or ready to have a child. … It’s a very hard and scary situation, and instead of feeling safe enough to reach out for support, my mom felt afraid and alone. And the reason I am pro-life is because I don’t want anyone to have to go through what my mother went through, and that is why I march today.”

Smith stirred the audience to action with advice for the younger generation to get involved in the pro-life movement, from using their social media accounts to speaking up about abortion with family, friends, and people on campus.

“Get involved at your local pregnancy crisis centers and get involved at your local pro-life chapter,” she said. “If our generation doesn’t step up and care for the child, the mother, and the father, this noble movement and this sacred effort will die. We cannot stand idle or stay silent, so get involved.”

“We only have one life on this earth. One chance to end abortion. One chance to support women like my mom,” she concluded. “I encourage you to stand courageously for truth in love, to see innocent lives protected, and to see abortion abolished in our lifetime.”

The march began between 12th and 14th streets, and Liberty students led over 50,000 participants down Constitution Avenue to the steps of the U.S. Capitol Building. They were joined by Liberty University School of Law Dean Morse Tan.

Senior Riley Ares said Liberty’s increased involvement in the march this year was an example to the world “of what it means to be a voice for the voiceless.”

“God wants us to come to Him with prayer, but He has also gifted us with a country and a Constitution that lets us speak up for the issues we care about,” she said. “The March for Life is an opportunity to act on what God has called us to as well as utilize the resources He’s given us in this nation under God.”

Junior Jesse Hughes said he was in Washington, D.C., when the Supreme Court overruled Roe v. Wade in June, so being back for the march was special.

“There’s still a lot of work left to do in the states. … There’s also work to do to help women, help mothers, help babies both born and unborn who need the help that a pro-life community can provide,” he said. “It’s great to see that people are recognizing that and that we’re coming together to continue marching until we live in an America where abortion is unthinkable.”

The trip was organized by Liberty’s Standing for Freedom Center and LU Send.

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