Students for Life raise their voices in D.C. (Nadir Hassan column)

The Students for Life group at Northwestern was formed in October, but it hadn’t really arrived until this weekend.

The group took a journey to Washington for a march to protest abortion on the occasion of the 31st anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Representing the group, Weinberg senior Katie Althen, Medill freshman Marian Wang and I set off towards South Bend, Ind., on Thursday to hitch a ride with the 200-strong contingent the University of Notre Dame was sending to the nation’s capital.

And so began a weekend that tested our commitment, passion and tempers. It was a journey we felt we had to make to express our disdain for current abortion laws and ensure our voice was heard.

We might have been consumed with ideological fervor, but basic planning was sadly lacking. Having forgotten that Notre Dame follows Eastern Standard Time, we missed the bus and were stuck in the boondocks of South Bend with no way of reaching our destination.

After an internal debate that lasted exactly 10 seconds, group President Althen rented a car and pledged to make the ten hour journey to Washington. For her there was no compromising because she felt it was crucial to “set the trend for future members.”

Althen, the only licensee, drove 10 hours straight to ensure that the first NU anti-abortion group would be represented at the march.

The march got off to a stirring start with inspirational words from President Bush via a telephone address. Having expected a small crowd of religious leaders and middle-aged women, I was shocked to see Constitution Avenue bought to a standstill by a mass of 75,000 people, many of whom were in their teens.

Anti-abortion advocates from every college made their presence felt with banners that asked us to “Rock 4 Life” and the simple but brilliant “Abortion is Mean.”

With the ‘NU Students for Life’ banner flying high, I felt total exhilaration for the three hours of the march. It was three hours of vociferous chanting and silent prayer for the life of every unborn child. And a little bit of sightseeing thrown in too.

We might not overturn Roe v. Wade in a day, and the Students for Life group might not receive T-status from the Associated Student Government soon, but we had registered our disapproval with the status-quo.

Another 12-hour journey and we were back at NU, with the sounds of the march still ringing in our ears. There was a feeling of newfound satisfaction among the group because this trip marked a shift from meetings and fliering to actual activism.

What made all the tribulations of the trip seem trivial was the belief that every individual can bring about positive change. It is this belief that brings together groups as disparate as Northwestern Opposing War And Racism and Students for Life and makes them equally important to the NU community.

A road trip, a protest march and the forming of new friendships. The Students for Life’s trip to Washington was indeed a celebration of life.

Nadir Hassan is a Weinberg sophomore. He can be reached at [email protected]