By Celine Klosterman
Michael Moehlenhof calls President Barack Obama’s election a “downer for life,” but two days after the president’s inauguration, Moehlenhof and others gave the pro-life movement a jolt of energy.
The graduate student at St. Ambrose University in Davenport was one of many in the Davenport Diocese who took part in the March for Life in Washington, D.C., Jan. 22. The date marked the 36th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized abortion.
“It’s a great witness to life every year,” said Moehlenhof, who’s attended the march five times. A Catholic originally from Peoria, Ill., he traveled to the march with three others from Ambrosians for Life and College Republicans at St. Ambrose. They joined hundreds of thousands of others in praying and listening to pro-life politicians and speakers from various religious communities.
“When you looked in front of you, you could see thousands of people, and when you looked behind, you could see thousands more,” said Emily Burke, 12, a seventh-grader at St. Joseph School in DeWitt.
“The highlight probably for all of us was being among the 300,000 people all there for the same cause, and hearing from pro-life legislators,” said Sue Miller. A member of Ss. Mary & Mathias Parish in Muscatine, she attended the march with sons Jacob, Peter and Patrick to show support for pro-life causes following President Obama’s election.
She said Rev. Luke Robinson of Quinn Chapel A.M.E. Church in Frederick, Md., “was very inspirational” in a speech that urged the president to work to change U.S. abortion policies.
“It added so much meaning to the trip knowing that we now have the most pro-abortion president ever who has vowed to sign the Freedom of Choice Act that would take away all pro-life advances made since Roe v. Wade,” said Andrew Rauenbuehler, 17. Director of Muscatine Right to Life and member of Ss. Mary & Mathias, he traveled with a group including about 28 people from Right to Life and St. James Parish in Washington.
The trip’s biggest highlight, said Rauenbuehler, was a three-hour Mass with “thousands” of Catholics in the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington the evening before the march. “It was awesome to see all the religious men and women, so many of whom are so young, wearing their habits and robes — something you don’t really see in the Diocese of Davenport.”
Said Miller, “It was a very inspiring and moving experience.”
Also during the week of the march, Moehlenhof and fellow St. Ambrose students attended a Students for Life of America conference at Catholic University of America. The Jan. 24 conference was “phenomenal,” he said. “I thought it was a great way to revitalize and get ideas for Ambrosians for Life.”