By Megan Hammond
It wasn’t your normal day at the mall. At this mall—the National Mall in Washington, DC—more than half a half million people gathered on Friday, January 25, not to shop, but to march. I joined hundreds of Lutherans, including LCMS President Matthew Harrison, at the National March for Life. We united on behalf of the weak, the defenseless, and the unborn on the 40th anniversary of the 1973 Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade that legalized abortion in the United States.
At the March for Life, I met people from all over the United States who made the trip to DC and braved the bone-chilling cold of that January day. We heard speakers from both political parties and many faiths, of whom shared a common cause: to preserve and protect God’s gift of life. Some were women who told us of the terrible regret they experienced following their choice to have an abortion; others shared stories of hope in the face of tragedy. One speaker I’ll never forget was a young man who was conceived as the result of rape. This young man’s mother courageously gave birth to him; he now speaks out to defend life, even “unwanted” life.
As I listened to each story, I watched as the National Mall began to fill with people. It wasn’t just me and my fellow Lutherans. Soon we were surrounded by people standing shoulder to shoulder as far as my eyes could see. They were young, middle-aged, and old from almost every religion and nationality. Many were high school or college students who spoke about the devastating effects of abortion on our generation and carried signs like mine, “I am the pro-life generation.” After the speeches ended, we began to make our way toward the United States Supreme Court building—the site of the Roe v. Wade decision forty years ago. We slowly and prayerfully walked past the museums and Senate office buildings along Constitution Avenue. As snow started to fall, we sang hymns like “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God,” “Beautiful Savior,” and “I Know That My Redeemer Lives.” Our group included LCMS pastors, synod officials, and seminary professors, but most were concerned people like me and my mom who traveled a long way to march for life. During the two-hour walk to the steps of the Supreme Court, I could not stop thinking about the babies whose lives have been taken since losing their legal protection in 1973. Although the enormous crowd assembled for the march seemed almost infinite to me, I realized we were miniscule compared to the more than 55 million babies whose lives have ended since Roe v. Wade. The march concluded at the steps of the United States Supreme Court where we joined together in the Lord’s Prayer and silently prayed for an end to abortion.
After we had a chance to thaw out, my mom and I joined my sisters (who work in DC) at the LCMS Life Conference, which was the first one ever. At the conference, I had the opportunity to meet fellow Lutherans, worship with them, and learn from them. The conference speakers shared stories about their involvement in life issues: how Jesus’ love enables them to value and defend life from conception to natural death and how we can share God’s forgiveness with those who have had an abortion.
My sister, Stephanie, who works for the United States Congress to promote and defend international religious freedom, spoke on a panel at the conference. She told us about cases of religious persecution happening around the world, how she has been involved and, most importantly, why she has been involved. “My faith has shaped my concern for human dignity,” Stephanie said. “All life has value.”
That was the message I heard again and again throughout the March for Life and LCMS Life Conference: All life has value. Every single life is precious because it is precious to God. He creates human life in His image, He preserves life—and He sent His one and only Son, Jesus Christ, to redeem and give eternal life to sinners like you and me. There is no life, not even one, beyond His love and care.
My march for life may have started at the mall, but it won’t end there. I am praying that you will join me in Washington, DC next year as we march for life—all life—with the LCMS!
To see more photos of the March for Life, the Life Conference, or learn about LCMS Life ministries, please visit www.lcms.org/life.
Megan Hammond is a high school junior from Weldon Spring, Missouri. In college, she plans to continue advocating for life while pursuing a major in history and a minor in music. Megan also enjoys tennis, piano, choir, and duct-tape crafts. She can be reached at Megan@hammond.net