By Tony DeGol
As President of the Cambria-Somerset chapter of Citizens Concerned for Human Life, the upcoming March for Life is not just a professional matter for Ann Poole. It is personal.
Sadly, she and her husband experienced a miscarriage years ago.
“But at that very same time, the doctor came in to tell me that I lost one baby, but unknown to us there was another baby in the womb who was alive and doing fine,” Poole recalled, fighting back emotion. “I prayed to God to spare the life of that child.”
Poole was deeply moved by that experience and determined to be active in the pro-life movement.
She will be among the many Catholics throughout the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown at the 49th annual March for Life in Washington, D.C., on January 21.
Every year, the inspiring, peaceful, vibrant, and joy-filled gathering attracts men, women, and young people from around the country.
Tens of thousands of pro-lifers converge on the National Mall and march on Capitol Hill on the anniversary of the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortion in all 50 states.
This year’s March for Life theme is Equality Begins in the Womb.
“We must recognize that the pre-born child in the womb is also a person with rights to life and liberty and all the pursuits of happiness,” Poole stressed. “You can’t have the pursuit of happiness unless you are living. That certainly is a being inside the womb because it is human, it’s living, it’s unique, and it’s the way we all started out.”
Prior to the actual march, the gathering includes a series of speeches from individuals including elected officials and celebrities.
“It’s very encouraging to hear that people in Washington, D.C., are still very committed to the right to life for the pre-born child,” Poole added.
The crowd – most armed with pro-life signs – is very prayerful, especially as they are walking, she noted.
“It’s a very peaceful, loving march that demonstrates to the country just how committed we are to knowing that each and every person has a right to life starting in the womb,” she stated.
Cristian Ridilla, a member of Holy Name Parish in Ebensburg, has been to the March for Life in the past, and he is looking forward to making the trek again this year.
“It shows that the Catholic community has influenced others of faith to be believers and to follow the Lord and to preserve life and protect it,” he observed.
Poole extends a warm invitation to all Catholics throughout the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown to attend the March for Life. Those interested may visit the websites for the Cambria-Somerset chapter or the Blair chapter of Citizens Concerned for Human Life. The websites contain phone numbers to call to reserve a spot. Poole also suggests checking out the website for the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation for a listing of all bus options throughout the region.
For those who are unable to go, she encourages them to turn to prayer on that day.
“Pray for the life of the pre-born child and the recognition that the person is being made in the image of God, just as you and I,” she reminded.