My March for a Consistent Ethic of Life

photo of Ana Ruiz at the March for Life

Ana Ruiz SFS’22

Growing up Catholic, my values and beliefs were usually handed down to me by my parents– arriving at Georgetown, I had more time to reflect on the issues that mattered to me personally and decide how I would live out my faith through political advocacy. One of the movements I grew most passionate about was the pro-life movement. Through GU Right to Life, theology classes, the Initiative on Catholic Social Thought, and Catholic Ministry, I learned that being pro-life as a Catholic does not mean holding being only anti-abortion: on the contrary, being pro-life meant standing up for the consistent ethic of life, something which all Catholics are called to live out in light of the social doctrine of the church. It means caring and respecting the dignity of life in all stages, including the womb but also near-death and everything in between. It means to care especially for vulnerable life, including babies at risk of abortion, those on death row, and refugees and migrants around the world.

When I arrived at the March for Life this past January, I was happy to find that the consistent ethic of life was still being upheld by the thousands of lay Catholics, priests, brothers, seminarians, friars and nuns from all different religious orders and from all around the country (and the world) standing up for all pro-life causes. I ended up marching with a group from St. Jude’s Syro-Malabar Catholic Church which my friend’s family belongs to. What brought tears to my eyes was that the young people of that parish–from six to sixteen years old–were the ones holding beautiful handmade signs speaking to the dignity of life and leading the Rosary as we walked along Constitution Avenue. It made me realize that our group of devoted pro-life Georgetown students was not alone in fighting for the consistent ethic of life, though it may seem that way sometimes. Seeing laypeople of all backgrounds, priests, and nuns from every religious order, the large turnout of young people, and people of other religions only reassured me that this cause is deeply rooted in faith and is necessary under Catholic Social Teaching to speak up for. 

I found that the causes I was passionate about were critical for me to stand up for at the march. I did not attend the March for Life for political reasons, but for religious reasons. For me, my faith is and will always be the basis for my responsibility to stand up for the dignity of all human life, from conception to natural death and everything in between, including a cause that is close to my heart: immigration. That is why I was carrying a different poster than most people– because I wanted to make sure that the issues within the Catholic ethic of life I believe in, which includes standing up for vulnerable immigrants and refugees around the world, were represented simultaneously with the ever-important fight against abortion. The consistent ethic of life demands that issues like these go hand in hand.

That is also why I attended and volunteered at the Cardinal O’Connor Conference: hearing breakout sessions from the abolition of the death penalty to the prevalence of ending human trafficking and the outlawing of abortion gave me hope that the consistent ethic of life is a cause worth fighting for and one that is most pertinent in today’s world. Through both the March for Life and the O’Connor Conference, I was given a wonderful opportunity to put my Catholic faith into action in the most holistic way I know: standing up for the dignity of all human life, from children in the womb to immigrants and refugees in our country and around the world.

by Ana Ruiz

Anna Ruiz is a sophomore in the School of Foreign Service.