Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Aisha Sultan: A Mother and Daughter's Pilgrimage to March for Life and Protest Abortion Rights

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Aisha Sultan: A Mother and Daughter's Pilgrimage to March for Life and Protest Abortion Rights

Article excerpt

Sharon Ketchum went with her daughter to the nation's capital to spread the word of God, as she believes it, and to call for an end to abortion in the country.

While such a protest has clear political implication for the law and how it affects others, she describes it as more of an emotional journey for her. It was a chance for her to bond with her 16-year- old daughter, Katelyn, who was attending the March for Life for the second time.

"This was a pilgrimage for my daughter and I," she said. "Hearing the speakers, witnessing how many people feel the same way we do, it was a needed boost to our faith," she said. The March for Life is an annual rally opposing the women's legal right to abortion as decided by the U.S. Supreme Court's Roe vs. Wade ruling in 1973. This year, the speakers included Vice President Mike Pence and came the weekend after nearly 500,000 women marched in Washington in protest of President Donald Trump and in support of women's rights, including access to abortion.

Ketchum and her daughter, who live in Wentzville, left on Wednesday in a caravan of chartered buses taking thousands of area students to the March. The night they arrived in D.C., the group attended a program in which an energetic priest put on a show in the style of late-night talk show host Jimmy Fallon. He even did a lip sync competition with a nun.

"The kids just loved it," Ketchum said. It got more serious when they heard from Melissa Ohden, a well-known speaker among anti- abortion activists. She speaks about her experiences surviving her birth mother's attempted abortion.

The next day, they marched from the Washington Monument to the steps of the Supreme Court building. Ketchum's group found other students from Missouri, and they chanted: "We love babies, yes we do, we love babies, how about you?"

Thousands of teenagers and college students attend the march each year, but the discussion about abortion starts much younger for some. Ketchum said her children probably learned about it in fifth or sixth grade when the parochial school begins teaching about puberty. Children learn about the various ways a fetus can be aborted and the church's stance against it. …

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