Fontbonne student carries image of special girl in her heart on the march

LISA JOHNSTON | lisajohnston@archstl.org

When Andrea Artz went on the March for Life this year, she carried in her heart the image of a special little girl.

Artz, 21, is a senior at Fontbonne University. The summer before her freshman year, Artz became pregnant. It was not something she was expecting, but with the support of her family and friends, Artz made the courageous decision to place her daughter, Rosie -- who was born on Jan. 22, 2010, the anniversary of Roe vs. Wade -- into the arms of a loving adoptive family.

Artz and four others from Fontbonne went on the march as part of the Generation Life pilgrimage, sponsored by the archdiocesan Catholic Youth Apostolate.

"I feel like this March meant so much more to me, because Rosie turned 3 on Tuesday, and here I am marching because I believe that every baby just like her deserves life," said Artz. "Being able to come with people that I know share in the same things that I do, that has made a big difference."

Artz said she's always been pro-life, but until recently, she hadn't done much outside of the march to help bring an end to abortion. That's changed since she's had a child. Two years ago, Artz and several friends helped restart the Students for Life club at Fontbonne. They've participated in the 40 Days for Life prayer campaign outside the Planned Parenthood abortion facility in St. Louis. They've also held a bake sale to start raising funds for a pregnant and parenting assistance fund they hope to get started at the university.

"When I came in previous years, I felt like I was pro-life," she said. "I wanted abortion to end but I didn't have this urge to end it. The march was the main thing I did."

Atrz had time to reflect on that, as she and the 1,600 others on the Generation Life pilgrimage processed out of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, after the closing Mass Jan. 26. All were given glow sticks as they processed out of the basilica to represent themselves as beacons of light, committed to ending abortion.

"This light represents making efforts to end abortion 365 days a year and not just here" at the march, Artz said.

"Our Students for Life group has already talked about some events we want to have," she said. "If anything ... we're so much more passionate now" after being on the march. "Here we are on this trip and people are inspiring us to do more. We already said we're going to clipbpoard people on campus and ask, 'What is your view on abortion?' We want to get people talking about it."

To contribute to the pregnant and parenting assistance fund at Fontbonne, send checks to Students for Life, attn: Sarah Boul, 6800 Wydown Blvd. St. Louis, MO 63105.

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