By Jessica Easthope
For those who flock to the capital every year for March for Life, choosing life is a passion. Having turned their belief system into a way of living and connecting with others, marchers each have a story. Some are there for political purposes, others religion, but some have been uniquely affected by abortion, like Meredith Dean-Dickson and her 17-year-old daughter, Mateya.
“I was approached by two separate people both of them offering to pay to abort my baby because they said it would ruin my life to have a child and that’s the opposite of what it did, this girl saved my life,” Dean-Dickson said.
At the age of 19, Dean-Dickson found herself pregnant and scared. Not knowing how she would care for a baby, she never let her fears steer her away from what she knew was right. Dean-Dickson was not raised Catholic, but as a convert, she’s proud that abortion never crossed her mind.
“I can’t imagine my life choosing that, it was never even an option and it never even crossed my mind and I’ve never even thought about what my life would be like if I chose that because it was never on the table,” Dean-Dickson said.
Now Mateya has joined her mother on a pro-life journey, holding tight to the beliefs she’s had to fiercely defend as a teenager in 2020.
“I get judged day-to-day because of it, I have to keep my opinion down, I don’t get to speak about it because everyone is pro-choice even people that don’t know anything about it,” Mateya said.
Among the masses were young people, who, just like Mateya, are making their voices heard for themselves and for those who can’t.
In 2018, 14-year-old Ayden O’Malley was on her way to March for Life from Nokomis, Ill. with a group of people from her diocese. She was ready to march for her pro-life beliefs but Ayden’s trip and life were tragically cut short.
Two women, Amanda Hoffman and Jill Driscoll sprung into action, calling 9-1-1 and performing CPR, but it was too late. As the group’s bus pulled into the parking lot of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Ayden stopped breathing.
“She had an undetected AVM that ruptured in her brain that eventually took her life several days later here in D.C.,” Driscoll said.
With Ayden’s name worn proudly on their sweatshirts, the group made the yearly trip and will continue to do so, marching for life in her honor.
“Every year we come out to the March, the group is younger and younger and now we have another young angel looking out for us,” Hoffman said.
“It goes to show it doesn’t matter how old you are you can have beliefs and stand up for what’s right and she was doing that,” Driscoll said.
Although pro-lifers have plenty of support the debate surrounding abortion is more complicated than ever; however, their message remains simple – choose life.