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Hillsdale stu­dents at the ‘March for Life’ last weekend in Wash­ington, D.C. Josephine von Dohlen | Col­legian

From the Wash­ington Mon­ument down the National Mall, hun­dreds of thou­sands of people peace­fully marched bearing signs expressing pro-life sen­ti­ments in Wash­ington, D.C., Jan. 27.

Approx­i­mately 85 Hillsdale College stu­dents and grad­uates par­tic­i­pated in the 44th annual March for Life, protesting the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion in the United States.

Crowds chanted “Pro-life,” as Sem­i­narians and priests praid the rosary. Church groups sang hymns, while stu­dents carried signs as they marched down Con­sti­tution Avenue in the 42-degree, windy weather.

Pro­fessor of German Fred Yaniga, Hillsdale Stu­dents for Life’s faculty adviser, has attended six trips to D.C. for the march. But this march was dif­ferent, he said.

“The element of hope has always been there, but the reality today was that we will likely be able to change things,” Yaniga said. “That is the biggest dif­ference from all marches.”

Sophomore Kathleen Russo, Hillsdale Stu­dents for Life events coor­di­nator, walked alongside her fellow peers bearing the Hillsdale College Stu­dents for Life Banner. Several marchers rec­og­nized Hillsdale’s name throughout the duration of the march, giving thumbs-up and shouting, “Go, Hillsdale!”

“I felt a little bit of awe,” Russo said. “You can’t see how many people are marching with you, because of the crowds and all the people that have been streaming past you.”

A rally prior to the march spon­sored by the March for Life orga­ni­zation fea­tured several pro-life speakers. Most notably, Vice Pres­ident Mike Pence addressed those attending the rally with the message that “life is winning again in America.”

“It is no more evident in any way than in the his­toric election of a pres­ident who stands for a stronger America, a more pros­perous America, and a pres­ident who I proudly say stands for the right to life, Pres­ident Donald Trump,” Pence said.

The march comes days after Trump signed an exec­utive order rein­stating the Mexico City Policy, which pre­vents foreign aid funding orga­ni­za­tions pro­viding abor­tions worldwide, on Jan. 23. Fol­lowing the president’s lead, the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives passed a per­manent extension of the Hyde Amendment, pro­hibiting tax­payer funded abor­tions the next day.

“This admin­is­tration will work with Con­gress to end tax­payer funding of abortion and abortion providers,” Pence said. “And we will devote those resources to health care ser­vices for women across America.”

This year’s march set a record of atten­dance, according to the March for Life’s Facebook page.

Junior Nainoa Johsens is spending the semester in Wash­ington, D.C., through the Wash­ington-Hillsdale Internship Program. He is interning with the Susan B. Anthony List, a pro-life orga­ni­zation ded­i­cated to the election of pro-life leg­is­lators, and has spent the past few weeks in prepa­ration for the march for Life by attending events with pro-life leg­is­lators who traveled to the capital for the event.

“There’s a lot more excitement about this year’s march, because of the new direction for the country,” Johsens said. “We expected the largest par­tic­i­pation thus far.”

Because of the snow that began to sweep over the city of Hillsdale just hours before the scheduled departure of the group to D.C., the two bus­loads of stu­dents arrived at the Allan P. Kirby Jr. Center for Con­sti­tu­tional Studies and Cit­i­zenship later than expected, so stu­dents did not attend church ser­vices prior to the rally and march.

Nonetheless, stu­dents proudly marched, holding signs with the words, “We are the Pro-Life Gen­er­ation” and “#Life­Counts.”

“So many kids want to come and do this, and they don’t get much out of it for them­selves,” Russo said. “At the end of the day, this is a demon­stration of what Hillsdale teaches us.”