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Pro-life marchers display signs. Andrew Dixon | Collegian

Hillsdale College for Life will bring more than 100 stu­dents to the national March for Life in Wash­ington, D.C., on Jan. 21.

“Our country was founded on the prin­ciple that all men are created with unalienable rights: ‘life, liberty, and the pursuit of hap­piness,’” Hillsdale College for Life pres­ident and senior Hannah Stinnett said. “The first among these rights is life.”

Beginning in 1974, the year after Roe v Wade legalized abortion, the March for Life is the largest annual pro-life march. Church groups, stu­dents, politi­cians, and activists from across the country descend on the nation’s capital to march, pray, and rally for the repeal of Roe v. Wade

Around 110 Hillsdale stu­dents will attend, according to Stinnett, along with stu­dents from the pro-life group Protect Life Michigan. Two buses will leave campus on Jan. 20, bound for D.C. Upon arrival, Hillsdale stu­dents will stay overnight at the Kirby Center, march on Jan. 21, and then return to campus the morning of Jan. 22.

Stu­dents will pay $70 each to attend, Stinnett said.

“This is around half the cost that it takes to charter the buses,” she said.

The remaining cost is covered by Right to Life Michigan, HCFL fundraising efforts, and the Student Fed­er­ation, according to Stinnett.

On Nov. 18, the fed­er­ation allotted $7,020 for the March for Life, according to Student Fed­er­ation Vice Pres­ident and junior Anthony Iat­ropoulos. The March for Life is typ­i­cally one of the body’s main spending items, Iat­ropoulos said.

“There was absolutely strong support,” he said. “The Student Fed­er­ation rec­om­mended raising the price per indi­vidual, so we just had to take that into consideration.”

The March for Life attracts high-profile speakers including former Pres­ident Donald Trump, media per­son­ality Ben Shapiro and House Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy, who have all addressed rally-goers in the past. 

This year’s rally will also feature reli­gious leaders Catholic Priest Fr. Mike Schmitz and His Emi­nence Arch­bishop Elpi­dophoros of America. It will also include New Jersey Rep. Chris Smith, Louisiana Rep. Juila Letlow, actor Kirk Cameron and musician Matthew West. 

Sophomore John Ritchey said he has attended every annual March for Life since he was in sixth grade.

“It’s a great witness to speak up for the unborn,” he said. “Not only that, but to be with so many people who may not agree with you about every­thing else– religion, whatever– they all unite against this common thing,” Ritchey said. “It’s really beautiful.”

Stinnett said stu­dents have a “moral imper­ative” to protect humans at all stages of life, including the unborn.

“The bio­logical humanity and philo­sophical equality of the unborn demands the action of those who believe in liberty and justice for all,” Stinnett said. “We march because we cannot remain silent or inactive while our country con­dones the killing of innocents.”

Stinnett called abortion “the largest genocide known to man.”

“600,000 abor­tions are per­formed in the United States each year. The CDC reports that there are 195 abor­tions per 1,000 live births,” Stinnett said. “This means that about 16% of this nation’s children are killed each year.”

Iat­ropoulos said he thinks advo­cating for the pro-life cause is “extremely important work.”

“I’ve seen the sta­tistics from stu­dents around here about how many lives are lost in the process annually since we’ve had Roe v. Wade, and it’s crazy,” Iat­ropoulos said.

The unborn are dif­ferent from born humans in several ways, but this doesn’t make them unhuman, according to Stinnett.

“The only four factors dis­tin­guishing the unborn from the born are their size, level of devel­opment, envi­ronment, and degree of depen­dency,” Stinnett said. “These dif­fer­ences are real, but they do not dis­qualify the unborn from the human family.”

Ritchey said he appre­ciates hearing from those who have been impacted by abortion.

“I was raised Catholic, so I’ve always been against abortion,” Ritchey said. “Hearing those who’ve had a change of heart after being affected by abortion is really cool to see.”