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.”