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Pro-life students support March for Life on campus, in Washington DC

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Marquette for Life and Campus Ministry held a vigil and march last Friday to support the March for Life in Washington D.C.

The March for Life is an annual rally of pro-life supporters held around the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court case responsible for legalizing abortion in 1973. The vigil occurred the night of Jan. 26, outside of St. Joan of Arc Chapel and was attended by 10 students.

Anna DeMeuse, the vice president of Marquette for Life and junior in the College of Communication, said Marquette’s vigil coincided with a national pro-life prayer at Washington D.C.’s Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

“This vigil is for us to stand in solidarity with them, even though they’re hundreds of miles away, on their vigil and march,” DeMeuse said before the crowd. “We should just keep them in prayer each night for whatever they will face.”

The vigil included prayers, scripture readings and lighting candles. Thomas Wattelet, a freshman in the College of Engineering, said he thought the vigil was an effective and peaceful way to talk about pro-life issues.

“It was very nice to come together to pray for the end of abortion and a more pro-life society,” Wattelet said. “I think the power of prayer is something that needs to be put forth more in America. A lot of things that have been going on in the country have been violent, and prayer is a way you can come together peacefully.”

On Friday morning, about 30 students and faculty members marched around campus with pro-life signs. The march was designed to coincide with D.C.’s March for Life and included stops with religious and social significance, including the Jesuit Residence and St. Joan of Arc chapel.

Steve Blaha, the assistant director of Campus Ministry, said the march complements Marquette’s religious roots. “As a Catholic and Jesuit university, the faith of our university holds that all persons are made in the image and likeness of God,” he said. “Our march today is really about the needs of the unborn and other various realities and threats facing our human family.”

Zachary Wierschem, junior in the College of Business Administration, said he marched to show support for his friends that participated in the national march.

“I feel like we’re in the minority,” Wierschem said. “Even though we’re a Catholic university, many people are pro-choice.”

Wierschem said his passion for the issue comes from his family. “My sister is adopted, so my family is very pro-life,” he said.

Carmen White, the president of Marquette for Life and senior in the College of Arts & Sciences, attended the march in D.C. with 16 other Marquette students. The trip was co-sponsored by Marquette for Life and Campus Ministry. It was White’s sixth time participating in the march, dating back to trips in high school. The group stood close to the Washington Monument and listened to Vice President Mike Pence talk about the Trump administration’s plan to expand pro-life legislation.

White said it was great to see the consistently high number of participants throughout the years.

“There (are) still hundreds of thousands of people going,” she said. “The march goes beyond abortion. It’s about the rights of all human life. We also marched for the rights of the homeless, immigrants, the elderly and the disabled.”

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