- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 21, 2014

ATCHISON, Kan. (AP) - Representatives of a small college in northeast Kansas will lead the thousands of marchers expected to participate in the March of Life in Washington D.C. this week.

More than 400 students from Benedictine College in Atchison are attending the annual anti-abortion march Wednesday, along with monks, faculty and alumni of the school. Several dozen of them will carry a banner at the front of the march, The Kansas City Star reported (http://bit.ly/19KpoBS ).

The March for Life marks the anniversary of the Roe vs. Wade decision that legalized abortion on Jan. 22, 1973.

The Benedictine group will be joined by about 30 students from Rockhurst University in Kansas City, Emporia State University in Emporia, Kan., and Newman University in Wichita.

Kathryn Brown, a Benedictine junior from Lake Winnebago, Mo., contacted the March for Life president last year to ask if her group could lead this year’s event.

“We’ll be carrying the banner at the front of over half a million pro-lifers from across the country, which we’re so honored about,” said Brown, who is coordinating the trip for Ravens Respect Life.

Benedictine students have participated in the march since 1985, it is the largest group and it travels the farthest distance to participate, said Benedictine College President Stephen Minnis.

“I admire the passion of these young people,” Minnis said. “They believe that abortion is the civil rights issue of the day. They are willing to spend their hard-earned money and take time out of class and spend 48 hours on a bus to be a witness for their beliefs.”

The Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas is sending three buses and 158 people, most of them high school students, said spokeswoman Rose Hammes. The Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese sent four buses and about 200 people, said spokesman Jack Smith.

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Information from: The Kansas City Star, http://www.kcstar.com