- The Washington Times - Friday, January 18, 2019

The bus carrying some students from Franciscan University in Ohio to Friday’s March for Life in Washington, D.C., got a flat tire overnight. But they came anyway.

“We waited for two hours and then turned around to get a part, but we were going to make it,” said freshman Patrick Senour, part of Students for Life at the Catholic college.

Each year, the school cancels classes for the day so students can make the five-hour drive from Ohio, beginning at midnight, to the nation’s capital for the March for Life, which begins with a speaker lineup in the shadow of the Washington Monument and arrives by early afternoon to the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court.

On Friday morning, some of the 800 students from Franciscan attended Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. Friday’s march begins at noon and is a culmination of a week of events. Buses with green stocking hats emblazoned with “March for Life 2019” rolled into the partially closed nation’s capital beginning Wednesday. Thursday’s events at the event’s headquarters at the Renaissance Hotel downtown featured a youth rally and concert, while nuns holding coffee mingled with a television crew, and members of the Knights of Columbus chatted with passersby at a booth.

“You look at the media and you kind of feel alone and then you realize, wow, there actually are a lot of folks in this movement,” said Claudia Moudatsoso, a freshman at Franciscan. “We really are part of the pro-life generation.”

On Thursday in Congress, a bill to ban federal funding of abortion — making permanent the Hyde Amendment — failed to muster the necessary 60 votes in the Senate. The vote fell mostly along party lines, with Democratic Sens. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania and Joe Manchin of West Virginia voting for the legislation, while Republican Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska voted against the bill.

The morning began at 10 a.m. with a live taping of the Daily Wire’s podcast, the Ben Shapiro Show. Mr. Shapiro, in a black coat on the chilly morning with temperatures in the mid-30s, interviewed Vice President Mike Pence by phone, who assured the cheering crowd that President Trump would continually protect the Hyde Amendment. Mr. Pence will be the headline speaker at a private dinner Friday evening, the March for Life’s concluding event.

The 45th annual March for Life comes near the anniversary of the 1973 Supreme Court Roe v. Wade decision, which legalized abortion nationwide. March for Life organizers said earlier this week that the event would not be affected by the partial shutdown of the federal government.

“We plan to march even if the government shutdown is not yet resolved,” read a statement posted to the group’s website.

No official attendance number is kept, but organizers told The Washington Times it could be as high as 100,000. Past march crowds, such as in 2013, have been estimated at more than 500,000 people.

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