Three student stories from the March for Life

Record breaking numbers from the Notre Dame community took to Washington, D.C. for the 45th March for Life. Over 1,000 students, faculty, and staff loaded up onto 19 charter buses the night before the march for a 12-hour journey to the nation’s capital.

This year, in a historic show of support for the March for Life, President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence addressed the Rally via live video from the Rose Garden of the White House. Trump is the first U.S. president to have done so.

In his speech, he outlined a number of pro-life policies championed by his administration, including reinstating the Mexico-City Policy, which bans taxpayer funds from being used for abortions abroad, nominating Justice Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, and allowing states to defund Planned Parenthood of Title X dollars.

Sophomore Jack Ferguson was invited to attend the live address in the Rose Garden along with three other members of the Notre Dame contingent. He described to the Rover his experience hearing the President speak.    

“The chance to visit the Rose Garden was a special opportunity to show this administration that Notre Dame is a pro-life university and proudly represent our school’s commitment to human life,” Ferguson said. “The president’s address was excellent in speech – I hope and pray that he is able to follow through in deed, policy, and example.”

In addition to the President and Vice President, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan spoke live at the Rally. The speaker lineup also included other members of congress, Pam Tebow, the mother of Tim Tebow, NFL star Matthew Birk, and Sister Bethany Madonna of the Sisters of Life.  

In order to make the trip go off without a hitch, a great deal of work was put into planning and organizing beforehand, according to senior Patrick Koehr, the leader of Notre Dame Right to Life’s March for Life team.

“The amount of logistics my team and I had to work out was quite a lot due to achieving our goal [of 1,000 attendees].”

The logistical triumphs of Koehr and his team included transporting the 1,000 students from South Bend to Washington, D.C., arranging three housing locations (St. Agnes, St. Charles Parish, and Marymount University), and coordinating with 14 McDonald’s locations, where the students changed and ate breakfast Friday morning.

Koehr, who has attended the March every year of his life including, he proudly shares, while in his mother’s womb, was thankful for the opportunity to lead the Notre Dame marchers regardless of the work it entailed.

“In the end, it was all worth it when seeing all 1,000 people marching together for this great cause. I think the Mass at St. Agnes [parish] with 1,100 people that I was able to speak to was the greatest triumph.”

President of Notre Dame Right to Life Sarah Drumm reflected on the trip as well, calling it an “incredible year” for the March: “Our hope is one day, we don’t have to march for life, that abortion will no longer exist in our nation. But for now, we will continue to send hundreds of our students to D.C. to march for life.”

Drumm did mention one disappointing part of the March, however: a lack of media coverage from mainstream media outlets.

“I was a little disappointed to see we only got about six minutes of major media coverage. This happens every year, so I’ve come to expect it, but I hope that someday the March gets the attention that thousands of people coming to D.C. for a single cause deserves.”

Regardless of the level of media coverage, though, Drumm said, “It was refreshing to see so many students make the journey to D.C. It shows that our generation really does care.”

The March for Life, the largest annual pro-life demonstration in the world, has been held every year since the Supreme Court ruled in companion cases Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton in 1973. The two cases together effectively legalized abortion through all nine months of pregnancy in the United States. To this day, hundreds of thousands of Americans, and even a handful of pro-lifers from other nations, make their way to the capital each January to march for the protection of human life beginning at conception.

Matthew Connell is a junior marketing major. He is known by friends for abbreviating words that don’t have abbreviations and eating quesaritos from Taco Bell on the reg. You can contact him at