WASHINGTON — Because she was too young to vote, Kennedy Latham, 17, said she prayed that whoever won the presidential election would be sympathetic to Christian causes.

Now, one week into the Trump administration, “we are getting a lot of support for the pro-life movement,” said Latham.

Latham arrived in Washington with 50 classmates on a school trip planned by her teachers at Father McGivney Catholic High School, a small school in Glen Carbon. She was one of thousands who rallied at the National Mall in a protest they call March for Life. Vice President Mike Pence, counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway and others spoke out against abortion.

“It’s wonderful to bring our young students to experience this and to experience (that) if you want to make a difference in government, you have to make a stand,” said Pastor Chris Comerford, who helped organize the McGivney trip and has attended the annual March for Life every year for the past 20 years.

Patrick Boulanger, 14, was another McGivney student at the march. A high school freshman, Boulanger said this was the first time he had participated in an event like this. It was also his first visit to Washington. He said he was excited to stand with like-minded activists and show that every life counts.

“We still love them,” Boulanger said of the few abortion advocates who protested on the sidelines. “We just hope they will have a change of light and see abortion and other forms of killing for what they truly are.”

Boulanger’s passion for anti-abortion causes started when he was in fourth grade, when his parents took him to a protest outside an abortion clinic in Southern Illinois. After that first experience, Boulanger said that he decided he is against abortion in all instances, even if a woman is raped or faces a health risk in childbirth.

“People say it’s the mother’s choice, but if the kid was still alive at that point, later they would probably say, ‘Yes, I would like to live, please,’” he said.

Rachel Kassing, 17, disagreed and said that if the expectant mother faces a health risk in having the child, then abortion should be an option.

A nationwide Gallup/Newsweek poll last year showed that 79 percent of Americans approve of abortion in at least some cases and 19 percent are opposed to abortion for any reason.

Kassing, a high school senior attending March for Life for the fourth time, said she feels more optimistic this year than she has in years past because of the new Trump administration.

“President Obama used to say abortions should be safe, legal and rare. Well, it hasn’t been rare,” Kassing said, claiming that a third of her generation had been wiped out thanks to abortion. “This year, especially, there’s some give that we could have in the government and in the nation. We could have some real impact on Washington, D.C.”

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