BISMARCK, N.D. (KXNET) — The North Dakota March for Life started nearly three years ago when the national march was canceled due to the pandemic.

Now, it’s being celebrated in October for the first time. It was moved from January to coincide with the Catholic Church’s recognition of October as Respect Life Month.

Hundreds of students and community members from around the state braved the cold to march to the capitol. This year, members of North Dakota Lutherans for Life also joined the march.

Organizer Ed Konieczka hopes that their presence at the capitol is a witness to the love that they have for the community.

“This really isn’t a legal matter, it’s a heart matter,” said Konieczka. “Part of our goal is to enter into dialogue with people and say, ‘The fact for us is that this is a baby, right? This is a baby, this is a human life.’ This is not a political movement; this is a movement of the heart, and it’s a movement out of love. We’re doing everything we can to show that aspect, that, we love babies, we love moms, we love the culture, we love the world around us, we love this community.”

Students from the University of Mary say they’re ready to be the generation to make a change.

“We want to make it known that we are ready to help those mothers, to help those in need, to help those who just need help in life, and that’s really what we’re here for, regardless of the laws in place,” said student Shalae Baumgartner.

“I think with the outcome of people here, it shows the solidarity we have,” said student Reagan Dalton. “No one is alone. We’re here. We’re here and we have a voice, and we’re ready to speak for others too and be their voice as well.”

Konieczka says there are many local resources to assist women and their babies. Some of these are the Bismarck Dream Center, the Women’s Care Center, Ministry on the Margins, and Project BEE.