Every year since the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision in 1973, anti-abortion activists have gathered in protest. After nearly half a century, that ruling was overturned in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization last year, but the March for Life isn’t over yet. Though the Court returned authority over abortion policy to the individual states, the national battle for the right to life of the unborn continues in a post-Roe America. Today, Jan. 20, as pro-lifers gather in the nation’s capital, it seems the struggle will take on a new form.
The March for Life Continues
The March for Life will continue holding annual gatherings in Washington, DC, and in major cities across the country. The event in DC will feature speakers, including Pastor Franklin Graham, Coach Tony Dungy, House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-LA), and a host of prominent conservative voices.
According to the organization’s website, the theme will be Next Steps: Marching into a Post-Roe America, which will highlight the need “for pro-life advocates to continue boldly marching in defense of the unborn – both on the state and federal level – and advocating for a minimum federal standard to protect innocent life against radical pro-abortion legislation.”
“We are overjoyed to welcome these inspiring pro-life leaders at this year’s 50th March for Life, the first in our post-Roe nation,” said Jeanne Mancini, president of March for Life Education and Defense Fund. “With Roe now behind us, we are empowered to save countless innocent American lives by continuing to advocate for commonsense protections at the state and federal level, educating Americans on the intrinsic dignity of all human life. This year will be a somber reminder of the millions of lives lost to abortion in the past 50 years, but also a celebration of how far we have come and where we as a movement need to focus our effort as we enter this new era in our quest to protect life.”
In an op-ed for Townhall, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) offered some words of encouragement to those participating in the event. He lauded the repeal of “one of the worst legal decisions in the history of the 20th century” and said pro-lifers “prayers and witness were instrumental to this outcome.”
“And yet, the fact that you’re still here shows that you think our work isn’t done. And you’re right –you didn’t march for 48 years just so the state of California or the Department of Veterans Affairs could become America’s abortion factory, or so that the United States Postal Service could become a mail-order Planned Parenthood. You marched to save lives, and tragically millions of American babies are still in mortal danger. Your work – and mine – won’t be done until this country is truly safe for women and the unborn.”
While the event will be a celebration, it is clear the pro-life movement’s work is not done. Bishop Michael Burbidge, chairman of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-life Activities, told the Catholic Register: “It’s important that we continue to show up for the March for Life with a prayerful witness because legalized abortion is still a reality in our nation.”
“There continues to be, as we see, a regular push for expansion of abortion at the federal level as well,” he added.
While pro-life activists agree that the battle to safeguard the unborn is not over, there are varying opinions on how they should proceed. Some wish to fight for tighter restrictions on the procedure. Others seek to strengthen the social safety net for mothers who become unexpectedly pregnant. “To that end, prominent anti-abortion leaders have signed onto a new statement urging ‘significant changes in public policy,’” the New York Times reports.
Another debate is over the best way to impose laws regarding abortion. Some favor complete bans on the procedure without exceptions unless the life of the mother is in danger. Others support a more incremental approach, which might involve a ban after 12 to 15 weeks and allow terminations in cases of rape and incest.
Further conversations focus on whether a federal abortion ban should be in the offing. Some propose that Congress pass a law that would apply to the entire country, while others argue the matter must remain under the purview of the states.
While there might be some debate among the pro-life movement regarding how to proceed, there is still solidarity in the quest to end abortion. Now it’s just a matter of settling on a strategy.
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