AMAC Exclusive – By Seamus Brennan
Like every January for the past half century, tens of thousands of pro-life Americans will brave the cold and descend on the National Mall on Friday to voice their support for unborn children and expectant mothers at the national March for Life, the largest annual pro-life event in the country. This year, however, will be notably different.
For the first time since the inaugural March in 1974, defenders of the unborn will march the streets of Washington, D.C. in a post-Roe America just steps from the Supreme Court, which last June handed the pro-life movement its most significant victory to date in the Dobbs v. Jackson decision.
Historically, participants in the annual event have marched to the steps of the Supreme Court following the event on the Mall. This year, however, they will be marching to the U.S. Capitol—signaling that the next stage of pro-life advocacy will be directed toward federal and state legislatures rather than the courts. The event will also be followed by a dinner gala.
The theme for this year’s march, “Next Steps: Marching in a Post-Roe America,” further emphasizes the new direction of the American pro-life movement. “Sadly, the number of abortions annually is still well over 900,000 each year, and that number is expected to decrease only by roughly 200,000 each year in a post-Roe America,” states the official website for the event.
One of the most immediate goals for pro-life organizations is to ensure that Hyde protections, which limit taxpayer dollars for funding abortion in federal appropriations bills, remain intact. “The Hyde Amendment has saved over 2 million lives and is arguably the most impactful pro-life policy in our nation’s history, but now cannot be taken for granted,” according to the March for Life. “Last, our most important work is changing hearts and minds. The goal of the national March for Life is to not only change laws at the state and federal level, but to change the culture to ultimately make abortion unthinkable.”
The keynote speaker for this year’s event is Jonathan Roumie, the actor who portrays Jesus in the popular TV series The Chosen. Other speakers at the rally are set to include Lynn Fitch, the Mississippi Attorney General who won the Dobbs case, Franklin Graham, football hall-of-famer Tony Dungy, House Majority Leader Steve Scalise, and Bishop Michael Burbidge of the Catholic Diocese of Arlington, Virginia.
In 2020, former President Donald Trump became the first president to attend the March for Life, where he catalogued his accomplishments for the pro-life movement and recommitted to protecting unborn life. During his first four years in office, Trump’s agenda to end abortion included reinstating the Mexico City policy, cutting U.S. funding to the United Nations population fund, and protecting the conscience rights of religious groups like the Catholic Little Sisters of the Poor. “Unborn children have never had a stronger defender in the White House,” Trump said in his 2020 speech at the March.
The former president’s contributions to the pro-life movement only continued to grow following his departure from office with the Dobbs decision, in which Trump’s three Supreme Court nominees—Justices Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett—provided the deciding votes to overturn Roe v. Wade.
“Even with the wonderful blessing of Roe v. Wade being overturned, which allows more freedom at the state level to enact pro-life laws, the necessary work to build a culture of life in the United States of America is not finished,” the March’s website states. “[W]e will continue to march every January at the national level until a culture of life is restored in the United States of America.”
Although March organizers and pro-life activists all acknowledge that the work of protecting unborn life in the United States still continues, this year’s event marks a historic milestone for national efforts to end the tragedy of abortion at the state and federal levels.
As tens of thousands of Americans journey to Washington this Friday, they will not only have every reason to celebrate—but also every reason to be hopeful for the future.