Why We Must Keep Marching Annually in Washington, DC

COMMENTARY: Despite the Supreme Court’s overturning Roe v. Wade, there is still an urgent need to make our voices heard at the federal level.

The crowd gathers in front of the Supreme Court after the March for Life 2020.
The crowd gathers in front of the Supreme Court after the March for Life 2020. (photo: Mike Jett / Shutterstock)

With the wonderful blessing of Roe v. Wade being overturned, a goal we have marched for since 1974, some say there is no longer a need for the pro-life movement to gather for the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C. The work to build a culture of life in the United States of America is far from finished, but they say we can now focus our work on advancing our cause in the states.

Yes, there is an urgent need to make our voices heard in our state capitals, but we must advocate for the unborn at the federal level, as well. And this calls for our continued, unified presence in our nation’s capital.

Those who have been paying attention know that the battle at the federal level has only intensified since the historic Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health decision. Already, pro-abortion politicians in the House and Senate have voted in favor of the most radical expansion of abortion in American history, a bill deceptively named the Women’s Health Protection Act. If passed, this extreme bill would nullify existing pro-life state laws, prevent the passage of future state laws that protect the unborn, and force taxpayers to pay for abortions nationwide — up until birth. Going beyond Roe, it would eliminate parental-consent laws and state partial-birth abortion bans. We can’t afford to abandon the fight at the federal level now.

Neither can we leave hard-fought victories like the Hyde Amendment vulnerable to attack. Hyde is in the crosshairs of pro-abortion politicians and has been for a long time. This long-standing policy, which limits government funding for abortion on annual appropriation bills, protects taxpayers and saves lives. In fact, it has been estimated to have saved more than 2.4 million lives since its adoption in 1976 and is arguably the most impactful pro-life policy in our nation’s history. It should not be taken for granted.

Pro-abortion legislators in Congress are even unashamed about going after our pro-life pregnancy-resource centers, which stand on the front lines of our movement, saving lives every day. Sen. Elizabeth Warren and others are using the power of their office to target these life-affirming institutions that do so much good for women seeking alternatives to abortion.

Warren hasn’t been shy about her intention to “shut them down.” These organizations provide millions of dollars in free resources each year, including financial and material resources, medical services, counseling, and much more to women who need our support and encouragement to choose life. Pregnancy-resource centers have saved more than 800,000 lives since 2016 and are favored by the vast majority of Americans. Despite the many violent attacks leveled at crisis-pregnancy centers since the Dobbs decision was leaked, everything they do is driven by love for the women who walk through their doors and a deep desire to see them realize their dreams without sacrificing their children. We can’t let politicians in Washington regulate these critical institutions out of existence.

This is by no means meant to distract us from our efforts in the states. But we must realize that the fall of Roe means the battle for life must be fought on two fronts now: state and federal.

We are rapidly expanding our state march program to meet this need. And the enthusiasm at the state level is high now that the people once again have a say in laws protecting the unborn of their state. This month, in fact, we saw more than 5,500 pro-life Pennsylvanians gather in Harrisburg to attend the first state march since the Dobbs decision came down. We at the March for Life plan to be in all 50 states soon because we, more than anyone I dare say, understand the power of unified, joyful masses of pro-life marchers who, year in and year out, send a loud and clear message to legislators: Protect life!

While we celebrate the right of the people in their respective states to have a voice through their elected leaders on the issue of life for the first time in nearly 50 years, we cannot forget that it is still imperative to march in Washington, D.C., with the same dedication.

Perhaps our loftiest goal is continuing to change hearts and minds on this issue. It has been said that culture is upstream of politics, and our ultimate goal is to restore a culture of life in America.

Clearly, our work is far from over, and the war hasn’t yet been won. But that is to be expected with a cause so noble as ours. Let us never tire of seeking respect and protection for every human being and working for that day when abortion is unthinkable.