2024’s March for Life Events From Coast to Coast: ‘Proclaiming the Gift of Human Dignity’

‘Until a culture of life is restored in the United States of America …’

The crowd at the March for Life walks up Capitol Hill on Jan. 20, 2023.
The crowd at the March for Life walks up Capitol Hill on Jan. 20, 2023. (photo: Maria Oswalt/Unsplash)

WASHINGTON — While the 2022 Dobbs decision overturned 1973’s Roe v. Wade, striking down the nation’s federal abortion law, the pro-life effort continues in 2024, as the battle shifts to the states.

The 51st-annual March for Life in Washington, D.C., will be held Friday, Jan. 19, 1 to 4 p.m.

The March for Life website explains that the annual event occurs in support of continued legislative efforts to restrict abortion “until a culture of life is restored in the United States of America.”

The event kicks off with a rally at noon on the National Mall between the Washington Monument and 10th Street and follows an altered route from previous years that ends between the U.S. Capitol and Supreme Court building. Participants are encouraged to share their views with elected officials upon completion of the march.

A variety of other events will occur in conjunction with the main event, including a March for Life Expo for pro-life organizations at the Westin DC Downtown hotel, starting on Jan. 17, a pro-life advocacy workshop on Jan. 18 and the Rose Dinner Gala on Jan. 19.

This year’s theme is: “Pro-Life: With Every Woman, for Every Child.” In the November announcement of the theme, March for Life President Jeanne Mancini emphasized, “It is right to choose life.”

The March for Life began by Catholic convert Nellie Gray (1924-2012) in 1974 and has grown to become the biggest pro-life event in the world, drawing crowds of more than 100,000. It is televised live each year by EWTN.

In addition to the national march, individual states under the March for Life umbrella have their own marches throughout the year; Arizona’s March for Life, for example, will be held March 1, beginning with a rally at Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza between the state’s Supreme Court and Legislature buildings in Phoenix. The Connecticut March for Life will take place March 20 at the Capitol in Hartford. The Colorado March for Life will be held at the Capitol in Denver on April 12. Check MarchforLife.org for details.

Since 2019, March for Life leadership has been looking to expand to statewide marches, reported Erin Getz, state march director at March for Life. Organizers are looking to double the number of state marches in 2024, she said, and eventually have marches in all 50 states.

Their goal, she told the Register, “is to gather the pro-life grassroots to be a voice for the voiceless at their state capitols, especially post-Roe, now that the power to protect the unborn has returned to the American people. We want to make sure that legislators hear the voice of the people, advocating for protections for women, children and families throughout the state.”

Walk for Life West Coast

The 20th-annual Walk for Life West Coast, “standing for the littlest and most vulnerable among us and 20 years of fearlessly asserting that abortion hurts women,” per the organization’s website, will begin at Civic Center Plaza in downtown San Francisco on Saturday, Jan. 20, 12:30 p.m. The event is traditionally the nation’s second-largest pro-life gathering of the year, after the Washington event, and travels 1.8 miles from the civic center to the Embarcadero waterfront roadway. The event is organized by Catholics, and many who attend are parishioners and clergy from local parishes, as well as students from Catholic schools. Pre-COVID, the event drew 50,000 or more walkers.

The day will begin at 10:45 a.m., with a Silent No More Awareness Campaign event, which will include testimonies from those directly harmed by abortion. From 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., there will be an information fair with material offered by a variety of pro-life organizations. The main event is a rally beginning at 12:30 p.m., followed by the walk at 1:30 p.m.

Speakers include prominent pro-life activist Lila Rose of Live Action; singer Kaya Jones, who had three abortions but has publicly said she regrets her decision; Kimberly Henkel of Springs of Love, which encourages fostering and adoption, and Clenard Childress, a Baptist pastor who promotes the pro-life message in the Black community.

Delivering the invocation for the event will be San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, who will also join in the walk, as he has done in years past.

Organizer Eva Muntean told the Register that the archbishop has been among the walk’s biggest supporters through the years, even coming up from San Diego while serving as a priest of that diocese before being appointed as San Francisco’s archbishop. She also highlighted the longtime support of Jesuit Father Joseph Fessio, the event’s chaplain, who will be honored during the walk with an award in St. Gianna Molla’s name.

Muntean praised the work of the March for Life in Washington, D.C., and noted that the San Francisco walk’s focus is different.

“Much of their focus has been on the need for legislation to protect the unborn, which we certainly support, but our key focus from the beginning has been that abortion hurts women,” she explained. “The stories of many of those who have addressed the walk through the years certainly support that message.”

There are a variety of companion events nearby, including an Oakland pro-life walk, Masses, prayer vigils and adoration, and a barbecue.

OneLife LA

The Archdiocese of Los Angeles’ 10th-annual OneLife LA event will also be held Saturday, Jan. 20, traversing the streets of downtown Los Angeles.

The event will kick off at 11 a.m. at La Placita/Olvera Street, and the walk begins at 12:30 p.m. At the conclusion of the walk, participants can enjoy speakers, live music and food at Los Angeles State Historic Park. And a requiem Mass for the unborn will be celebrated at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels at 5 p.m.

Many local clergy are involved in the event; Los Angeles Archbishop José Gomez will be the first to address participants at the walk.

Speakers at the park will include Amilyon (Millie) Nelson, who will speak about her experience with foster care and adoption, and Jorge Giron, who will speak of his experience of losing his wife Veronica three days after she delivered their sixth child. Other speakers include Father Josh Johnson, vocations director for the Diocese of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Katie Prejean McGrady, a Catholic radio host and speaker.

Prejean McGrady, who hosts The Katie McGrady Show on Sirius XM’s The Catholic Channel, told the Register that she is pleased to be part of this year’s walk because it “is a great chance to give witness to the goodness and sanctity of life.”

She plans to speak on the beauty of the family, believing it to be where “one first learns how to be human and how to love others.”

She wants to encourage her audience to embrace the vicissitudes of family life. She and her husband have two daughters, she explained, and “every day my husband and I are amused, challenged and given constant opportunities to love them more and more, serve one another within our home and try to be a snapshot of God’s goodness to the world. The family is in God’s image, and I can’t wait to share how we can be that image of God’s goodness and love to the world.”

Honored at this year’s OneLife event will be the Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles, a traditional community of nuns based in Alhambra, for their work with seniors at their Santa Teresita facility in Duarte. They will receive a grant of $10,000 to aid their work.

The event has drawn several thousand participants in recent years.

Michael Donaldson, senior director of the archdiocesan Office of Life, Justice & Peace and an organizer of the event, told the Register that, based on registrations, he is expecting the strongest turnout yet: “Gather your friends and families and join us as we walk through the streets of downtown L.A., proclaiming the gift of human dignity.”

TUNE IN On Friday, Jan. 19, EWTN News presents live coverage of the 51st-annual March for Life, available to watch on cable and via livestream on all social-media platforms. The network will also cover pro-life events in San Francisco and Los Angeles on Saturday, Jan. 20. Related programming includes a special preview edition of EWTN Pro-Life Weekly on Thursday, Jan. 18, featuring the president of the March for Life, Jeanne Mancini. Zeroing in on next steps for the pro-life movement, the anchor team will highlight maternity homes, saintly families, the good work of the Sisters of Life, and safe-haven laws. Coverage also will highlight freedom of religion and bioethics in the context of protecting unborn children, plus global perspectives on abortion and the family unit, including the growing threat of euthanasia. EWTN News President and COO Montse Alvarado will co-anchor coverage for the first time, alongside Prudence Robertson, Catherine Hadro, Tracy Sabol and Teresa Tomeo. Check EWTN.com for more.

State Marches

Arizona, March 1

California, April 22

Colorado, April 12

Connecticut, March 20

Georgia, Feb. 22

Illinois, April 17

Kentucky, Jan. 23

New Jersey, Sept. 26

Pennsylvania, Sept. 23

Virginia, Feb. 21

Source: MarchforLife.org

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