March for Life president: Overturning of Roe v. Wade ‘is not the end of our fight’

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March for LIfe
Jeanne Mancini, president of March for Life, concludes the annual March for Life rally in Washington alongside other supporters Jan. 21, 2022. (CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn)

In the months since the Supreme Court’s monumental overturning of Roe v. Wade, many people have asked me about the future of the national March for Life. Is there a need to march in Washington now that Roe is gone? My answer to that question is yes — and so much more.

When hearing that question, I challenge my fellow pro-life Americans to think of the reason why we have gathered each cold January in our nation’s capital. Why we come from all walks of life and all corners of the country to brave blizzards and rainstorms. Our goal at the March for Life is to fight for the day that abortion is unthinkable. And while the landmark decision to overturn Roe v. Wade has been a tremendous victory for us, it is not the end of our fight; it has actually opened up a much larger front in the battle for life.

The Supreme Court decision, contrary to the false and widely held belief, did not make abortion illegal across the country. Rather, it gave people the chance to fight for life through the democratic process. We the people are now tasked with ensuring that our representatives and legislatures are advocating for the unborn in all 50 states — and federally. At this year’s march, we will take the time to celebrate the Supreme Court’s decision and acknowledge all that went into our 50 years of work toward ending Roe; we will also look forward to the new challenge ahead.

Our fight, which for the last five decades had been relegated to the courts, is now being waged in Congress, in our statehouses and in our communities. The landscape has changed, but our mission to create a culture of love and life where abortion is unthinkable remains the same. At this pivotal time in our movement’s history, we chose “Next Steps: Marching into a Post-Roe America” for our 2023 theme. In it, we have captured three objectives for the future.

The first is to continue marching in 2023 and in the following years until abortion no longer darkens our nation. Through our continued advocacy and witness at the national level, we plan to hold the line protecting life-saving policies such as the Hyde Amendment. We will combat pro-abortion initiatives like the Women’s Health Protection Act and work to advance protections for the unborn.

Our second objective is to expand our efforts in individual state capitals. Just in the time since the fall of Roe, both Pennsylvania and Ohio have held successful state marches where legislators were lobbied to pass life-affirming policies. In 2023, we will be marching in more states, and hope to have our voices heard in all 50 states in the next seven years. Every child deserves a chance at a happy and healthy life.

Our third objective is to support pregnant women in need. Thousands of pregnancy resource centers and hundreds of maternity homes exist across the country giving women an alternative to abortion and letting them know that they are not alone. These centers and homes provide everything a mother might need, including housing, financial assistance, education, counseling, clothing, diapers, child care and more. These organizations rely heavily on us — both in terms of volunteer hours as well as donations — and it is up to us to be a beacon of hope for them and the women they serve. March for Life also encourages state and federal policies that send much-needed resources to these organizations that do this life-saving work.

2023 presents a new challenge to be sure. But the perseverance and dedication to the March for Life for the past 50 years has proven we are up to the task. To the collective millions of marchers who have walked with us since 1974: we still need you. To the churches and schools who bussed students and parishioners to our nation’s capital each year: we still need you. To the men and women who recognize the inherent humanity of the unborn who, like us, have been created in God’s image: our fight is not over.

The March for Life is the largest, longest running human rights protest against the human rights abuse of our day, and we will continue to march until abortion no longer devastates our nation. We are not yet done. The tasks that lie ahead may seem daunting, but we have our faith and the enthusiasm of our fellow marchers to lean on. If we have learned anything from the recent Dobbs decision, it is that we can accomplish anything we set our mind to. With a lot of hard work, courage and prayer, we will build a world where every life is valued and loved.

Jeanne F. Mancini is president of the March for Life.