The 50th March For Life Was Historic

Steven Mosher
written by Chris Manion
January 23, 2023
Reproduced with Permission
Population Research Institute

A hundred thousand joyous pro-lifers filled the streets of Washington last Friday to join in the fiftieth annual March for Life.

Since 1974 generation after generation of pro-lifers had marched, determined to bring abortion in America to an end. Reversing the Supreme Court's decision in Roe v. Wade was priority number one.

It took 49 years, but last June the Court handed down the Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization decision. Our goal had been achieved, and we had every right to celebrate.

Arlington Bishop Michael Burbidge, Chairman of the Pro-Life Committee of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), who presided at a Mass on Thursday for pro-life leaders from all over the country, set the tone.

"There is much to celebrate," Bishop Burbidge said. "There is much to be grateful for. After decades of marching alongside our fellow Americans and our fellow Catholics, of praying for an end to the grievous miscarriage of justice that took place in Roe vs. Wade, of gathering before the Supreme Court in protest, we can finally say that Roe is no more."

Concelebrating at the Mass was Kansas City Archbishop Joseph Naumann, a longtime friend of the Population Research Institute. After the Mass, he told me how PRI President Steve Mosher had visited him several years ago and urged him to personally baptize all third children.

Mosher believed that having bishops, archbishops, and even cardinals perform the baptisms of children born in large families would send an unmistakable pro-life message to young parents, encouraging them to be generous in welcoming children from God.

Archbishop Naumann pledged to personally baptize every new child born to a family of three children or more. Not only that, he also told me that he had shared Mosher's idea with "some of my brother bishops and I'm hopeful."

Early on the day of the March, pro-life leaders from around the country gathered to welcome Mike Pence and several Members of Congress, thanking them for their historic roles in the battle for life.

"Today will be a day of celebration," Mr. Pence said, who served as President Trump's vice president in what was clearly the most pro-life administration in American history. "But it's also a day of gratitude," he said, going on to thank the efforts of those he served with, especially his former colleagues in Congress, many of whom were in the room.

Among those colleagues was U.S. Representative Chris Smith, Co-Chair of the Congressional Pro-Life Caucus and an ally of PRI since the 1980s. Mr. Pence called Smith, the long-time head of the Pro-Life Caucus in the House, the U.S. Congresses "Lion for Life." Smith returned the compliment, crediting the Vice-President with several victories, including helping President Trump push the expansion of the Mexico City policy across the finish line, a life-saving achievement that the George W. Bush Administration had failed to accomplish.

Taking the Next Step

The March for Life was founded in 1973 by Nellie Gray, a truly valiant leader. Jeanne Mancini, who has led the March since Nellie's death in 2012, surprised us all by noting a strange coincidence: The Dobbs decision was handed down on Nellie Gray's 99th birthday, June 24th!

What a birthday present!

"When we stood here last year, folks, we thought, we hoped, we prayed, but I don't think any of us really knew in our heart of hearts that we would be here this year, and that Roe v Wade will be overturned," Mancini said. "And so, today is a time to celebrate this momentous occasion, and to continue to think about what's next."

"What's next" was on everyone's mind on this momentous day, and Bishop Burbidge emphasized it:

"Through God's grace and hard work, the question of abortion has again been placed in the hands of legislators and the citizens who elect them," he said. "Our success moving forward will depend on our ability to persuade them of the justness of our cause. We must learn new and compelling ways to communicate the reality of abortion and the damage it inflicts on children, mothers, fathers, and society more broadly."

"At the same time, we must support efforts to build a broader culture of life -- through government, to be sure, but also in civil society," he said.

That's a steep mountain to climb, and it's gotten even steeper with every passing year.

America has become increasingly secular since Roe v. Wade, to the point where its reversal generated outrage among the godless. The phrase, "a woman's right to choose", has been drilled into three generations. Thanks to the secular Culture of Death, "civil society" has become more uncivil with each passing year.

It is not surprising that, following the Dobbs decision, the Left erupted in violence. In fact, since last June, pro-abortion terrorists have attacked over 200 hundred pregnancy centers, churches, and pro-life offices.

Bishop Burbidge is correct in insisting that the task of rebuilding a culture of life is paramount.

This was further stressed by Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch, who brought the Dobbs case before the Supreme Court, in her remarks on Friday morning. "[T]he Dobbs case was chosen by God," she said. "There's no question about it."

"And everybody played a part in getting the Dobbs case in front of the United States Supreme Court," Fitch continued. "Everyone across our country, all the believers, who again, looked for the moment, prayed for the moment. And we all made it happen together... So when we filed our brief, we asked the hard question-overturn Roe v. Wade-and the Justices did so. We all overturned Roe v Wade! Congratulations!"

"The pro-life movement has always been compassionate, loving, caring for our women, for our children," Fitch went on. "We have to be there, as we have been there for the past for 50 years, and be compassionate and caring for these women who need our support. They need our love, and they need our care... We definitely must be supporting our pregnancy resource centers. This is so key to our women, to our children, to these mothers who move into motherhood, to know that we're there for them."

The viciousness of the Left's attack on our crisis pregnancy centers underscores the importance of Fitch's remarks. That kind of violence is being unleashed against us for one reason: Those centers are saving moms and babies from the horrors of abortion.

The final speaker was Rep. Chris Smith, who underscored the challenge we now face. "We have a fight like we've never had before," Smith said. "[The defense of life] is finally now in the court of lawmakers at the local, State and Federal level. And I hope all of us will push back hard ... to make laws to protect life."

"In our elections stand up for life," Smith said. "But when you're attacked on the life issue, be bold--kind and civil-bold. And when you do that, you win."

Let us resolve to carry the fight to the fifty States until America is finally free of the scourge of abortion!