50th anniversary of March for Life first since Roe overturned, new chapter in pro-life movement

After historic victory at Supreme Court, prolife movement has a new call to action to “make abortion unthinkable.”

Updated: January 20, 2023 - 3:20pm

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Anti-abortion activists gathered Friday in Washington, D.C., for their annual March for Life – celebrating the 50th anniversary of the event and the first since Roe v. Wade was overturned. 

This year's march on the nation's capital also marked a new start for the pro-life movement, which since the Supreme Court overturned Roe and ended the constitutional right to abortion is now focusing on state legislatures, where the matter is being decided.

The Rev. Alveda King, daughter of the late civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr., and a prominent pro-life activist, said the goal of the march this year is to change the messaging so that the immorality of abortion outweighs even the pressure for its illegality. 

"We can fight to make abortion illegal, of course. And that's something that needs to happen to a certain extent. However, let's make abortion unthinkable," she told Just the News ahead of the March, expected to draw thousands. 

The early morning prayer service, which proceeded the march and included speeches, awards and recognition of pro-life advocates, with clergy and religious leaders in attendance, was interrupted at various points by several protesters. 

"My body, my choice," yelled one female, which resulted in organizers of the 28th annual National Prayer Service calling for security.

"Bless you," a prayer service attendee said as the apparent pro-abortion protester left DAR Constitution Hall, along the national Mall, where much of the march is set to take place. 

Two other protesters at the prayer service shouted "Abortion is forever."

 

Protesters spread out in the auditorium and spoke in intervals, in an apparent attempt to interrupt as many speaker as possible. At one point, King said the words, "We love you," in response to the protesters – which caused others in the room the repeat the sentiment as the agitators were escorted out by security. 

The speakers, however, maintained focus, with the main guests being King, surprise guest Ronna Romney-McDaniel, chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, and Frank Pavone, the national director of Priests for Life.

"Let us remember that we are marching from victory to victory," King said. "We have overcome, because Jesus Christ has overcome. My uncle, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., once said, 'The Negro cannot win if he is willing to sacrifice the futures of children, for personal comfort and safety.' All too many children are still dying for so many reasons today. One of the foremost issues and reasons is death by abortion." 

Pavone also preached solidarity and continued to point out that the pro-life movement has gained ground, but argued the battle remains far from over. 

"We are not just working for a victory, we are working from victory," he said. "Victory is are starting point, because Jesus Christ is risen from the dead. He is with us."

McDaniel only shared brief thoughts but highlighted the importance of the march to the nation.

"I'm so honored to be here. Thank you to all of you. What a celebration. Are we so excited for the lives that are finally being recognized? The unborn? This is a great day." 

When discussing her role as head of the Republican National Committee, McDaniel said the most important job she's ever had, is being "a mother." 

"I love the blessing," she said. "My children everyday remind me of the greatness of God. And I'm so grateful that we are the party that is pro-life," she added. 

There was also a pre-rally concert on the National Mall near the Washington Monument.