24 January 2024, The Tablet

March for Life focuses on support for mothers

Speakers at the rally on the National Mall focused on the theme “With Every Woman, For Every Child”.

March for Life focuses on support for mothers

The 2024 March for Life passes the Supreme Court in Washington, DC.
Associated Press / Alamy

US pro-life groups continued the annual March for Life in Washington, DC on the anniversary of the 1973 Roe vs Wade Supreme Court decision, which legalised abortion nationwide, even though the court overturned Roe in 2022.

The 2022 decision in Dobbs vs Jackson effectively returned abortion regulation to the states and pro-life rallies are scheduled in various state capitals throughout the spring.

The national march, however, remains the centrepiece of pro-life demonstrations and, despite snow and frigid temperatures, tens of thousands came to the National Mall to listen to pro-life speakers who focused on the theme “With Every Woman, For Every Child”.

This theme mirrored recent statements coming from US Catholic bishops, focusing on the need to support women in difficult or crisis pregnancies. The crowds marched to a spot between the Supreme Court building and the Capitol, making the point that legislators now have a greater role to play.

There are, however, very limited prospects of nationwide abortion legislation from the narrowly-divided Congress.

One speaker, Jean-Marie Davies, a survivor of human trafficking who was bought and sold for 25 years, described how terrified she was when she found out she was pregnant. She turned to a crisis pregnancy centre where she received support, had a conversion experience, and now she runs a similar centre in Vermont.

Other women who had endured crisis pregnancies addressed the rally in advance of the march, as did politicians including Mike Johnson, Speaker of the House of Representatives.

A surprise participant was Jim Harbaugh, a pro-life advocate who is coach of the University of Michigan football team which won the national championship on 8 January. He introduced former National Football League player Benjamin Watson.

Bishop Michael Burbidge of Arlington, Virginia, chair of the Pro-Life Activities committee of the bishops’ conference, led a vigil Mass at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

Cardinal Wilton Gregory of Washington and apostolic nuncio Cardinal Christophe Pierre also attended the Mass, as did Boston’s Cardinal Sean O’Malley who has attended every national march since they began in 1974.

The “Walk-for-Life West Coast” took place the same weekend in San Francisco. Pro-life marchers started at City Hall and walked to the Embarcadero waterfront.

In Los Angeles, activists marched through the downtown, before listening to speakers and concluding with a Mass at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels.

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