Washington D.C., Jan 18, 2023 / 12:00 pm (CNA).
Pro-life Americans from across the country are planning to attend the March for Life — which calls itself the largest annual human rights demonstration in the world — on Friday, Jan. 20, in Washington, D.C.
While the march happens every year, this year is different: It will be the first March for Life held in a post-Roe America.
Here are eight things to know about the 2023 March for Life.
What is the March for Life?
The March for Life began in response to the Supreme Court’s 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade that legalized abortion nationwide. What started as a small demonstration in 1974 in Washington, D.C., quickly grew into the largest annual pro-life event in the country.
Today, tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands travel each year to the nation’s capital on or around the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. These pro-life Americans gather not only to challenge abortion but also to celebrate the beauty of life, beginning from the moment of conception.
With Roe overturned, why is the march still happening?
The 2023 March for Life will make history as the first march held after the Supreme Court overturned Roe in a decision that frees states and legislators to decide abortion policy. But, the March for Life says, a national march is still needed.
“The goal of the national March for Life is to not only change laws at the state and federal level but to change the culture to ultimately make abortion unthinkable,” its website reads. “With the role of the states being more important, we are also growing a strong state march for life initiative quickly; however, we will continue to march every January at the national level until a culture of life is restored.”
Catholic pro-life leaders agree that this year’s demonstration is more important than ever, the National Catholic Register reported Tuesday.
“It’s important that we continue to show up for the March for Life with a prayerful witness because legalized abortion is still a reality in our nation,” Bishop Michael Burbidge of Arlington, Virginia, chair of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-life Activities, told the Register, “and there continues to be, as we see, a regular push for expansion of abortion at the federal level as well.”
Writing for the Register in 2022, Jeanne Mancini, president of the March for Life, stressed the importance of continuing the national march.
“Yes, there is an urgent need to make our voices heard in our state capitals, but we must advocate for the unborn at the federal level as well,” she wrote. “And this calls for our continued, unified presence in our nation’s capital.”
What’s the schedule for Friday?
11 a.m. to 12 p.m.: Pre-rally concert on the National Mall between the Washington Monument and 12th Street
12 p.m. to 1 p.m: March for Life Rally, also on the National Mall
1 p.m. to 4 p.m.: The March for Life, from the National Mall to the U.S. Capitol and Supreme Court
The March for Life notes that the 50th annual march will follow a slightly different route this year by going past the U.S. Capitol building before finishing between the Capitol and the Supreme Court buildings. A detailed map of the new route is available on the March for Life website here.
Several other events related to the march will take place on Friday:
- Life Fest by the Sisters of Life and the Knights of Columbus (7 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. at the D.C. Entertainment and Sports Arena.
- March for Life Expo (9 a.m. – 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. – 7 p.m. at the Renaissance D.C. Downtown Hotel).
- Silent No More Awareness Campaign testimonies (2:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. outside the Supreme Court).
- Rose Dinner Gala (6 p.m. – 9 p.m. at the Renaissance Hotel).
A full list of related events can be found on the March for Life website here.
What’s the theme?
The theme of the 2023 march is “Next Steps: Marching in a Post-Roe America.”
Who are the speakers?
Several speakers will address the March for Life rally. The keynote speakers include actor Jonathan Roumie, who plays Jesus in the “The Chosen” series, and former NFL coach Tony Dungy.
Other speakers include Dr. Christina Francis, CEO-elect of AAPLOG, an association of pro-life obstetricians and gynecologists; Gina Tomes, director of the Bethlehem House Maternity Home; Sister Mary Casey with the Sisters of Life; and Casey Gunning, a teacher’s assistant and lifelong athlete in the Special Olympics.
Public officials and politicians scheduled to speak include Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch, who won the Dobbs Supreme Court case that overturned Roe v. Wade; House Majority Leader Steve Scalise; Rep. Chris Smith, a Republican from New Jersey and co-chair of the Congressional Pro-Life Caucus; and Connecticut state Rep. Treneé McGhee.
Bishop Burbidge of Arlington will lead the opening prayer with American evangelist Franklin Graham delivering the closing prayer. Logan Earnest, a college Knight from George Washington University, will deliver the Pledge of Allegiance. Ariel Walden will sing the national anthem.
For the pre-rally concert, the award-winning musical group “We Are Messengers” will perform.
What should people traveling from out of town know?
The March for Life provides a trip planner that pro-life Americans can download from its website. It includes a planning checklist, hotel and travel information, helpful tips for marchers, and related pro-life events happening in D.C.
What’s the best way to get around D.C. on Friday?
The March for Life recommends using the D.C. Metro train system. On the day of the march, people can easily walk to the rally and march starting point from one of three metro stops: Federal Triangle, Smithsonian, and Metro Center.
Washington, D.C., visitors can also use city buses, taxis, and ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft. There are also bike and scooter rental services available in D.C.
What’s the weather forecast?
The current forecast for Friday is partly sunny with a high of 52, according to the National Weather Service’s extended forecast.
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