United States

The defense of life in America continues: The Marches for Life

The end of January continues to be a prominent date on the calendar of pro-life advocates in the United States. The marches for life are a reminder that, even after the overturning of the "Roe v. Wade" ruling, there is still a long way to go to achieve protection of life from conception.

Gonzalo Meza-January 24, 2023-Reading time: 4 minutes
March for Life

March for Life in Washington on January 20. ©OSV News photo/Gregory A. Shemitz

On January 22 or 23 of each year, the United States commemorates the Day of prayer for the legal protection of unborn children. The date is no coincidence. On that same day in 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court legalized abortion through the verdict known as "Roe v. Wade".

Nearly 50 years later, in June 2022, the same The Court annulled this judgment, indicating that abortion is not a constitutional right and leaving regulations concerning the "termination" of pregnancy to state legislatures.

The central nucleus of the Day of Prayer for Life is the Holy Mass, which, according to the General Instruction of the Roman Missal of the USA, is to be observed in all the dioceses of the country to pray for the reestablishment of the legal guarantees of the right to life from conception to natural death. It is also a penitential day for the violations committed by abortion and that go against the dignity of the human person.

The day of prayer is accompanied by a novena and various other activities. walks for life which are held on different dates in different states, the most important and oldest being the one in Washington DC.

Marching in a Post Roe America: Washington DC

The 50th edition of the March for Life in the nation's capital took place on Friday, January 20, 2023. It was the first march held after the Supreme Court overturned the "Roe v. Wade" ruling.

However, the struggle in defense of life is not over, but has entered a new phase, as indicated in the slogan of the march: "Next steps. Marching in a Post Roe America".

The new battle is now being waged in the state legislatures and in the Federal Congress, which have been formulating numerous bills to "shield" the "woman's right to decide". They have the full backing of the Democratic Party and the Federal Executive.

On January 22, President Joe Biden (a self-professed Catholic who attends Mass and receives communion) said in a statement: "I will continue to fight to protect a woman's right to choose. Congress must restore, through federal legislation, the protections established in Roe vs Wade. It is the only way we can guarantee in all states a woman's right to choose."

Michael F. Burbidge, Bishop of Arlington, Virginia, and chairman of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, noted: "An important phase of work in the pro-life movement is now beginning.

At the national level, we must continue our efforts to end policies that target vulnerable populations, policies that fund abortion or facilitate alternative methods of abortion at home. We must also focus our attention on local communities to limit access to abortion, stop its funding and ideally ban it altogether" (Homily at the Prayer Vigil for Life on January 19, 2023 at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, Washington DC).

Jeanne Mancini, president of the Education and Defense Fund for Life, said that 2023 "will be a somber reminder of the millions of lives lost because of Roe v. Wade over the past 50 years. But it also marks a celebration to appreciate what we have done and where we must focus our efforts in this new era of protecting life."

Walk for Life in Los Angeles: "One Life LA".

Another massive walk for life took place in Los Angeles on Saturday, January 21. Thousands of people, mostly young people, gathered in downtown Los Angeles to defend and celebrate life. It was not just a march, but a festival that included music, an exhibition space and lectures presented by pro-life experts and organizations.

The march concluded with Holy Mass at the city's Cathedral presided over by Msgr. José GómezArchbishop of Los Angeles. According to the organizers, One Life LA seeks to promote the culture of life because "every human life has dignity.

This walk is not a one-day event, but a movement for every day of the year. This year's theme was "Our Mission is Love," which is a call to honor the dignity of the human person and recognize that each of us was created in the image and likeness of God," said Michael P. Donaldson, Senior Director of the Office of Justice and Peace for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

Upcoming Marches for Life in the U.S.

In the coming weeks other states will hold massive marches for life, among the most important of which are: Richmond, Virginia (February 1); Phoenix, Arizona (February 23); Sacramento, California (March 6); Hartford, Connecticut (March 22); Columbus, Ohio (October 6); Harrisburg, Pennsylvania (September 19).

These efforts in defense of life are recognized and emulated in other countries. Even Pope Francis highlighted the efforts of thousands of Americans in defense of life.

In a message read by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, during the Prayer Vigil for Life, the Pope noted that he is "deeply grateful for the faithful witness shown over the years by those who promote and defend the right to life of the innocent and the most vulnerable members of our human family. The building of a truly just society is rooted in respect for the sacred dignity of every person and in the acceptance of each person as a brother or sister."

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