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The March for Life – America’s largest annual pro-life demonstration – will take place this year in a changed nation, a new era in which the people are empowered to protect unborn children and mothers again. Our victory in Dobbs is the fruit of decades of faith, scrappiness, determination, ambition, strategic planning and God’s grace.
A convert to the pro-life cause, I have now been in this movement most of my life. Early on, when Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America and a powerful political movement for life were not much more than an idea, I marched like we all marched – because if abortion is the serial destruction of children and the tragic underestimation of women, then you must.
As the years went by, and we gained momentum in all the areas where we needed it, we marched again because of the moral imperative and because we had an expectation that when leaders heard our voice, they would act. They did. We fought for our voices to be heard, and to not be blocked by the Supreme Court – and we won, finally turning the wheels of democracy to right the great injustice.
For everyone who fought for this – all the converts like me who take up the mantle of the movement to end this most horrific human rights violation, with all its pain and challenge, this is your hour. For everyone who believes in the strength and generosity of women and the power of the human spirit in each new baby conceived, this is your hour. Whether young, old, religious, non-religious, conservative, liberal, Republican, Democrat, man, woman, this is your hour.
This first year after Dobbs will set the tone for how the pro-life movement responds to success and to the needs of women, children and families.
One thing is very clear: we’re not going away. As long as there is abortion in America, we have a job to do. That job is to have the long-denied debate in legislatures across the land, to grow consensus, to work for the most ambitious protections we can achieve for unborn children and mothers.
We got off to a great start with so many states taking action last year. Immediately, lives are being saved. Fifteen states now have protections either when an unborn baby’s heartbeat can be detected or throughout pregnancy. Fifteen states have strong pro-life laws in effect, with the potential to save 125,000 lives each year. In Nebraska and Virginia, lawmakers have unveiled bills that would protect unborn children with beating hearts or when they feel pain, respectively, and legislative sessions are just getting started.
We will continue working to expand the pro-life safety net of support for mothers and children. In this area we see some of the most creative and state-specific solutions, including funding for Alternatives to Abortion (A2A) programs in more than a dozen states and counting.
Recognizing that the tools of democracy have been restored and allow the people to be heard at every level, the March for Life route has a powerful and fitting destination this year: Congress. The new House majority just passed legislation to protect babies who survive abortions – blocked since 2019 under Nancy Pelosi – and a resolution condemning attacks against pregnancy centers and other life-affirming nonprofits, even picking up the votes of four Democrats in defiance of their party’s extremism.
We expect that this is only the beginning. Congressman Mike Kelly. R-Pa., has once again introduced federal heartbeat protection legislation, which SBA Pro-Life America supports. We will advocate saving as many lives as possible. Whether a heartbeat standard or a pain standard garners consensus to pass, what cannot be accepted is for lawmakers we send to Washington to bow entirely out of a discussion that puts the humanity of unborn children in focus and to let abortion on demand continue up until birth in more than half the country.
In the first full election cycle of the Dobbs era, we have high expectations for leaders, especially those seeking the presidency. The example must be set from the top. We know what works and what doesn’t in elections; we’ve seen it again and again. The one thing that has proven not to work is the “ostrich” strategy – trying to ignore the issue and pretend it will go away, while your opponents have free rein to attack. It is essential that candidates lean in and define their opponents if they hope to win.
This year we march with fresh resolve, as a brand new pro-life movement. That new movement is demographically young but with the winds of experience at its back. We are emboldened in the face of extremist resistance and more expectant than ever before that we will make new gains, advance our leaders, and protect our victories – with each child we save, saving an entire world.