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March for Life weathers the snow: Second march after the overturn of Roe

Demonstrators look to change national opinions as abortion debate continues

Thousands of people descended upon the National Mall for the 51st annual anti-abortion March for Life on Jan. 19, despite freezing temperatures and travel plans delayed nationally.

With a presidential election in November that could impact abortion policy nationally, anti-abortion advocates spoke to the crowd about the next steps for the movement. 

After listening to speakers on the snowy Mall, attendees marched past the Capitol building to the Supreme Court, where the landmark abortion rights case, Roe v. Wade, was overturned two years ago. 

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Georgetown University student Katelyn Rickert attended the event with the Clare Boothe Luce Center for Conservative Women and spoke about the future of the movement in an interview with The Eagle.

“I think that even though Roe v. Wade was overturned a few summers ago, there’s still a lot of work to be done in banning abortion nationwide and educating people about the different options that they have,” Rickert said. “Raising awareness also garners resources that can be offered through non-profits and through state means, such as tax breaks on baby formula and other resources as well.”

Across the nation, there have been mixed responses to abortion access since the landmark decision in 2022. 

According to the Guttmacher Institute, a sexual health and reproductive rights research NGO, 14 states have enacted total bans on abortion access, and seven more have restricted access under limits that would have been deemed unconstitutional under Roe. 

Since Dobbs v. Jackson, the 2022 case that gave the authority to regulate abortion access back to states, California, Vermont, Michigan and most recently Ohio, have all voted to guarantee abortion rights in their state constitutions, according to the Center for Reproductive Rights. 

Kansas, Colorado, and Minnesota are also among the states that have taken measures to protect abortion access in the last two years.

“Our rights come from God”

March for Life President Jeanne Mancini led the march, followed by a number of speakers, including a pastor and a bishop who led prayers, a man from Brazil who has adopted 42 children and congressmen known for their anti-abortion stances. 

Speaker of the House Mike Johnson praised attendees in his speech for braving the weather to join them from all across the country. 

Johnson did not commit to bringing any legislation relating to a nationwide ban to the House floor, but he did speak about the Declaration of Independence, arguing the federal government isn’t responsible for Americans’ rights. 

“Our rights do not come from government; our rights come from God,” he said, receiving loud cheers across the space. 

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The next steps 

“It’s great to be the pro-life generation,” multiple groups of young people chanted, holding signs that said “We vote pro-life” and “Love life, choose life.” 

Catholic University of America student Joseph Donnelly, who attended with a large group of his university’s staff and peers, told The Eagle that the next big step for the movement is winning hearts and minds. 

“For those who are looking on, God willing, they see our testimony and will be converted to the cause of life. And if they don’t, I just pray to God that at least maybe they will start thinking,” Donnelly said.  “If they can think about the life in the womb, maybe it will be a step in the right direction.”

According to a story published to their website, Catholic University canceled classes the day of the march to ensure students could participate.

A pastor at Expressway Baptist Church in Freeport, Pennsylvania, Daniel McCrosky, said he also thinks the next step is “changing people’s hearts and minds.”

“We care about life all the way through. Not the cradle, in the womb, all the way to the tomb; we care about it because we believe what the word of God says, that says everyone is fearfully and wonderfully made by God,” McCrosky said. “That gives every single person value and worth.”  

“[People] have been taught, ever since they were children, that life is meaningless. You came from a monkey, or you came from a primordial slime; you weren’t fearfully and wonderfully made, there is nothing at the end of life, so why should you care?”

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The national anthem began to play behind demonstrators as McCrosky spoke. 

“We want to let them know that all life is important,” said McCrosky. “As Dr. Seuss says in ‘Horton Hears a Who!’ — what does it say, Kathy?”

“A life is a life no matter how small,” Kathy McCrosky, his wife, chimed in. 

“Dr. Seuss, not a Christian, understood a life is a life no matter how small,” said McCrosky. “So I hope we can convince our nation to protect all life, pre-born, post-born, and death with dignity at the end. That life is important and that life is sacred.”

This article was edited by Abigail Hatting, Abigail Turner, and Abigail Pritchard. Copy editing done by Luna Jinks, Isabelle Kravis and Olivia Citarella.

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