March for Life unveils 2023 theme and post-Roe strategy.‘Next Steps’ After Roe: 6 Things to Know About the March for Life 2023| National Catholic Register
Jeanne Mancini, president of the March for Life, has unveiled the new theme of the 2023 March for Life taking place on Jan. 20 in Washington, D.C.: “Next Steps: Marching in a Post-Roe America.”
The group also revealed a shift in focus to state and federal pro-life battles in light of the Dobbs decision overturning the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, which had been the focus of the past 49 years of marches to the Supreme Court every year on its anniversary in January.
“What we’d really like to do is celebrate the momentous victory of the overturn of Roe,” and “honor those who’ve marched before us,” Mancini told the Register. Still, she said, in light of Roe being overturned there was plenty of work ahead for the pro-life movement and the march.
The March Will Now Conclude at the U.S. Capitol
One crucial difference in 2023 is that the March for Life will conclude outside the U.S. Capitol building and not the Supreme Court as it has in every previous year.
“Critical to our strategic plan is continuing to boldly march in Washington, D.C. every January,” Mancini told those gathered, “but we won’t march to the Supreme Court any more, we will now be marching to the Capitol.”
The March Will Still Take Place in January
While those who remember the marches that took place in the snow and freezing rain over the years may have wished for a fairer weather month, March for Life has decided that the event will continue to take place in January near the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision.
Mancini explained that they made this decision for a number of reasons, including that “our largest group of participants in the March are students” so moving it to June to commemorate the release of Dobbs “would be a very hard time for young people.” She also said there was a “stability factor” to the decision, and “it’s very difficult to change an event based on a different Supreme Court decision.”
Perhaps most importantly, she said, “Roe and [the loss of] 63 million Americans is a scar in our culture’s history, in our country’s history and it’s not something that we’ll quickly move past. While we celebrate that we’re at this new moment … we will continue to march in January.”
Defending Life in Congress
Mancini told the Register that the group’s approach in Congress would be to back some pro-life measures as well as play defense against pro-abortion efforts. “We do need to be on the defensive,” she said. “If a bill like the Women’s Health Protection Act were enacted, it would undo all the good work that’s happening at the state level and it would go way further than codifying Roe.”
That measure would bar almost any state limitations on abortion, including “a prohibition on abortion at any point or points in time prior to fetal viability … a prohibition or restriction on a particular abortion procedure,” and even includes “a prohibition on abortion after fetal viability when, in the good-faith medical judgment of the treating health care provider, continuation of the pregnancy would pose a risk to the pregnant patient’s life or health.”
Mancini also pointed out that “our country right now doesn’t nationally have a limit to abortions like most European countries do. We’re one of seven [countries] around the world that still allows late term abortion, depending on the state.” She indicated support for the 15-week national abortion limit proposed by Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., adding that March organizers are supportive of other measures like a national heartbeat bill and the Born Alive Infant Protection Act.
Expanding Focus on States
Mancini said that “we must also continue to march in our state capitols” and announced that “the March for Life has been working boldly on a state march initiative for over five years. We plan to be in all fifty states in the next seven years.”
She said that the March for Life was in five states this past year: Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Virginia, California, and Ohio. They will be in Arizona in February and are “hoping to be in ten [states] next year and 20 the following year.”
Expanding Safety Net for Moms and Babies
Another expanding area of emphasis Mancini mentioned is material and emotional assistance for the mothers choosing to keep their babies. “We must continue to increase the safety net for moms and babies,” she said, “especially by supporting pregnancy care centers and maternity homes that support moms and babies with love and compassion as they help them through these moments in time that can be so challenging.”
‘Chosen’ Star and Former Colts Coach Will Speak
Mancini also announced two of the March for Life 2023 speakers: Jonathan Roumie, who stars as Jesus in the hit television series The Chosen, and former Indianapolis Colts Coach Tony Dungy.
Dungy, an adoptive father of eight and foster father of three, commented on Twitter in reply to someone calling him “courageous” for speaking at the march, that he was “just doing what the Lord asked us to do,” quoting Matthew 25:45: “‘And he will answer, ‘I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.’”