While pro-lifers rightly view the landmark Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision as a significant judicial victory, attending the national March for Life is more important now than ever. Here are five reasons why I think every Catholic should still be committed to the national March for Life.
Witness to sanctity of life
Showing up to the March for Life is a public declaration of our belief in the dignity and worth of every human life, from conception to natural death. The U.S. bishops recently reaffirmed their commitment to fighting abortion, saying, “The threat of abortion remains our pre-eminent priority because it directly attacks our most vulnerable and voiceless brothers and sisters and destroys more than a million lives per year in our country alone.” In a society often clouded by the fog of moral relativism, our collective witness is a beacon of truth, affirming the sanctity of life from conception to natural death. This public witness is vital in continuing to build a culture of life, especially in a post-Dobbs era where the truth that every life is sacred is fiercely contested.
While “Dobbs” represents a monumental shift, it is not the end of the fight. The decision decentralizes the abortion debate, shifting it to state legislatures. The national March for Life inspires and encourages those working in grassroots efforts at the state levels by building a network to exchange ideas and reinvigorate local movements. Now more than ever, we need to be actively involved in advocating for life-affirming policies and supporting leaders who uphold the dignity of life at every level of government.
Culture of life
Our participation in the march fosters a culture of life. It goes beyond the legal aspects of working to end abortion and touches hearts and minds. We march not only in protest but also in love, aiming to inspire a change in attitudes toward the sanctity of life, motherhood and the family. Every year, I’m touched by the women I see with signs saying they regret their abortion, or by the young mothers with a child in tow, sharing that they almost chose abortion but didn’t.
Prayer is an important aspect of the march. Catholics gather the night before for a Mass and Vigil at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. Seeing so many seminarians and young religious inspires young Catholics to think about their vocation. And while plenty of attendees are Catholic, many are not. The march brings together people of different faiths and walks of life who share a common belief in the intrinsic worth of every human life. Standing with our Protestant and Orthodox brothers and sisters — and even alongside non-Christians — is a powerful witness to the world and provides a model for exchange and collaboration.
Educating the next generation
By participating in the March, we also educate and inspire the next generation. In a world where our young people are bombarded with conflicting messages, the March gives a clear and compassionate response. The March for Life has always been a movement of young people. Youth rallies before the March, like Life Fest, hosted by the Sisters of Life and the Knights of Columbus, connect young people to their peers, assuring them that they are not alone and inspiring them to stand up for their pro-life beliefs.
In the wake of the Dobbs decision, the March for Life is not just a celebration but a rallying call. It’s a reminder that our work is far from over. The national legal victory is just one facet of a much broader, ongoing mission to uphold the dignity of life at all stages. Our presence at the march reaffirms our commitment to this mission, serving as a visible sign of hope, solidarity and unyielding support for life.
Father Patrick Briscoe, O.P., is a Dominican friar and the editor of Our Sunday Visitor.