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By M.A. Student Nicole Stone
On Tuesday, November 3rd the Master’s in Human Rights students met with Jeanne Mancini, President of the March for Life Education and Defense Fund. Mancini took time to explain the history of the March for Life, to expand upon its mission, and to talk about the future of the March in light of the recent overturn of Roe v. Wade.
The March for Life is the longest running human rights march in the world. This January will mark its 50th year; it started in 1973 after the Roe v. Wade decision allowing abortion as a federally protected right. Nelly Grey the founder of the March for Life, led and grew it into a small non-profit organization until her death in 2012 at the age of 89. Mancini was appointed President of the March for Life in 2012. She came to the March for Life after working at the Family Research Council, the Department of Health and Human Services and in a number of other roles defending life, marriage, and family.
The mission of the March for Life is to unite, equip, and mobilize pro-lifers in the public square. It organizes the large March for Life in Washington DC every January on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. The March draws hundreds of thousands of people who seek to promote the culture of life. Mancini mentioned some of the many fruits that have come from the marches over the years, including conversions of heart, greater public awareness for the pro-life cause, religious vocations, and recognition of the March within the White House. Besides the national March, the March for Life office also leads a state march initiative. Mancini mentioned how the state initiative is more crucial now than ever since the recent Dobbs v. Jackson Supreme Court case pushed the decision about abortion to each state. Currently there are 22 states with laws protecting unborn life, one state with abortion banned after 15 weeks, and 28 states with few or no protections for the unborn.
So what are the next steps for the March for Life, in light of the Dobbs v. Jackson ruling? Mancini said, “Is abortion still unthinkable?” If not, then the mission of defending life and lovingly engaging those who disagree continues. The March for Life will continue to be in January, and the theme this year is “Next Steps: Marching in a Post-Roe America.” The focus of this theme is to celebrate, thank those who’ve fought for the overturning of Roe, and to look forward to the future and the challenges that continue. To close, Mancini said, “The real lie is that abortion is good for women,” and we must continue to share that there is hope and healing for those who’ve had an abortion or are considering it, until every life is cherished and protected.