Tens of thousands of Americans from all walks of life will gather Friday in Washington, D.C., for the 49th annual March for Life.
For nearly 50 years, the march has symbolized the pro-life movement’s quest to undo the disastrous 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion on demand across America.
This year’s march will take place a few months before what we hope will be an inflection point in American history. Soon—by this summer—the Supreme Court will decide Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a case examining the constitutionality of a Mississippi law that protects unborn children after the first 15 weeks of pregnancy.
The high court’s ruling in the Dobbs case potentially could overturn Roe v. Wade. If Roe is overturned, abortion wouldn’t be automatically outlawed. Rather, states would have an opportunity to further protect life, and we would see a national debate in the halls of Congress.
If and when that happens, Americans who believe in the sanctity of human life must do everything in our power to ensure that we protect innocent life, especially the unborn.
Overturning Roe v. Wade would be a critical victory, and one that would result from decades of hard work from the conservative legal and pro-life movements.
Although overturning Roe has certainly been one of the pro-life movement’s foremost goals, it doesn’t end there. Beyond protecting the fundamental right to life in law, the pro-life movement is striving for the day that abortion is unthinkable and every person is welcomed in life.
So when Roe goes, the pro-life movement will enter a new phase of mobilization and pro-life policymaking—not just in legislatures, but in civil society more broadly.
That is why the American Cornerstone Institute, the Conservative Partnership Institute, Family Research Council, The Heritage Foundation, and Susan B. Anthony List are committed to work alongside our pro-life allies to make the post-Dobbs world as protective as possible for women and unborn children.
Of course, much of what we can do will depend on how the high court decides Dobbs. If the ruling in Dobbs completely overturns Roe, the policy landscape across all levels of government will be ripe with new opportunities to further protect innocent human life.
But it is possible that the court might not overturn Roe v. Wade.
If the court leaves Roe in place while allowing the Mississippi law to stand, the contours of the new abortion regime in which Roe is undermined would provide new avenues to pursue life-affirming policies. It would still leave an unworkable framework in place, requiring continued efforts to fully correct a grave constitutional error.
If the court relies on Roe to strike down the Mississippi law, it would be an unmitigated failure by a majority-conservative bench to faithfully interpret the Constitution. Indeed, anything less than overturning Roe is a failure at some level.
Yet all of us in the pro-life movement would continue working hand-in-hand to do all we can to change the hearts and minds of the American people about abortion, because real change cannot happen until we have a culture that recognizes abortion for what it truly is: intentionally and violently ending the life of an innocent human being.
Guiding us through all this will be our unwavering commitment to the principle that all life is precious and that the unborn—the most vulnerable among us—must be protected from intentional destruction.
We must fight against the false history, false science, false constitutional interpretation, and false morality of the pro-abortion movement. We must not punish women who have had abortions, but instead work with organizations including crisis resource centers to help provide healing options.
We have the opportunity to make real change this year. The spotlight has never been bigger on the pro-life movement, as millions of Americans will focus on the issue after the Supreme Court’s landmark Dobbs decision.
As conservative leaders, we are committed to preparing for this moment and working together to protect those who cannot protect themselves.
From policymaking to volunteering with a local pregnancy resource center to peacefully praying and offering support to women outside abortion clinics, every one of us has unique gifts and a role to play in our effort to build a culture of life.
That is exactly what we intend to do. Join us.
This piece originally appeared in The Daily Signal