CHICAGO — There is hope that legal protections for unborn children “which we have advocated for decades will soon become a reality,” Cardinal Blase J. Cupich of Chicago told a pro-life rally.
Addressing the annual March for Life Chicago Jan. 8, Cardinal Cupich expressed the hopes of the pro-life community without directly naming the abortion case the Supreme Court heard in December.
The case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, involves Mississippi’s appeal of a lower court’s injunction on its law banning most abortions after the 15th week of pregnancy.
The cardinal’s comment was met with a few cheers from the several hundred people gathered in the city’s Federal Plaza.
Cardinal Cupich, who was wearing a mask to protect against the surging coronavirus pandemic, went on to say that other lives must be the focus of pro-life efforts as well.
Overturning the 1973 Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade that legalized abortion is “really not our only goal,” he said.
“It’s important for children who are brought into the world that their mothers are supported, that their families are supported. We march today for respect for all human life. That’s the goal that we need to pursue.”
A modified schedule
The 49th annual national March for Life — with a rally on the National Mall and march to the Supreme Court Jan. 21 — will go on as scheduled this year amid a surge in the omicron variant in the nation’s capital.
Outdoor events are not affected by the District of Columbia’s vaccine mandate for indoor gatherings, but participants should expect to wear face masks. Indoor events associated with the annual march will have to comply with city COVID-19 restrictions.
The national Pro-Life Summit, sponsored by Students for Life, is also scheduled to take place Jan. 22 at Washington’s Omni Shoreham Hotel. The event will feature former Vice President Mike Pence as its keynote speaker.
The March for Life has canceled its three-day Pro-Life Expo and is combining two planned Capitol Hill 101 panel discussions Jan. 20 into a single event. The organization is still holding its annual Rose Dinner Gala.
March for Life never projects attendance figures, but an informal survey by Catholic News Service of a few groups planning to attend this year’s march indicates that the turnout may approach pre-pandemic levels.
Last year’s march was turned into a virtual event due to the pandemic and the violence at the Capitol on Jan. 6. Only an invited group of 80, joined midway by more than 100 others, marched from the nearby Museum of the Bible to just behind the Supreme Court.
In previous years, total attendance for the rally and march up Constitution Avenue was estimated to be as high as 100,000.
The march is held annually on a date nearest the anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision, which legalized abortion.
The first march was held Jan. 22, 1974, organized by Nellie Gray, a government lawyer, and the Knights of Columbus. The idea was to form a “circle of life” around the Capitol and the Supreme Court. Jeanne Mancini assumed leadership of the March for Life Education and Defense Fund after Gray died in 2012.
This year’s theme is “Equality Begins in the Womb.” The rally is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. with a performance by singer Matthew West. The march starts at 1:15 p.m. after the political speeches are completed.
Later this year, the Supreme Court will announce its decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, an appeal by Mississippi to remove a lower court’s injunction on its law banning most abortions after the 15th week of pregnancy.
If the court rules in favor of the state law, it will effectively overturn Roe v. Wade and send abortion laws back to the states.
The Generation Life pilgrimage for teens to the March for Life, organized by the archdiocesan Office of Youth Ministry, will take place Jan. 19-23 and include 1,200 pilgrims. Programming will be livestreamed at genlifestl365.com.
>> Holy Hour
A pro-life Holy Hour for young adults ages 18-39 will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 20, at the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis. Young adults are invited to pray for an end to abortion and promote a greater respect for all human life. Kathy Fowler will share her inspirational adoption journey as well as her professional work as executive director of Good Shepherd Children & Family Services. After her talk, eucharistic adoration, the Rosary and the sacrament of reconciliation will be offered. The event is sponsored by Anima Christi, the Office of Young Adult Ministry and the Respect Life Apostolate.
>> More online
A group of Catholic women — and a few men — share why their consistent presence outside of an abortion facility makes a difference as the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision approaches. Read more at https://stlreview.com/3FhCXbB