UPDATE: Stronger security in Washington and ongoing pandemic means March for Life will be virtual
WASHINGTON (CNS) – For the first time since 1974, when it began, the National March for Life’s message to participants is: Stay home.
As satellite events related to the National Mall’s annual gathering and the march to the Supreme Court, including the Pink Dinner, a youth conference, and Mass for Life, the rest won’t be live until January 29.
March organizers had previously hired a production company to make possible a live-broadcast event following restrictions from the COVID-19 pandemic, and to enforce mask wear and social distancing.
But the plan was still to have as big a rally as possible. Many Midwestern bus trailers, long a staple of the event, were canceled last fall in the wake of the pandemic, and the Jan.6 assault on the U.S. Capitol and subsequent threats of violence. by domestic terrorist groups, as the FBI reports, has made security impossible.
“The protection of all who participate in the annual March, as well as the many law enforcement personnel and others who work tirelessly each year to ensure a safe and peaceful event, is a top priority of the March. for life, ”Jeanne Mancini, president of the March for Life Defense and Education Fund, said in a statement released at the end of January 15.
“Considering the fact that we are in the midst of a potentially peaking pandemic, and given the increased pressures law enforcement officers and others are currently facing in and around Capitol Hill … the annual gathering will be held virtually and we ask all participants to stay home and join the march virtually. “
There will always be a small in-person presence. “We will be inviting a small group of pro-life leaders from across the country to walk this year,” Mancini said.
“These leaders will represent pro-life Americans around the world who, each in their own way, strive to make abortion unthinkable and build a culture where every human life is valued and protected,” she added. .
The marches in recent years have attracted at least 100,000 participants and last year’s event, when President Donald Trump spoke at the rally, is said to have had the largest turnout in its history. The smallest Walk for Life before that was held in 1987 during a snowstorm and drew around 5,000 people.
The march takes place on or near the anniversary of the 1973 Supreme Court ruling Roe v. Wade, who legalized abortion on demand.
The National Park Service closed the “core areas” of the National Mall on January 15. They will remain closed at least until January 21.
Most of the March for Life affiliated prayer marches and vigils in state capitals are still scheduled, and some have already taken place. State marches have been postponed in Arkansas and Oregon, and an online alternative has been announced in Oregon.
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Editor’s Note: For more information, visit www.marchforlife.org.