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‘Life Empowers’: March for Life unveils 2020 theme

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The march will honor the centennial of votes for women in the United States

The 2020 March for Life will honor the centennial of women’s suffrage in the United States, promoting a pro-life message of “empowerment” of women and taking aim at the false equation of abortion with independence.

“Our hope and prayer for this year’s theme,” said Jeanne Mancini, president of the March for Life, at a Tuesday event on Capitol Hill unveiling the March’s 2020 theme, “is that it will be a healing remedy for the wounding and deceptive messages about women coming from the abortion industry and beyond.”

The theme of the upcoming March is “Life Empowers: Pro-Life is Pro-Woman.” Mancini announced the theme during a panel event October 15 with pro-life and feminist leaders on Capitol Hill.

The year 2020 marks the centennial of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, which extended the right to vote in the United States to include women.

Underscoring the link between the significance of the anniversary and the theme of “empowerment,” Mancini told CNA that “we primarily chose it because of the centennial.”

The March for Life is an annual pro-life gathering in Washington, D.C., with participants travelling from all over the country. The march has been held every January since 1974, the year after the Supreme Court found a legal right to abortion in all 50 states in its Roe v. Wade decision.

Joining Mancini on a panel at Tuesday’s event were Victoria Cobb, president of the Family Foundation of Virginia, Gloria Purvis, a radio host and chairperson of Black Catholics United for Life, and Serrin Foster, president of Feminists for Life.

Abortion is currently “being promoted as essential to women’s freedom, to women’s empowerment, and to women’s progress,” Mancini said on Tuesday, citing the National Abortion Rights Action League’s (NARAL) #ShoutYourAbortion campaign that encouraged post-abortive women to publicly share the details of their abortion so as to normalize it.

Campaigns like NARAL’s aim to turn motherhood—something essential to being a woman—into something “to be ashamed of,” Mancini said. Instead, she said, motherhood is something that is “miraculous” and a “gift.”

“Our theme aims to change hearts and minds, to make abortion unthinkable in our culture,” she said on Tuesday.

The upcoming march will also be held in a presidential election year, a fact not lost on those planning the national pro-life event.

“We need to speak about confusing messages on women,” Mancini told CNA of the organization’s planned message for 2020. “Right now, as we know, none of the Democratic candidates are with us on this issue, and even more, they’re wildly out of touch with mainstream America on this issue.”

“To listen to their many, many, many debates, you come away with a very different understanding about what it means to be pro-woman,” she told CNA.

Speaking Tuesday, Serrin Foster said that “Feminism is a philosophy that embraces the rights of all human beings without exception,” noting that Susan B. Anthony, the feminist most identified with helping secure women’s suffrage in the U.S., was opposed to abortion.

“Those who see no moral problem with the taking of human life see abortion as the great equalizer,” said Victoria Cobb.

Abortion is the fruit of a mentality that sees a woman’s body and the inherent goodness of motherhood as an “enemy,” Gloria Purvis said. Furthermore, it is used as a distraction rather than a solution to the problems of workplace discrimination and poverty, she said.

The language of abortion rights makes a proposal to women akin to “in order to be equal to men in the workplace, you need this abortion,” Purvis said, which is a “deflection” from the need to “help them thrive and flourish in the workplace.”

“We have to make the greatest sacrifice just to be at the table,” Purvis said of women who have abortions because they feel they cannot afford to not work. “That is not being pro-woman.”

Abortion is also used to “deflect from real solutions to poverty,” Purvis said. “Killing the poor is not a solution to poverty.”

While the abortion rights movement is advocating for a woman’s choice without working “to help their struggling neighbor,” those the pro-life movement must look at their neighbor and ask “what is their need and how can I help them?” Purvis said.