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March for Life Now to Be Held Virtually Due to Concerns About Security, COVID-19

national march for life
A participant poses in front of the U.S. Capitol at the March for Life in 2020.

This year’s National March for Life will no longer be taking place in person, with the exception of a handful of pro-life leaders. Because of concerns about security and the COVID-19 pandemic, the event will now be held virtually.

“The protection of all of those 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,” the organization announced in a statement on Friday. “In light of the fact that we are in the midst of a pandemic which may be peaking, and in view of the heightened pressures that law enforcement officers and others are currently facing in and around the Capitol, this year’s March for Life will look different.”

The National March for Life Goes Online

Washington D.C. is under a state of emergency following the violence at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, and the order declaring a public emergency will remain in effect until at least Jan. 21. Shortly before the March for Life made the announcement about going virtual, the National Park Service (NPS) announced that the National Mall (where the march would have occurred) would be closed through “at least” Jan. 21. NPS said the closing comes “at the request of and in cooperation with the United States Secret Service.”

The March for Life is an annual event that usually takes place sometime around Jan. 22, which is the day the Supreme Court handed down its ruling on Roe v. Wade in 1973. In addition to the National March for Life in Washington D.C., and there are March for Life events in various state capitals. For example, thousands attended the March for Life held Saturday in Lincoln, Neb. 

This is the first time since 1974 that participants will not be able to gather in person for the march in Washington D.C. Not even the blizzards that occurred in 1987 and 2016 led to the event being cancelled.

“We will invite a small group of pro-life leaders from across the country to march in Washington, D.C. this year,” said the March for Life in its statement. “These leaders will represent pro-life Americans everywhere who, each in their own unique ways, work to make abortion unthinkable and build a culture where every human life is valued and protected.” The statement concluded:

We are profoundly grateful for the countless women, men, and families who sacrifice to come out in such great numbers each year as a witness for life – and we look forward to being together in person next year.  As for this year’s march, we look forward to being with you virtually.

The 2021 National March for Life will begin streaming at 11 a.m. ET on Jan. 29. According to the organization’s website, “The live broadcast will include inspiring speeches from pro-life leaders, information on how to stay involved in the pro-life movement all year long, and a performance by Christian singer and songwriter Matthew West.”

Tim Tebow will be the keynote speaker for the virtual Rose Dinner Gala, which will stream at 7 p.m. ET. Other scheduled speakers for the event include Focus on the Family’s Jim Daly, Cissie Graham Lynch (the daughter of Franklin Graham), and J.D. Greear, who will be the first Southern Baptist Convention president to speak at the March of Life. 

You can RSVP for the 2021 March for Life here.

Last year, President Trump became the first president to appear at the March for Life. Today, the White House released a proclamation declaring Jan. 22, 2021, to be National Sanctity of Human Life Day. As the nation anticipates Inauguration Day this Wednesday (Jan. 20) and braces for potential violence, pro-life advocates are also anticipating that in his first days in office Joe Biden will reverse many of Trump’s pro-life policies.