March for Life 2020 Preview: ‘Life Empowers’ Celebration

Anti-abortion activists from around the US gather in Washington, DC January 19, 2018 for the annual 'March for Life.' / AFP PHOTO / Eva HAMBACH (Photo credit should read EVA HAMBACH/AFP/Getty Images)
EVA HAMBACH/AFP/Getty

The March for Life – the world’s largest pro-life event – will celebrate life and the women who give life this week in Washington, DC, and in dozens of states across the nation.

The 47th annual March for Life in D.C. which will take place on Friday, January 24 on the National Mall, is heralding the event with the theme,  “Life Empowers: Pro-Life Is Pro-Woman.”

The peaceful, pro-life demonstration is held each year on the anniversary of the Supreme Court’s 1973 landmark decision in Roe v. Wade, in which the Court created a right to abortion, though none ever existed in the Constitution.

Many in the pro-life community in cities across the United States are already celebrating their annual Marches for Life:

The 2020 March for Life arrives during a period of optimism for the pro-life movement, as many states have passed laws restricting abortion, the Senate has confirmed over 150 of President Donald Trump’s judicial nominees, and the Supreme Court will take up an abortion case concerning a Louisiana law that requires abortionists to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital.

Meanwhile, the abortion lobby is using the language of “desperation,” holding “emergency” art exhibitions to raise funds and reminding supporters “the stakes are higher than ever” with abortion rights “on the line.”

In an interview with Breitbart News, Tom McClusky, vice president of government affairs for the March for Life, agreed the pro-life movement is optimistic with “an energy that is positive.”

“But, if you’re in the pro-life movement, you’re automatically optimistic because you are for life,” he said. “You can’t be pessimistic and be for life.”

McClusky described the optimism and “cheerfulness” of those who travel from throughout the country to attend the national March for Life.

“They’re cheerful because they’re marching for something that’s so serious and so devastating to our culture,” he said. “And I think that’s the attitude those of us on the national level need to take part in.”

The pro-life leader contrasted the March for Life attendees with those from the women’s anti-Trump march. He said the day after Trump’s inauguration, he took some family members to a museum in Washington.

“And that day also happened to be the Women’s March,” he recalled, chuckling. “And that was not a very cheerful bunch.”

Though optimistic, the pro-life movement continues to struggle to achieve its goals in a few areas.

Pro-life leaders still lament the fact that Planned Parenthood – America’s largest abortion business – remains funded by taxpayer dollars. According to its own annual report released last week, Planned Parenthood performed a record high number of abortions this past year and took in record high taxpayer funding.

The March for Life leader said the issue of defunding Planned Parenthood remains a source of frustration for pro-life leaders, though he believes the abortion giant’s funding may show a dip next year because it opted to withdraw from the Title X family planning grant program.

Still, the defunding issue is a thorny one.

“Every single pro-life group and every single pro-life elected official runs on defunding Planned Parenthood,” he explained. “But, then they get to Washington, DC, and they say here’s a list of reasons why we can’t do it.”

McClusky said what is needed to accomplish Planned Parenthood’s defunding is “some outside of the box thinking.”

“We do need to change some of the faces up there,” he added. “And sometimes that means also changing some of the faces that have an ‘R’ after their name.”

“But, if we continue to have divided government, there are other things the federal government can do to further separate Planned Parenthood and organizations like it from taxpayer funds,” he suggested, affirming that the Trump administration has made progress administratively in this area.

Another frustration facing pro-life leaders is the lack of any mention from the Department of Justice on the investigation into Planned Parenthood’s alleged profiting from the sales of body parts of aborted babies.

In December 2017, Fox News reported the Justice Department had requested, from former Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), unredacted documents contained in the report of the committee’s investigation into Planned Parenthood and its partners in the biomedical procurement industry. The investigations concerned the selling of fetal body parts for a profit, the allegations that arose, in part, from an undercover video series exposé by the Center for Medical Progress (CMP).

In June 2019, current Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) joined Grassley in a letter to U.S. Attorney General William Barr and FBI Director Christopher Wray, demanding an update on the investigation into Planned Parenthood and the biomedical research industry.

“We’re not really hearing anything,” McClusky admitted, confirming that the issue continues to be another frustrating one for pro-life leaders.

As thousands of pro-life Americans descend this week on the nation’s capital, however, McClusky embraces the optimism of his movement, even while admitting he does not anticipate Roe v. Wade being directly overturned at this point in time, with the current makeup of the Supreme Court.

“I think they may strike the abortion industry some strong blows with the Louisiana June medical services case [June Medical Services LLC v. Gee],” he explained. “And we had a whole bunch of states last year passing some great bills, with more gearing up this year.”

“I think if we can get it reduced to the point where the issue is back in the states we’ll be fighting on 50 fronts,” McClusky said. “Except I think we’re more prepared to do that than the other side is.”

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