(CNA) The March for Life Education and Defense Fund unveiled its theme for the Jan. 19, 2024, March for Life, which emphasizes the need to care for both the mother and the child: “With Every Woman, For Every Child.”
Jeanne Mancini, the president of the March for Life, announced the new theme on Tuesday afternoon at the Heritage Foundation. She was joined by a three-person panel of pro-life guests to discuss ways in which the movement can care for pregnant women, mothers, and children together.
“We aren’t saying that it’s easy, but we are saying that it is right to choose life and we hold that choosing life is empowering and that love saves lives,” Mancini said in the announcement.
Mancini said there is a “false narrative around abortion” that suggests abortion is “empowering and necessary.” She said this “fear-based messaging tries to convince women who are facing unexpected pregnancies that they’re alone, that they’re incapable, that they are ill-equipped to handle motherhood.”
Rather, Mancini emphasized that “women deserve to know all of their options,” such as “the love, compassion, and free resources that are available to them through the vast pro-life safety net.” The pro-life movement, she said, supports women “before, during, and after pregnancy.”
To discuss the resources available to women, Mancini was joined by Jean Marie Davis, the executive director of Branches Pregnancy Resource Center in Brattleboro, Vermont; Dr. John Bruchalski, the founder of the pro-life nonprofit Divine Mercy Care; and Mississippi Deputy Attorney General Whitney Lipscomb.
“We’re not just a pregnancy center,” Davis said. “That’s one-eighth of what we do. We also help the women.”
Davis discussed her personal experience as a victim of sex trafficking from age 2 through 29 and her decision to choose life after becoming pregnant. She chose to keep her son after she visited a local pregnancy resource center “when they allowed me to hear that heartbeat” and now runs Branches Pregnancy Resource Center “because I was helped, now I can give back to the community.”
Branches administers several programs, which include efforts to help women who are being sex-trafficked, help women suffering from domestic violence, and help men who are going to be fathers.
“A choice is actually giving them the ability to make a decision,” Davis said.
Bruchalski, who is a former abortionist turned pro-life OB/GYN, provides life-affirming health care for women in northern Virginia, which he said “is concerned always with two patients: the woman and her unborn child.” He said his medical practice works closely with pregnancy resource centers and others in the pro-life movement.
“Medicine is about health and hope and mercy with every woman [and] for every child,” Bruchalski said. “It’s not violent, it’s not malicious, it’s not dividing. It’s an integrating, life-affirming women’s reproductive health care. … Medicine as mercy is really empowering.”
In addition to private efforts, Lipscomb talked about state-run efforts in Mississippi to help pregnant women, mothers and children after the state banned most abortions. The Mississippi Access to Maternal Assistance program connects women to resources for adoption services, pregnancy help, financial assistance, child care, jobs, and other forms of assistance to assist with pregnancies.
“We know that many women seeking an abortion would choose otherwise [if they had] resources and support,” Lipscomb said.
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The announcement comes one week after Ohio voters passed a referendum that adds a new amendment to the state constitution, creating a right to “reproductive freedom,” which includes "abortion.” In about a dozen states, efforts to get referendums on the ballot related to abortion are underway for the 2024 election.
Mancini told CNA the referendum result was “really disappointing” but that March for Life is working to expand its state march initiative to all 50 states as abortion-related battles head to state capitals. She said she expects to hold marches in most of the states that could consider abortion-related referendums in 2024.
“Our work is not done yet,” Mancini said.
The 2024 March for Life will be the 51st annual march in Washington, D.C., which has been held every year since the first anniversary of the now-defunct Roe v. Wade U.S. Supreme Court ruling that had imposed abortion on every state in the country.
Editor's note: This article was published by Catholic News Agency and is reprinted with permission.