WASHINGTON – In just over a week, on Jan. 19, thousands of pro-life advocates will take to the streets for the 2024 March for Life.

This year’s theme will be “Pro-Life: With Every Woman, For Every Child,” the group’s president has announced.

The March for Life first took place in Washington in 1974 in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion nationwide the previous year. Pro-life advocates have gathered in Washington to march each year since then to protest the ruling, with a smaller-in-scale event during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021.

Pro-life demonstrators carry a banner past the U.S. Supreme Court during the annual March for Life in Washington Jan. 20, 2023, for the first time since the high court overturned its 1973 Roe v. Wade abortion decision June 24, 2022. The March for Life’s theme for the 2024 event will be “Pro-Life: With Every Woman, For Every Child,” the group’s president announced Nov. 14, 2023. (OSV News photo/Jonathan Ernst, Reuters)

After the high court reversed Roe in 2022, marchers still gathered to protest abortion. Each year, the group selects a theme that it says fits the cultural moment. Jeanne Mancini, March for Life president, said that following the court’s ruling in Dobbs, she wanted to highlight the work the pro-life movement does to support women facing difficult or unplanned pregnancies.

Mancini said the 2024 theme was selected due to what she called “the false narrative around abortion, whether it’s through mainstream media or the entertainment industry or academia, is that abortion is empowering and necessary.”

“We disagree,” she said. “Such fear-based messaging tries to convince women who are facing unexpected pregnancies that they’re alone, that they are incapable, that they are ill-equipped to handle motherhood. We who are here today know that is just not true.”

“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 continued.

This year’s March for Life will take place in both a presidential election year, and one that could bring additional ballot measures on abortion, possibly in states including Arizona and Florida.

The Sisters of Life and Knights of Columbus announced Dec. 21 that they will be teaming up for a second year to host Life Fest in conjunction with the National March for Life.

The event will be held Jan. 19 at the 10,000-seat D.C. Armory in southeast Washington prior to the march, which begins around 1 p.m. along Constitution Avenue.

According to organizers, Life Fest will feature “dynamic speakers and testimonies” and music by Sarah Kroger and Damascus Worship.

It will also include Mass celebrated by Knights of Columbus Supreme Chaplain Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore; Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley of Boston; and Msgr. James Shea, president of the University of Mary in Bismarck, North Dakota; as well as a Eucharistic healing procession.

Life Fest attendees also will have the opportunity to venerate first-class relics of the Ulma family, who were recently beatified in their native Poland.

“On March 24, 1944, Jozef and Wiktoria Ulma and their seven children, one of whom was still in the womb, were killed by Nazis in Markowa, Poland, for hiding members of two Jewish families,” Life Fest’s organizers noted in a Dec. 21 media release, noting that the “Ulma family bears special significance to the pro-life movement” and their “lives exemplify what it means to value the dignity of every human person.”

Doors will open for Life Fest at 6:30 a.m. on the day of the event. Worship begins at 7 a.m., with the event culminating in Mass at 9:15 a.m. More information about the event and registration is at www.lifefestrally.com.