Despite predictions of a weekend blizzard, the March for Life is on.
"Just a reminder: we will be marching for life no matter the weather on Friday!" the organization posted on Facebook. "Why? Because we march for those who have no voice and a little cold and snow won't stop us!"
This year, evangelicals will be coming early to the traditionally Catholic rally held in Washington, D.C., each year. Focus on the Family and the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) are hosting a new conference just before the rally “aimed at increasing the level of engagement in the pro-life cause among evangelical Christians.”
With sessions on social justice, adoption, and fatherlessness, the conference ends Friday morning, so attendees can “march together as evangelicals.”
The burgeoning annual march comes a few weeks after the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) reported declining abortion numbers.
“In late November 2015, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention found a 4.2 percent drop in the number of abortions for the 2012 reporting year [from 2011],” stated NRLC president Carol Tobias. “While the CDC only includes and compares data from 47 state health departments, the information we can glean from this latest information gives us reason for hope that Americans, and especially women facing unexpected pregnancies, are rejecting abortion.”
America's abortion rate was already at the lowest level since 1973, the year before Catholic convert Nellie Gray organized the first March for Life.
The Associated Press (AP) verified the abortion rate drop in an independent study last summer, which found that the decline was sharper in many pro-choice states than in many pro-life ones.
The number of national abortions fell 12 percent from 2010 to 2013/2014, the AP reported. (The data was taken from each state; the newest numbers were either from 2013 or 2014.)
In every state except Louisiana and Michigan, abortion rates plummeted. (California, Maryland, New Jersey, New Hampshire, and Wyoming don’t collect abortion data and weren’t included in the survey.)
The rates sank regardless of whether a state had passed any restrictions on abortion. The AP noted:
Several of the states that have been most aggressive in passing antiabortion laws — including Indiana, Missouri, Ohio, and Oklahoma—have seen their abortion numbers drop by more than 15 percent since 2010. But more liberal states such as New York, Washington, and Oregon also had declines of that magnitude, even as they maintained unrestricted access to abortion.
In fact, the 10 states ranked as the most pro-life by Americans United for Life (AUL) in 2015 for their efforts to limit abortion averaged a decrease of 9 percent, compared with a decrease of more than 18 percent averaged by 8 of the states that AUL ranked least pro-life. (Two of the least pro-life states, California and New Jersey, don’t track abortion statistics.)
One perplexing example is Louisiana, which was ranked No. 1 by AUL for being pro-life in 2015 but had an abortion gain of 12 percent. (AUL’s 2016 list ranks Oklahoma first and Louisiana third.)
This despite the state passing new abortion limitations as part of a national surge of pro-life laws in state legislatures. From 2011–2014, 231 abortion restrictions have been enacted in 27 states, according to the Guttmacher Institute.