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The March for Life will not be accommodating a massive in-person rally in Washington, D.C., this year, and organizers plan to hold virtual events on January 29 instead, organizers announced on Friday.
In a statement, March for Life encouraged members of the public to participate in its virtual events, which will continue to promote its mission despite the new changes for 2021. These virtual events will include a Rose Dinner Gala, featuring professional athlete Tim Tebow as a keynote speaker, and an advocacy training session for aspiring pro-life activists looking to navigate the legislative process.
A March for Life livestream rally event will also be held virtually this year and will feature speeches from leaders in the pro-life movement, information about the pro-life movement, and a performance from Christian musician Matthew West.
“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,” said March for Life in a statement on Friday.
March for Life attributed the change of plans to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and to the “heightened pressures” law enforcement have been facing in the capital. According to USA Today, around 21,000 members of the National Guard will be present in Washington, D.C., for the upcoming presidential inauguration on January 20, more than four times the number of U.S. troops deployed in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
The Associated Press reports that Department of Defense officials have been authorized to deploy National Guard members for a month in light of the inauguration, but it’s not clear how long those guard members will stay in the area after inauguration day.
March for Life said Friday that they are looking forward to holding the march in-person, as in years past, come 2022: “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 March for Life has been held since 1974 — the year after the Supreme Court’s ruling in Roe v. Wade — and draws as many as 100,000 people annually, reports Fox News. In 2020, President Donald Trump was the first president to address the march in a speech.
The March for Life strives to “promote the beauty and dignity of every human life by working to end abortion—uniting, educating, and mobilizing pro-life people in the public square,” according to the organization’s mission statement.
RSVPs for the 2021 March for Life virtual events can be found here.