The March Goes On
40 years of protest

Jeanne Monahan, president of March for Life


: What’s the point of the March for Life? Why is it important to bother?

MONAHAN: In 1974 the March for Life began so that the anniversary of the legalization of abortion would not go unnoticed. At the time, the other side believed that the outcry over the issue would soon die down as people were desensitized to it. But nothing could be further from the truth. Each year, the March for Life has grown in size and impact to the degree that it is now the world’s largest pro-life event. It is a tragedy that we have lost 55 million Americans to abortion since Roe; the March for Life pauses to remember the loss and to look forward to a time when this human-rights abuse is no more.


: How should history remember Nellie Gray? Why should we be thankful for her?

MONAHAN: Nelliewas the founder of the March for Life, and I believe that without her it wouldn’t exist. Nellie spent the second half of her life giving all of her time, energy, and talent to save the babies. She continued leading the March for Life until her death at 88. Her last recorded phone calls and conversations were March-related. Nellie never thought abortion would be legal in the United States for all of these years. Neither did she imagine that the March for Life would grow to be the largest pro-life event in the world. We are profoundly grateful to Nellie and will now build upon the wonderful foundation she put into place.

: What’s the most inspiring thing you’ve learned since taking the helm of the March?

MONAHAN: Nellie frequently prayed for those who were involved with abortion. For example, I recall her praying for President Obama during a meeting a few months before her death. In looking through past annual reports and pictures, I am quite inspired by one photo of Nellie standing alongside Bernard Nathanson, former architect of abortion (and convert to the pro-life cause); Norma McCorvey, the “Roe” of Roe v. Wade; and Sandra Cano, the “Doe” of Doe v. Bolton. Her witness in this regard deeply motivates me to pray for the change of heart of those who disagree with me on this issue.

— Kathryn Jean Lopez is editor-at-large of National Review Online.