March for Life – Anti-abortion activists participate in a "Memorial Die-in" outside the White House on Tuesday, January 21. People from all around the country are planning to gather in Washington for the annual March for Life on Wednesday to protest the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision in 1973 that helped to legalize abortion in the United States. Take a look back at the annual rally through the years:
March for Life – The March for Life was founded by Nellie Gray and first held on January 22, 1974, on the steps of the U.S. Capitol. For decades, the March for Life has followed a familiar formula: Bus in thousands of abortion opponents. Protest in front of the Supreme Court. Go home. But this year, the March will move in a different direction, says Jeanne Monahan, the president of the anti-abortion group.
March for Life – Several thousand marchers march down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington toward the U.S. Capitol building on January 22, 1981. The March for Life, billed as the world's largest anti-abortion event, is remaking itself in deeper ways as well, says Monahan.
March for Life – March For Life demonstration in front of the White House on January 23, 1982.
March for Life – Supporters of the anti-abortion movement rally on January 23, 1984, on the Ellipse in front of the White House to listen to speakers and begin the March for Life on the 11th anniversary of legalized abortion.
March for Life – Nellie Gray speaks at the Right to Life rally on the Ellipse in Washington on January 22, 1993. For its first 40 years, the march was marshaled by Gray, an occasionally irascible Catholic who had little use for modern technology, political compromise or the mainstream media. Gray died in her home office in 2012 at 88. She is succeeded by Jeanne Monahan.
March for Life – Leah Maher, 5, holds a sign during the March for Life rally on the Ellipse in Washington on January 22, 1997. Organizers estimate that at least 50% of the marchers are younger than 18, as busloads of Catholic students descend on the capital from across the country.
March for Life – The Rev. Flip Benham, director of Operation Rescue National from Dallas, prays, sings and hoists his Bible over his head in front of the Supreme Court at the tail end of the March For Life march.
March for Life – Activists march on Constitution Avenue in Washington on January 22, 2002. Estimates of the crowd's size vary, but it seems safe to say tens of thousands have attended the annual protest.
March for Life – Plastic fetuses are tagged and piled in front of the Supreme Court during the rally to mark the 33rd anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade on January 23, 2006, in Washington. A sign posted with the plastic fetuses reads "Congressmen, The voters of the 11th District symbolically send these babies to you and ask for their protection."
March for Life – Anti-abortion demonstrator Ted Gentile of Merrick, New York, stands outside the Russell Senate Office Building along the March for Life route on January 24, 2011, in Washington. Usually considered a Catholic event, Monahan says this year will different. The March for Life has hired a full-time staffer devoted to bringing more Protestant evangelicals to the protest, and they hope to see that effort bear fruit this Wednesday.
March for Life – Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee speaks during a anti-abortion rally at Lafayette Park in Washington on January 22, 2012. "In past years, our rally has gone on for two or three hours and people lost interest," Monahan says. So, instead of boring speeches, the rally this year will feature a live concert by Matt Maher, a Catholic singer-songwriter with a huge following among young Christians.
March for Life – Anti-abortion protesters attend the March for Life on January 25, 2013, in Washington.