WASHINGTON -- The March for Life comes to Washington, D.C., Thursday, January 22. Some years have seen hundreds of thousands in attendance. Still, activists say it would have much more impact if millions came and marched.
After 42 years of legalized abortion and some 56 million unborn babies dead, many abortion opponents doubt their activism will accomplish much.
Pro-life leaders say the opposite is true.
"By coming together, by making our presence known, we are saving lives," Father Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, told CBN News. "Incremental legislation is being passed. People's minds and hearts are reached."
In fact, this leading pro-life priest was one whose mind and heart was reached when he came to Washington as a young man to join an early March for Life event.
"I received my own start in the pro-life movement from the inspiration I got from coming to this March for Life in 1976 as a teenager," Pavone said.
Another leader is Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser. Her group works to elect pro-life candidates and promote laws that will reduce and someday end abortion.
"If there were a year where you would have hope in activism, it would have been election year 2014," Dannenfelser told CBN News.
Throughout 2014, the SBA List sponsored groups in various states to fight for pro-life candidates. And in state after state, those candidates beat opponents who favored abortion rights.
"This was the year that showed that activism pays, and it pays in lives," she said.
Dannenfelser said the pro-life majority in the House appears ready to pass the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act as early as January 22, the same day as this year's March for Life. That, she says, is evidence that activism pays.
She also expects the new pro-life majority in the Senate to pass its version of the bill, which would ban abortion of unborn babies 20 weeks old or older.
Dannenfelser told CBN News without the kind of activism thousands of pro-lifers displayed leading up to the election, passage of this bill wouldn't be possible.
When Enough Fight
And she believes when everyday folks battle those wrongs together, they can be defeated.
"It's what ended slavery. It's what ended child labor. It's what ended all sorts of things," Dannenfelser explained. "And we're beginning to see the end of abortion in the Congress right now with the Pain-Capable bill. And it will save 18,000 children a year."
Of course, the ultimate pro-life goal is to make abortion unthinkable and illegal again, because if it's legal, that suggests it's okay.
Janet Morana co-founded Silent No More, a group of post-abortive women and others wounded by abortion who've decided to speak out about the pain it causes.
"You can listen to the voices of the women, and they'll say making it legal was giving permission," she said. "Just think of how many things you don't do because it's illegal."
Georgette Forney co-founded Silent No More alongside Morana. Forney told CBN News just three years before, the Supreme Court had legalized the procedure nationwide, which made a huge difference in her teenage mind when she aborted her first child.
Legalizing Abortion Made it Okay
"There I was in 1976 -- I remember driving down the road," Forney said, as she recalled thinking of her upcoming abortion, "This feels wrong, but it's legal, so it's got to be okay.'"
Lifelong civil rights activist Alveda King fights alongside Silent No More. She said activism can convince others abortion's not okay.
"Get out there," King encouraged. "Hold your sign, do your prayer, sing your song, ask people to keep their children. I know for a fact that lives are saved when we do that."