The March for Life, bringing many thousands of people to Washington DC each year to protest abortion, is to be virtual this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and security concerns.
A statement posted at marchforlife.org asks participants to stay home this year and join the march virtually, The Alabama Baptist reported.
"For the first time since 1974, when it first began, the message of the national March for Life to participants is: Stay home," Catholic News Service reported.
The announcement was made after the National Park Service announced it is closing the National Mall through Inauguration Day on Jan. 20 due to security concerns following riots at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.
A statement posted at marchforlife.org asked participants to stay home this year and join the march virtually.
America Magazine, the Jesuit Review ran a story headlined, "Dear March for Life organizers: Thank you for canceling the in-person march."
The march protests the 1973 Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade, the mantra of the prochoice movement, that supports the right to abortion.
The Jan. 29 march, which has been held each January since 1974 on the Mall, will be streamed online, except for a small group of antiabortion leaders who will march to the Supreme Court that day, the group said in a statement, The Washington Post reported.
The marchers "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."
Groups like the March for Life have been strong supporters of President Donald Trump and believe his selection of three conservative Supreme Court justices — as well as hundreds of conservative lower court judges — will lead to significant legal limits on abortion.
In one of his last official acts as president, Trump issued an executive order on Jan. 18 identifying scores of historical figures to be honored in the new National Garden of American Heroes, among them March for Life founder Nellie Gray and famous radio and television preacher Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, Lifesite News reported.
Trump ordered the creation of the new national park in July 2020, announcing that it would be a "vast outdoor park that will feature the statues of the greatest Americans to ever live."
The March for Life statement said, "The protection of all of those who participate in the annual March, as well as the many law enforcement personnel and others who work tirelessly each year to ensure a safe and peaceful event, is a top priority of the March for Life.
"In light of the fact that we are in the midst of a pandemic which may be peaking, and in view of the heightened pressures that law enforcement officers and others are currently facing in and around the Capitol, this year's March for Life will look different."