January 22: Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children

January 22 is a day we recall with sadness, but now it is also a day of hope. On this day in 1973, the Supreme Court of the United States of America legalized abortion in our country. Forty-six years later, the pro-life generation is gaining even more momentum and the combined voice of those who stand up for life is growing louder. January 22 is now observed as the Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children.

According to the USCCB, “The General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM), no. 373, designates January 22 as a particular day of prayer and penance, called the ‘Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children’: ‘In all the Dioceses of the United States of America, January 22 (or January 23, when January 22 falls on a Sunday) shall be observed as a particular day of prayer for the full restoration of the legal guarantee of the right to life and of penance for violations to the dignity of the human person committed through acts of abortion.’”

Here are some examples of ways to participate in this day of prayer and penance:

  • Pray some pro-life prayers
  • Peacefully pray outside a local abortion clinic
  • Fast or make some small act of penance today
  • Join in the USCCB 9 Days for Life digital movement
  • Spend time in prayer for the protection of human life
  • Read more about how to help those who are considering abortion

On this solemn anniversary of Roe v. Wade, we pray for the protection of unborn children in their mothers’ wombs, but we also realize that the respect of all human life depends on our prayer and action every day. Consider how you can reach out to help a mother facing a crisis pregnancy, visit a sick or elderly person, give food and warmth to the homeless, welcome immigrants in your community, and care for all of God’s children—regardless of age, race, gender, religion, or ability. Each and every person is cherished by God, and we must be His hands and feet.

“America, your deepest identity and truest character as a nation is revealed in the position you take towards the human person. The ultimate test of your greatness is the way you treat every human being, but especially the weakest and most defenseless ones. The best traditions of your land presume respect for those who cannot defend themselves. If you want equal justice for all, and true freedom and lasting peace, then, America, defend life!” – Saint John Paul II, farewell address during 1987 apostolic journey to the United States