Monday, January 22, is the 51st memorial of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Roe v. Wade. With that case, the Supreme Court overrode the laws of all 50 states, legalizing abortion nationwide through all nine months of pregnancy.

Nearly half a century later later, on June 24, 2022, Roe v. Wade was overturned by the Supreme Court in a case called Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.

With Roe gone, why do we still mark the date? For several important reasons. As we experience the next phase in how America—and Michigan—handles the issue of abortion, we remind ourselves what we have won, what was lost, and we spend some time thinking about the future.

The Dobbs decision was a monumental accomplishment. Supreme Court precedents are rarely overturned. Some of the most controversial decisions in our nation’s history still haven’t been overturned. That great victory was only due to the steadfast perseverance of prolife people. We never gave up, enduring repeated calls to give up and accept abortion as normal. We instead continued spreading a message of hope: that abortion was not necessary for women; that abortion was not a positive thing; that the country didn’t have to accept abortion-on-demand as the price of freedom.

Yet the cost of Roe is so high. Since 1973, we have lost 63 million unborn children. As anyone who has lost a child or knows a child whose life was tragically cut short, the grief is palpable. Yet this most terrible of tragedies is being repeated almost a million times a year.

The cost of abortion isn’t measured in the lives of children cut short, but also of women’s lives cut short: those who died because of legalized abortion; those who suffered because they were told by society that abortion was a normal thing, and they discovered it was not; those who never wanted an abortion in the a first place, but someone else did.

The cost can be measured in many other ways for the men involved, family and friends, and even the literal cost to our nation’s economy and future.

Yet between 1973 and 2022, there were many accomplishments. While not so big as overturning a famous Supreme Court case, these faithful efforts have prevented so many tragedies. Just in Michigan, the perseverance of prolife citizens saved the lives and futures of more than 200,000 of our friends and families. That number continues growing every year. Those smaller victories over decades all led to the big one in Dobbs, and they are an example of what resilience and dedication can bring to those who dare to hold out hope.

But the past is behind us, and the uncertain future is before us. This memorial of Roe v. Wade is a reminder that we as a state—and a nation—have so much more to accomplish.

In Michigan, following the vote in Proposal 3 in 2022, abortion is practically unlimited and unrestricted. Just as in 1973, prolife citizens are being told to accept it and move on. But the Dobbs decision should be a constant reminder that change will come in the proper time—as long as we keep the faith in our mission.

Our mission moving forward is the same as it was in 1973: save lives and educate and help protect women targeted by the abortion industry. Save the lives of the unborn, as well as the elderly and disabled. Invite women to make a courageous, hopeful choice for life. Teach our nation that a culture that values life is the only one worth living in. Elect leaders who share that belief.

We can look to other states that have used the Dobbs decision as an opportunity to protect life. Just as we have been an inspiration to many of these states before Dobbs, they can inspire all of us to remember what our future can look like. Dobbs itself is just a smaller victory in our ongoing efforts as a prolife movement.

For those looking to commemorate this memorial with us, please see the list of local events hosted by Right to Life of Michigan affiliates. We encourage you to participate as a reminder of what we overcame and to motivate yourself to keep working until we remove abortion from our Michigan Constitution and reinstate our life-affirming laws.