Pro-life politicians from across the country reflected on four decades of legal abortion in America, offering prayers and the promise of renewed efforts to build a culture of life.

Newly-elected Rep. Ann Wagner (R-Mo.) said that she is "heartbroken" by all the lives that have been devastated by abortion, but also "hopeful and inspired" by the young people who represent the future of the pro-life movement.

Wagner spoke on the House floor on Jan. 22, the 40th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that effectively legalized abortion throughout America.

She lamented the 1973 ruling as "a decision that has done so much harm to the moral landscape of our nation."

Wagner explained that as a mother, "the sanctity of life is very cherished and personal to me." She recalled traveling to Washington, D.C. 23 years ago to participate in the March for Life, while pregnant with her second son.

"I knew that it was not enough to simply say that I was pro-life," she said. "I literally had to walk the walk."

Wagner was one of numerous legislators from both major political parties who spoke out in support of life on Jan. 22, voicing sorrow over four decades of legalized abortion and pledging continued action to foster respect for all human life.

"While we mourn for the babies and their mothers, we in the pro-life movement must rededicate ourselves to prayer and action to protect life," said Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.).

In a statement provided to CNA, he explained that defenders of life must "not only focus on changing our nation's laws, but also changing hearts and minds, and caring for expectant mothers and their babies."

The congressman said that he is "uplifted by the participation of so many young people" in the March for Life each year. This year's march, scheduled for Jan. 25, is expected to draw hundreds of thousands of participants, including a strong youth presence.

"With God's help, they are key to moving our nation away from the culture of death to embracing a culture of life," Lipinski stressed.

Dozens of pro-life lawmakers observed the anniversary of Roe v. Wade on social media sites.

"America knows the collective pain of abortion is a heavy burden no free and prosperous nation can carry forever," wrote Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) on Twitter.

"My belief in the sanctity of human life has deepened through my experiences as a mother, a Christian, and a nurse," Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-N.C.) posted on Facebook. She added that the anniversary of Roe v. Wade is a reminder "that every life is a precious gift from God."

Multiple legislators quoted former President Ronald Reagan, who reflected on the 10th anniversary of Roe v. Wade that "(w)e cannot diminish the value of one category of human life – the unborn – without diminishing the value of all human life."

Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) called the 1973 decision "one of America's most blatant instances of judicial activism."

In an online statement, he mourned the loss of the millions of children who "have been denied the chance to celebrate a birthday, begin kindergarten or go on to contribute their God-given talents to our world."

Rubio pledged to continue fighting for the unborn in the U.S. Senate.
"As with many of our nation's most important debates," he added, "the battlefield of this issue is in the hearts and minds of the American electorate, and I pray that we can one day live in a society that fully cherishes every life from conception until death."

Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.), a former nurse, noted all the progress that women have made in modern society.

Black is one of several pro-life legislators who will address the crowds gathered for the March for Life.

Speaking at a Jan. 22 press conference marking the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, she observed that millions of unborn women "are not here to benefit from the progress we have made and share in our hopes and dreams for the future."

"We press on with the hope that one day we will live in a country where each and every life – both born and unborn – is respected, valued and given the opportunity to pursue his or her dreams," she said.