January 22nd

National Sanctity of Human Life Day -

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Sanctity of Human Life Day is a day dedicated to honoring and cherishing the worth and dignity inherent in every human life. Commemorated for the first time in 1984 under the presidency of Ronald Reagan, it’s celebrated on the anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court decision, Roe v. Wade.

The day sparks dialogue about various aspects of human life, including abortion. Its primary aim is to reinforce the importance of respect for life from the moment of conception to natural death. Advocates for the pro-life movement, along with those who hold the belief in the sacredness and inviolability of human life, often use this day to consolidate their efforts.

History of National Sanctity of Human Life Day

National Sanctity of Human Life Day has been recognized by multiple U.S. Presidents while in office. It’s observed annually on the 22nd of January, with its first acknowledgement coming in 1984. Some also know it as Pro-Life Day.

Its origins can be traced back to when U.S. President Ronald Reagan made an official proclamation on January 13, 1984, that the 22nd of January should be known as National Sanctity of Human Life Day. This date was selected to coincide with the 11th anniversary of the Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade, which effectively legalized abortion across the U.S.

Reagan’s proclamation stated that the day should be used to reflect on the sacredness of human life and our moral obligation to protect this right for all individuals, including the unborn. Reagan had strong beliefs about unborn life rights, which this day reflects.

Subsequent recognition of this day depends largely on the views of the acting U.S. president. For example, Republican presidents like Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and George W. Bush have all recognized the day, while Democrat presidents such as Bill Clinton and Barack Obama have not.

This day, despite its political affiliations, is used by communities and organizations to spark discussions on a variety of life topics, encompassing human rights, bioethics, adoption, disability rights, prenatal development, and support for pregnant women and the unborn. It acts as a motivator to protect human life at every stage.

National Sanctity of Human Life Day Timeline

Roe v. Wade Case

The U.S. Supreme Court acknowledges the constitutional right to abortion.

Reagan's Official Declaration

Ronald Reagan proclaims January 22 as National Sanctity of Human Life Day.

Changed Under Clinton Administration

President Bill Clinton suspends the practice of issuing National Sanctity of Human Life Day proclamations.

Reinstated by George W. Bush

President George W. Bush reinstates the practice of issuing National Sanctity of Human Life Day proclamations annually.

Suspended Again during Barack Obama's Presidency

President Barack Obama suspends the practice once again, no proclamations during his presidency.

Reinstated by Donald Trump

President Donald Trump reinstates the practice of issuing National Sanctity of Human Life Day proclamations.

Continuation of the Tradition

The tradition of declaring National Sanctity of Human Life Day continues.

Ideas to Celebrate National Sanctity of Human Life Day

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Host a Community Event

Put together a public meetup that creates an environment for exchanging thoughts and beliefs about the sanctity of human life. This can incorporate workshops, debates, dynamic speakers, and open conversations, providing an engaging platform for people to learn and understand its significance.

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Charity Fundraiser

Set up a charitable fundraising event that supports causes like mental health, family support services, adoption centers, and other organizations working towards upholding and protecting the dignity of human life.

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Educational Exhibition

Set up an exhibit showcasing various forms of arts such as paintings, literature or multimedia presentations that represent the preciousness of human life. Involve local schools, art clubs, and communities in the activities.

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Volunteer at a Local Shelter

Plan a day dedicated to volunteering at a homeless shelter, an orphanage or a retirement home, illustrating the value and nobleness of every phase of human life.

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Reflection and Respect Walk

Plan a community walk or run as a symbolic stance against violence and to promote peace and respect for all human beings, specifically remembering those lives lost to violence or neglect.

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Life-Affirming Movie Night

Plan a movie event presenting films that uphold the importance and value of human life. After the movie, start a discussion for individuals to ponder over the teachings and lessons learned from it.

6 Interesting Facts About National Sanctity of Human Life Day


A Presidential Proclamation

In 1984, the 11th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court ruling was marked with the first proclamation of National Sanctity of Human Life Day. The proclamation was made by President Ronald Reagan.


Reiteration by Different Presidents

The day isn't automatically recognized each year. However, right-leaning presidents, such as George Bush, George W. Bush, and Donald Trump, have issued proclamations marking National Sanctity of Human Life Day, following in Reagan's footsteps.


Focus on Abortion Debate

National Sanctity of Human Life Day centers largely around discussions on abortion. Observers of the day uphold the belief in the sanctity of life from conception.


Efforts Beyond Abortion

Although it's often linked to abortion, National Sanctity of Human Life Day also calls for respect for and protection of life at all stages, including the elderly, disabled, and those suffering from terminal illness.


Church Involvement

Many American churches actively acknowledge National Sanctity of Human Life Day. They conduct special services, awareness activities, and raise funds to stress the importance of every human life.


Not a Public Holiday

Whilst it may be officially declared by different Presidents, National Sanctity of Human Life Day isn't a public holiday. Essentially, this means that on this day, businesses, educational institutions, and government offices operate as usual.

National Sanctity of Human Life Day FAQs

Next National Sanctity of Human Life Day Dates

Year Date Day
2023 January 22nd Sunday
2024 January 22nd Monday
2025 January 22nd Wednesday
2026 January 22nd Thursday
2027 January 22nd Friday
What is the pattern? Every January 22nd

National Sanctity of Human Life Day Word Search

  • Sanctity
  • Human
  • Life
  • Rights
  • Respect
  • Dignity