WASHINGTON -- This week, America marked 40 years of nationwide legalized abortion, thanks to a 1973 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court legalizing the procedure.
The landmark Roe vs. Wade ruling has led to the death of 55 million unborn babies but also to a growing movement dedicated to ending the deadly practice.
Hundreds of thousands of people in that movement showed that dedication Friday at the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C.
As pro-life marchers from all over the nation gathered on the National Mall, they had some victories to celebrate. For instance, today there are many fewer abortion clinics.
According to AbortionDoc.org, there were more than 2,100 in 1991. Now there are only 660 remaining.
In fact, the country could soon have several abortion-free states. Five -- Arkansas, Wyoming, both Dakotas, and Mississippi -- have just one clinic left.
These days there are 25 percent fewer abortions than a couple of decades ago. In the early 1990s, there were 1.6 million a year. Now they're down to 1.2 million and holding.
While the number of abortions is down, the number of American youth who are pro-life is up -- a good sign for the future health of the movement.
Jeanne Monahan, the 40-year-old new director of the March for Life Education and Defense, also sees hope at the state level.
"Almost 200 positive pro-life bills have been enacted in the last three years alone at the level of the states," she said. "So I think we're seeing a new time where we're winning one young person and one state at a time."
One of those pro-life young people, 19-year-old Rueben Verastigui with the San Antonio Coalition for Life, said he began researching online "what abortion was, how it looked, and I knew I had to do something about it."
"So I began falling more in love with the movement and I knew I just wanted to change this nation and abolish abortion one day," he said.
But pro-lifers also realize they still have a long way to go.
When asked if the Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion should be completely overturned, 63 percent of Americans still say no. Just 29 percent said yes.
As Friday's overwhelmingly Christian crowd came to march, they knew abortion is as much a problem in the Church as out.
AbortionDocs.org reported that 65 percent of women getting abortion say they're Christians, with 37 percent of them Protestant and 28 percent Catholic.
Pro-lifers also know research shows many of these women who take their baby's life will suffer psychological and emotional wounds for years.
"Abortion actually takes the life of one and hurts the other," Monahan said.
She added that the 55 million abortions have given this nation "a huge amount of people who are walking wounded from having made this choice."