The Sanctity of Human Life Sunday is a national day in the United States when Americans gather to focus on the value and fundamental right to life. On this day, individuals and churches gather to celebrate God's gift of life, commemorate the lives of those killed during abortion, and commit themselves to protecting life. The day is an observance declared by various U.S. presidents who were against abortion.
In January 1984, President Ronald Reagan issued a presidential decree designating Jan. 22 as the first National Sanctity of Human Life Day in the United States. This date coincided with the 11th anniversary of the Roe versus Wade Supreme Court ruling that guaranteed women in the United States access to abortion for any reason. President Reagan issued the decree annually thereafter, designating the Sanctity of Human Life Day to be the third Sunday of January, which is the Sunday closest to the original Jan. 22 date.
President Reagan's successor, President George Bush, continued the proclamation throughout his presidency, but his successor, President Bill Clinton, discontinued the practice for the years that he was in office. When President George W. Bush took over the presidency, he resumed the proclamation, which many churches continue to commemorate.