Oregon Right to Life has postponed the state’s annual March for Life because of spiking COVID-19 rates and soaring political tensions.

Lois Anderson, executive director of Oregon Right to Life, said in a Jan. 11 release that she made the decision after “consideration, counsel, and prayer.”

Counter-protesters have often tried to disrupt the pro-life event, Anderson said, but the pandemic plus recent violence in Portland, at the Oregon Capitol and at the U.S. Capitol have increased concerns.

“Fringe elements on both sides of the political spectrum have been turning orderly events into dangerous spectacles,” Anderson said. “The safety of our advocates, staff, and volunteers has and will continue to be our primary concern.”

Anderson said the annual march is a protest against Oregon’s abortion laws but also a peaceful memorial for the 61 million lives lost to legal abortion.

“It would be tragic to have the event co-opted by people who want to push their own political agendas,” she said. “Worse still if, in their struggle, our innocent advocates were hurt.”

Anderson hopes to reschedule the event for the spring. An online event is being planned for Jan. 23 in place of the march.