Anti-abortion protesters poured into Washington from across the country on Friday for the annual March for Life, a ceremony that this year has a hopeful celebratory tone as they predict the Supreme Court will overturned the decision to establish the right to half abortion. century ago.
Marchers have traveled to Washington by bus every January since 1974, a year after the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade to establish nationwide abortion rights. Tensions are higher this year for both sides in the abortion debate as they await a court ruling on a Mississippi law banning abortions after 15 weeks. Roe’s decision barred states from banning abortions before a fetus becomes viable, or around 22 weeks.
At oral arguments in December, the court’s six conservative judges signaled that they were inclined to uphold Mississippi law. Several judges said they were willing to go further and completely overturn Roe’s decision.
“I feel this year could be the year,” said Laura Nunez, a 28-year-old account manager from Philadelphia, as she gathered with other marchers on the National Mall. “If that happens, it will be a great win for all of us.”
Crowds, dressed in thick coats and wrapped in scarves in freezing temperatures, began gathering hours before the protest began at noon.
Jeanne Mancini, president of the March for Life and Education Fund, which has organized the march since 1974, told the crowd: “We hope and pray that this year, 2022, will bring about a historic turn of events. for life.
The theme of this year’s march is “equality begins in the womb” and speakers at the two-hour rally likened their cause to Black Lives Matter and the fight for equality. gender equality. Ms. Mancini called the march “the largest human rights demonstration in the world,” and that abortion was the “ultimate form of discrimination.” Martin Luther King Jr.: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
Father Mike Schmitz, a Catholic priest from Duluth, Minn., who hosts a series of YouTube videos and podcasts about the Bible, sent crowds to march to lobby on Capitol Hill, saying, “Everybody every child is important, every woman is important, everyone matters. ” To cheer, he added, “You matter.”
Abortion rights groups also predict that the 49th anniversary of Roe’s decision on Saturday could well be the last. All week, they have been holding events to highlight how Roe’s decision has enhanced the health and economic security of women and their families, and warned of the risks if a court sanctioned them. it.
On Thursday night, abortion rights group Catholic for Choice projected messages in the light next to the National Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Northeast Washington, Catholic Church. largest church in North America, as anti-abortion marchers gathered inside for all-night vigils. Messages on the basilica’s tower note that one in four women who have abortions are Catholic, and 68% of Catholics in a Pew poll support Roe’s decision. “Catholics choose to support, you are not alone,” read one.
Catholics’ opinions mirror that of Americans more broadly: 59% in a Pew poll said abortion should be legal in all or most cases, and 39% said that it must be illegal. Opinions have remained relatively steady since Roe’s decision, but partisan divisions have become wider. More Democrats and fewer Republicans say abortion should be legal.
According to the Guttmacher Institute, which advocates for abortion rights, legislation in 26 states would ban abortion immediately if a court overturns Roe, a swath of land that extends from Idaho and Arizona in the West to Ohio and Florida and includes 36 million women of reproductive age.
Other states have rushed to pass laws restricting abortions, except in the early weeks of pregnancy – before many women realize they are pregnant.
Abortion Status in the United States
According to Guttmacher, the number of abortions in the United States has decreased since Roe — with 862,000 performed in clinics in 2017, according to Guttmacher. But those drops are largely due to a drop in pregnancy. Studies show that reversing the decision will primarily affect poor women, women of color, and mothers-to-be.
Ms. Mancini, president of March for Life, accused abortion rights groups of fearing the risks if Roe fell. In interviews before the march, she argued that overturning the decision would only return the question of abortion rights to the states, to decide according to the wishes of their citizens.
Abortion rights advocates say the consequences of overturning Roe will be severe and long-lasting for women and children.
Diana Greene Foster, author of the Turning Point Study, which followed approximately 1,000 women from across the United States over a five-year period – those who had abortions and those who could not – note that women who had to continuing their pregnancies often has life-threatening complications and poor health for many years. Over five years, women who were denied abortions were four times more likely to live below the federal poverty line and three times more likely to be unemployed. 90% of those women, she said, chose to raise children and were more likely to be exposed to an abusive partner.
Dr Foster, professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of California, San Francisco, said: “People are making careful decisions when deciding to have an abortion. “They say they can’t have a child, and we see them getting poorer and poorer. They say they need to take care of their current kids, and their current kids will be worse off. “
While speakers at the rally were optimistic that the court would choose to oust Roe this summer, many marchers said they would continue to attend future rallies to press for a complete ban. nationwide.
Doug Winne, 69, and Ruth Winne, 65, drove two hours from Lancaster, Pa., to this year’s rally. They have attended March for Life regularly for about 35 years, and Mr. Winne said he was encouraged by the number of young people attending.
Staring at the crowd around him, Mr Winne said he hoped that young people would continue to fight to end abortion. “We are clearly on the older end,” said Mr. Winne. “It’s an encouragement that this is not just something that we, as 60-year-olds, are concerned about.”
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/21/us/march-for-life-rally.html March for Life Rally opens with eyes at the Supreme Court