March for Life returns to DC with new post-Roe v. Wade focus


Movement leaders say they plan to warn Congress towards making any try to curtail the a number of anti-abortion legal guidelines imposed final 12 months in a dozen completely different states.

People take part within the March for Life exterior the U.S. Supreme Court on Capitol Hill in Washington, Jan. 21, 2022. The annual March for Life might be held Friday, Jan. 20, 2023. AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File

WASHINGTON (AP) — One 12 months in the past, the annual March for Life protest towards authorized abortion came about in Washington amid a temper of undisguised triumph. With a recent conservative majority on the Supreme Court, 1000’s of marchers braved bitterly chilly climate to rejoice the seemingly inevitable fall of Roe v. Wade.

Now, with the constitutional proper to abortion not the rule of the land, the March for Life returns Friday with a brand new focus. Instead of concentrating their consideration on the Supreme Court, the marchers plan to focus on the constructing immediately throughout the road: the U.S. Capitol.

Movement leaders say they plan to warn Congress towards making any try to curtail the a number of anti-abortion legal guidelines imposed final 12 months in a dozen completely different states.

“This year will be a somber reminder of the millions of lives lost to abortion in the past 50 years, but also a celebration of how far we have come and where we as a movement need to focus our effort as we enter this new era in our quest to protect life,” Jeanne Mancini, president of March for Life Education and Defense Fund, mentioned in an announcement.

Some motion leaders additionally hope to plant seeds in Congress for a possible federal abortion restriction down the road. Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of SBA Pro-Life America, mentioned she envisions an eventual “federal minimum standard” cut-off line akin to 13 weeks of being pregnant after which abortion wouldn’t be permitted in any state. Dannenfelser’s situation would nonetheless depart particular person states free to impose their very own, stricter measures, together with a complete ban.

That final ambition is an admitted longshot since even when it passes the newly Republican-controlled House of Representatives, it might almost certainly fail within the Democratic-held Senate.

“We know it’s not going to happen this session, but this is the beginning,” Dannenfelser mentioned. “It’s (Congress’) responsibility to listen to the will of the people.”

In allow purposes to the National Park Service, protest organizers estimated 50,000 individuals this 12 months, about the identical dimension as earlier marches.

In the absence of Roe v. Wade’s federal protections, abortion rights have develop into a state-by-state patchwork.

Since June, near-total bans on abortion have been carried out in Alabama, Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas and West Virginia. Legal challenges are pending towards a number of of these bans.

Elective abortions are also unavailable in Wisconsin, as a result of authorized uncertainties confronted by abortion clinics, and in North Dakota, the place the lone clinic relocated to Minnesota.

Bans handed by lawmakers in Ohio, Indiana and Wyoming have been blocked by state courts whereas authorized challenges are pending. And in South Carolina, the state Supreme Court on Jan. 5 struck down a ban on abortion after six weeks, ruling the restriction violates a state constitutional proper to privateness.

But different states have witnessed surprising pushback on the problem. Voters in Kansas and Kentucky rejected constitutional amendments that may have declared there isn’t a proper to abortion; Michigan voters accredited an modification enshrining the correct to abortion within the state structure.

President Joe Biden’s administration has restricted choices within the wake of the Supreme Court choice. Vice President Kamala Harris is scheduled to give a speech in Florida on Sunday, the fiftieth anniversary of the unique Roe v. Wade ruling, to emphasise that abortion rights stay a core focus for the administration.

“The vice president will make very clear: The fight to secure women’s fundamental right to reproductive health care is far from over,” mentioned an announcement from Kirsten Allen, a Harris spokesperson. “She will lay out the consequences of extremist attacks on reproductive freedom in states across our country and underscore the need for Congress to codify Roe.”

According to an Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research ballot performed in July, 53% of U.S. adults mentioned they disapproved of the Supreme Court’s repeal of Roe, whereas 30% accredited.

Dannenfelser disputes these numbers and says that whereas blanket abortion bans are a divisive problem amongst voters, restricted restrictions akin to a ban after the primary trimester of being pregnant are “wildly popular” in each purple and blue states.

Anti-abortion activists even have their eye on the upcoming 2024 presidential elections and are basically vetting potential candidates over their views on the problem. Dannenfelser mentioned she met just lately with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a possible main Republican candidate, and got here away “incredibly impressed,” however mentioned it was nonetheless too early for her group to endorse anybody.

She predicted that there might be some “fault lines” amongst Republican presidential contenders over abortion rights and protections, however warned that any candidate perceived as being mushy on the problem could have “disqualified him or herself as a presidential candidate in our eyes, and having done so has very little chance of winning the nomination.”

David Crary contributed from New York City.

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