Marchers descended on Washington DC in busloads from across the United States, braving freezing temperatures to protest the country’s abortion laws at the annual 49th March for Life.
“The largest annual pro-life event in the country marks the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision, the 1973 Supreme Court ruling which legalized abortion nationwide,” Catholic News Agency reported on the Jan. 21 gathering.
CNA said a mid-day, a pre-march rally was headlined with a passionate speech by “Bible in a Year” podcast star Father Mike Schmitz when the size of the crowd had swelled into the tens of thousands.
“The possibility that the country’s highest court later this year might strike down the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion nationwide — and sparked the first March for Life 49 years ago,” said CNA.
“It lent a festive, anticipatory air to the day’s rituals, culminating in a walk up Constitution Avenue to the steps of the Supreme Court.”
The Guardian newspaper said, “Tens of thousands march for life’ in Washington as fate of Roe v Wade looms.”
“The event attracted a large and enthusiastic crowd, priests, pastors, and busloads of high school students, among them. Together after the rally, they marched to the Supreme Court singing hymns and chanting ‘Hey hey, ho ho, Roe v Wade has got to go!’ reported the Guardian.
The New York Times reported, “The tension this year was higher for both sides in the abortion debate as they await the court’s ruling on a Mississippi law that bans abortion after 15 weeks. The Roe decision forbade states to ban abortion before a fetus becomes viable, or roughly 22 weeks.”
The newspaper reported that at oral arguments in December, “the court’s six conservative justices signaled that they were inclined to uphold the Mississippi law. Several justices indicated they were willing to go further and overturn the Roe decision entirely.”
‘OVERTURN ROE VS WADE’
On Jan. 21, pro-life advocates expressed optimism that the Supreme Court will soon overturn Roe v. Wade, as thousands gathered in Washington, said Christian Headlines.
At the year’s rally, speakers included actor Kirk Cameron and “Duck Dynasty” star Lisa Robertson, among others.
“We are hoping and praying that this year, 2022, will bring a historic change for life,” Jeanne Mancini, the president of the March for Life Defense and Education Fund that organizes the march. told the crowd.
Some signs at the rally read “I am the post-Roe generation” and “The future is anti-abortion,” the Guardian reported.
Praising followers for standing against what she called the “single-most critical rights abuse of our time,” Mancini said they sent a clear message to the Supreme Court: “Roe is not settled law.”
Groups that support abortion rights, too, were anticipating that the 49th anniversary of the Roe decision could also be the last, reported The New York Times.
“All week, they held events underscoring the ways the Roe decision has advanced the health and economic security of women and families, and warning of the risks if the court strikes it down,” said the Times reported.
The Guardian said that although the anti-abortion movement has made significant legal and policy gains in recent decades, public opinion polls have consistently found that most Americans believe abortion should be legal in all or some circumstances.
“If Roe falls, the battle lines will change,” Mancini said. “But make no mistake, the fight for life will need to continue in the states.”
At the White House, press secretary Jen Psaki noted the anniversary of Roe v Wade during her press briefing, saying that “reproductive healthcare has been under extreme and relentless assault ever since, especially in recent months.”
‘COMMITTED TO ABORTION RIGHTS’
She said President Joe Biden’s administration was committed to working with Congress to pass a federal law enshrining into law a woman’s right to an abortion.
The Democratic-controlled House passed the bill last year, but it remains stalled in the Senate, facing a Republican filibuster.
“We’re deeply committed to making sure everyone has access to care, and we will defend it with every tool we have,” Psaki said.
At the rally, the presence of Make America Great Again hats was a reminder of the mutually beneficial relationship forged between Christian conservatives and Donald Trump, who became the first sitting president to attend the event in 2020, the Guardian said.
Trump had two decades earlier declared himself “pro-choice in every respect.”