WASHINGTON. Anti-abortion protesters began gathering Friday in the nation’s capital in high spirits and with a sense that the country has reached a turning point that could lead to a dramatic reversal of abortion rights in many states.
The March for Life, an annual anti-abortion protest for decades, is taking place this year as the Supreme Court has indicated it will allow states to impose tighter restrictions on abortion with a decision in the coming months – and possibly overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade case. of the year. A ruling affirming the constitutional right to abortion.
“It doesn’t feel real. There is so much hope, energy, happiness and joy in this,” said Jordan Moorman of Cincinnati. “I really believe we’re living in a generation after Rowe.”
The rally, held on the anniversary of Roe’s decision, comes amid a surge in COVID-19 that is expected to limit turnout at the National Mall. Some anti-abortion activists posted on the event’s Facebook page that they would not be attending due to mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for people visiting restaurants and other places in D.C.
The pandemic hasn’t dampened the optimism of the resurgent anti-abortion movement, which sees a new Texas law banning most abortions as a sign of things to come, and who say they’re not done fighting for restrictions even if a conservative majority of the Supreme Court rules in their favor at the end of it. of the year.
According to abortion rights groups, at least 26 states are ready to further restrict access to abortion if Row is weakened or abolished. In December, the court indicated in a major case that it would uphold Mississippi’s ban on abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy and allow states to ban abortion even earlier. The Mississippi case directly challenges Roe.
For months, the courts have dealt a series of defeats to Texas abortion providers in attempts to block a law that, since September, would ban abortions after a heart activity is detected, which usually occurs about six weeks and before some women know they are pregnant. Another loss for Texas clinics came Thursday when the Supreme Court refused to speed up an ongoing challenge to the law, which providers say is now likely to remain in place for the foreseeable future.
“This law is cruel and unconstitutional, and I am deeply disappointed that our judicial system has done very little to stop it,” said Amy Hagstrom Miller, president of Whole Woman’s Health, which operates four abortion clinics in Texas.
The Supreme Court was reshaped by three candidates from former President Donald Trump, who in 2020 became the first sitting president to speak at the March for Life. President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris had no march-related events on Friday’s schedule.
Lawmakers from both parties weighed in on Friday to commemorate the anniversary of Roe v. Wade and reflect on changing the abortion-related political landscape.
“This year has opened our eyes to the cause of life in America, and we have made significant progress in protecting our youngest and most vulnerable,” said Rep. Kevin McCarthy, House Republican leader.
“The stakes are higher than ever, and the health and autonomy of women and families across the country hangs in the balance as Republicans work to methodically challenge and topple Rowe,” Sen. Jean Shaheen, DN.H. “It’s time to sound the alarm and make it clear: the decisions about our body, our health and our future are ours.”
Democrats and abortion providers say if Rowe is ousted, they expect opponents to tighten restrictions on access to mail-order abortion drugs.
“As for what the Republicans are planning, I would not rule anything out. They’re almost arousal, kind of dizzy,” said Democratic Arizona Senator Rebecca Rios.
Mississippi Senator Joey Fillingane, a Republican who has pushed for strict abortion laws in the state, said he couldn’t attend the March for Life in Washington but was glad he and two GOP colleagues would be recognized there. There is only one abortion clinic in Mississippi, and Fillingane said the state should target access to abortion drugs next time.
Fillingane said that if Roe is repealed, he expects states to take different approaches to establishing their own abortion laws.
“I think that’s how it should be,” he said. “Laws in California based on their population and their desires can be very different from laws in Mississippi based on what our population thinks about the issue of life.”
Staff Writer Kevin Fracking contributed to this report. Weber reported from Austin, Texas. Pettus reported from Jackson, Mississippi.