The March for Life returns on Friday with renewed focus, now that the constitutional right to abortion is no longer the state’s rule. Instead of turning their attention to the Supreme Court, the marchers plan to target the United States Capitol, the building directly across the street.
Movement leaders say they plan to warn Congress against trying to roll back multiple anti-abortion laws imposed in a dozen different states last year.
“This year will be a sad reminder of the millions of lives lost to abortion over the past 50 years, but at the same time a reminder of how far we have come and where we are as a movement as we enter this new era. It’s also a year to celebrate what needs to be put in. Gene Mancini, president of the March for Life Education and Defense Fund, said in a statement:
Some movement leaders also hope to sow the seeds in Congress about possible federal abortion restrictions in the future. Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of SBA Pro-Life America, said she envisions an eventual “federal minimum standard” cut-off line, such as no state permitting abortion after 13 weeks of gestation. In the Dannenfelser scenario, individual states are free to impose their own stricter measures, including outright bans.
The last ambition is a long shot granted, as even if it does get through the Republican-controlled House, it will most likely fail in the Democratic-controlled Senate.
“I know it won’t happen in this session, but this is the start,” said Danenfelser. “It is (the parliament’s) responsibility to listen to the will of the people.”
In a permit application to the National Park Service, protest organizers estimated 50,000 participants this year, about the same size as the last march.
Without Roe v. Wade’s federal protections, abortion rights are a patchwork state by state.
Since June, near-total bans on abortion have been implemented in Alabama, Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas and West Virginia. I was. Legal challenges are pending against some of these bans.
Elective abortion is also not available in Wisconsin because abortion clinics face legal uncertainty. In North Dakota, the only clinic relocated to Minnesota.
The bans passed by legislators in Ohio, Indiana and Wyoming have been stayed by state courts pending legal challenges. And in South Carolina, on January 5, the state Supreme Court ruled against abortion six weeks after her, saying the restriction violated the state’s constitutional right to privacy. made a judgment.
Other states, however, have seen an unexpected backlash on the issue. Voters in Kansas and Kentucky rejected constitutional amendments declaring there was no right to abortion. Michigan voters approved an amendment to the state constitution that would grant abortion rights.
President Joe Biden’s administration has limited options following the Supreme Court ruling. Vice President Kamala Harris, who will deliver a speech in Florida on Sunday to mark her 50th anniversary from the original Roe v. Wade decision, will emphasize that abortion rights remain a central focus of her administration.
“The Vice President makes it very clear that the fight to secure women’s fundamental right to reproductive health care is not over yet,” Harris’ spokeswoman Kirsten Allen said in a statement. “She will explain the consequences of militant attacks on reproductive freedom in states across the country and underscore the need for Congress to codify her Roe.”
A July poll by the Associated Press and the NORC Public Relations Center found that 53% of American adults disapprove of the Supreme Court’s repeal of the Roe, while 30% supported it.
Dannenfelser disputes these figures, saying that while a blanket abortion ban is a divisive issue among voters, limited restrictions, such as a ban after the first trimester of pregnancy, are in red and blue states. both said it was “extremely popular”.
Anti-abortion activists are also eyeing the 2024 presidential election, essentially scrutinizing candidates for their views on the issue. Danenfelser said she recently met with potential Republican frontrunner Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and said she was “incredibly impressed”, but she doesn’t believe her organization endorses anyone. said it was still too early.
She predicted that there would be several “fault lines” among Republican presidential candidates over abortion rights and protections, but candidates deemed weak on the issue were “not presidents in our eyes.” You will be disqualified as a candidate,” he warned. Then you have very little chance of winning a nomination. ”
David Crary contributed from New York City.