March for Life protesters from across the country descended on Washington on Friday for the annual event, which took on a celebratory tone this year in anticipation of the Supreme Court overturning the landmark Roe v. Wade decision that established a constitutional right to abortion more than half a century ago.
Thousands of protesters have descended to Washington every January since 1974, the year after the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade established a federally protected right to abortion across the country. This year, both sides in the abortion issue experienced increased stress as they awaited the outcome of a Supreme Court case involving a Mississippi statute that prohibits abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy. The Roe v. Wade ruling prohibited states from prohibiting abortion before a foetus becomes viable, which is around 22 weeks after conception.
During oral arguments in December, the court’s six conservative justices indicated that they were leaning toward upholding the Mississippi law. The ruling was unanimous. More than a few justices expressed a willingness to go even farther and reject the Roe judgement in its entirety.
This year, 2022, “we are hoping and praying” that “historic change” will occur in favour of life, said Jeanne Mancini, head of the March for Life Defense and Education Fund, which has coordinated the march since 1974 and is in charge of organising the event.
As the march’s motto this year said, “equality starts in the womb,” and speakers at the two-hour protest compared their cause to Black Lives Matter and the struggle for gender equality. “Abortion is the ultimate form of prejudice,” said Ms. Mancini, who dubbed the march “the greatest human rights rally in the history of the globe.” Her words were taken from the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who said, “Injustice everywhere is a danger to justice everywhere.”
The 49th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision on Saturday, which is also the 49th anniversary of the Roe decision, was anticipated to be the last anniversary of the Roe decision. They staged activities throughout week to highlight the ways in which the Roe v. Wade decision has improved the health and economic stability of women and their families, as well as to warn of the dangers that may arise if the decision is overturned by the Supreme Court.
The views of Catholics are consistent with those of the general public: according to a Pew study, 59 percent of Americans believe abortion should be allowed in all or most situations, while 39 percent believe it should be outlawed. Since the Roe v. Wade ruling, public opinion has remained largely steady, but the party split has become more pronounced. Abortion should be legalised, according to a growing number of Democrats and fewer Republicans.
According to the Guttmacher Institute, which advocates for abortion rights, laws in 26 states would prohibit abortion immediately if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade. This represents a swath of territory that stretches from Idaho and Arizona in the West to Ohio and Florida in the East and includes 36 million women who are of reproductive age.
Since Roe v. Wade, the number of abortions done in the United States has decreased, with 862,000 abortions conducted in clinics in 2017, according to Guttmacher. However, such drops are mostly due to a decrease in the number of pregnancies. According to studies, impoverished women, women of colour, and women who are already moms would be the most negatively affected by a reversal of the decision.
Ms. Mancini, the head of the March for Life, accused abortion rights organisations of spreading false information about the dangers of Roe v. Wade. In interviews conducted before to the march, she said that reversing the ruling would merely restore the matter of abortion rights to the states, which would then make decisions based on the preferences of their constituents.
Many marchers said that they will continue to attend future protests to advocate for a full ban throughout the nation, despite the fact that the speakers at the gathering expressed optimism that the Supreme Court would decide to overturn Roe before the summer.
69-year-old Doug Winne and his wife, 65-year-old Ruth Winne, had journeyed two hours from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, to attend this year’s event. They have been attending the March for Life on a regular basis for almost 35 years, and Mr. Winne expressed his delight at the large number of younger people in attendance.
As he looked around at the audience, Mr. Winne expressed optimism that younger people will continue the battle to eliminate abortion in the future. “We’re certainly on the elder end of the spectrum,” Mr. Winne said. The fact that this isn’t simply something that we, as individuals in our 60s, are worried about gives us hope that it is.