News ID: 264823
Published: 1127 GMT January 25, 2020

Protesters call for end to abortion at Washington rally

Protesters call for end to abortion at Washington rally
PETE MAROVICH/THE NEW YORK TIMES
Anti-abortion activists are pictured in Washington, D.C., US, on January 24, 2019.

America’s largest annual anti-abortion protest drew tens of thousands of people to Washington, D.C., in one of the most precarious years in decades for reproductive rights.

The March for Life demonstration has been organized since 1973 and Roe vs. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion nationally. In the decades since, the march has become a tradition for many with a conservative or religious objection to abortion, a ritual they hope will return America to a time when abortion was clandestine, even as many countries around the world liberalize abortion laws, the Guardian reported.

“I’m very passionately Catholic, and so it goes against everything I’ve ever been taught in my life,” said Shawna Queen, a mother from Portsmouth, Ohio, who brought three generations of her family with her. She started to cry while describing abortion.

“I just think it’s a travesty that we kill the unborn,” she said.

Attendance hit a high-water mark in 2009, just after Barack Obama’s inauguration. But this year will hold special significance for many.

Where once there was doubt about Donald Trump’s anti-abortion bona fides — he once called himself “very pro-choice” — that has long been forgotten, at least publicly.

Trump this year became the first president ever to address the march in person. In previous years, Mike Pence, the vice-president, attended, and Trump relayed video messages to attendees.

The president’s administration is responsible for putting abortion rights on exceptionally shaky ground. A conservative-leaning supreme court, with two justices of Trump’s choosing, is set to hear its first abortion case in March.

A majority of Americans still support abortion rights, and oppose efforts to overturn Roe vs Wade: Those opinions have shifted little in the decades since abortion was legalized. However, where supporters of reproductive rights considered the issue a settled matter, opponents saw Roe as a target to aim at.

Emboldened by Trump’s anti-abortion rhetoric, states have worked to overturn Roe vs. Wade and undermined states’ rights and services along the way.

A wave of the strictest anti-abortion laws in decades swept across the South and Midwest last year. Many laws banned abortion at the sixth week, before most women know they are pregnant. The laws are all unconstitutional, as long as Roe stands, and none have gone into effect.

“My hope is there will be a law that will not allow abortion to continue happening,” said Gladys Kohr, who came to the march in a full-sized bus wrapped in pro-Trump images. Abortion “should be illegal”, she said.

Kohr said she would support punishment for women who have abortions, and doctors who perform them — “something very severe”. But she said women should be given information about abortion before being allowed to undergo the procedure.

 

 

 

   
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