The Journal Gazette
Saturday, January 22, 2022 1:00 am

At DC anti-abortion rally, hopes rise for future ruling

Associated Press

WASHINGTON – The annual anti-abortion rally in the nation's capital sounded more like a victory celebration Friday as speaker after speaker expressed a growing sense of optimism that their long-sought goal was finally in reach: a sweeping rollback of abortion rights in America.

Thousands of anti-abortion protesters rallied in the bitter cold and then marched to the Supreme Court, which has indicated it will allow states to impose tighter restrictions on abortion with a ruling in the coming months – and possibly overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that affirmed the constitutional right to an abortion.

“It doesn't feel real. There's so much hope and vibrancy and happiness and joy at this thing,” said Jordan Moorman of Cincinnati. “I really do believe that we're in a post-Roe generation.”

The annual March for Life rally, held one day before the 49th anniversary of the Roe decision, took place amid a COVID-19 surge that limited turnout at the National Mall. Some abortion opponents posted on the event's Facebook page that they would not attend because of COVID-19 vaccine mandates for people going to restaurants and other places in the District of Columbia.

Still, the rally drew a crowd of thousands, with a heavy contingent of young people and students bussed in by schools and church groups. The mood was overwhelmingly upbeat, with many treating the end of Roe v. Wade as inevitable.

Jeanne Mancini, president of the March for Life Education and Defense Fund, told the crowd that Roe is not settled law and “we are hoping and praying that this year, 2022, will bring a historic change for life.”

“If Roe falls, the battle lines will change, but make no mistake the fight for life will need to continue in the states and here in D.C.,” Mancini said.

The Rev. Andrew Rudmann, a Catholic priest from New Orleans, was attending his 11th event. “Hopefully this will be the last March for Life,” he said.

Rudmann said previous marches may have had larger crowds but he doesn't recall this level of optimism. He said the crowds grew “gigantic” under former President Donald Trump and the movement's enthusiasm grew with each Trump Supreme Court appointee. He proudly pointed out that his home Archdiocese of New Orleans includes the Catholic high school that educated Trump's last appointee, Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett.

“Sometimes I would come to the March and it would be great to be united with people who share my beliefs, but there would also be this heaviness,” he said. “This time the whole language and vibe is different.”

After the rally, the crowd marched to the Supreme Court with chants that included: “We love babies, yes we do, we love babies, how 'bout you?” and “Hey hey, ho ho, Roe v. Wade has got to go!”

Abortion rights groups worry that at least 26 states are in line to further limit abortion access if Roe is weakened or overturned. In December, the court indicated in a major case that it would uphold a Mississippi ban on abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, and allow states to ban abortion even earlier. The Mississippi case directly challenges Roe.

Courts have also dealt Texas abortion providers a string of defeats over efforts to block a law that since September has banned abortions once cardiac activity is detected, which is usually around six weeks and before some women know they are pregnant.

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