Anti-abortion activists will have multiple reasons to celebrate — and some reasons for unease — when they gather Friday in Washington for the annual March for Life.
The march, which includes a rally drawing abortion opponents from across the nation, has been held annually since January 1974 — a year after the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision established a nationwide right to abortion.
This year’s gathering — 50 years after that decision — will be the first since the high court struck down Roe in a momentous ruling last June.
Since then, 12 Republican-governed states have implemented sweeping bans on abortion, and several others seek to do the same. But those moves have been offset by other developments. Abortion opponents were defeated in votes on ballot measures in Kansas, Michigan and Kentucky. State courts have blocked several bans from taking effect. And myriad efforts are underway to help women in abortion-ban states either get abortions out of state or use the abortion pill for self-managed abortions.
“It’s almost like the old wild, wild West … everything is still shaking out,” said Carol Tobias, president of the National Right to Life Committee.
With numerous Democratic-governed states taking steps to protect and expand abortion access, Tobias likened the current situation to the pre-Civil War era when the nation was closely divided between free states and slave states.