Post-Roe March for Life Moves Anti-Abortion Focus to Capitol 

January 20, 2023

The annual March for Life demonstration was set to take place Friday, but in a new location after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade and the Constitutional right to abortion: in front of the U.S. Capitol.

The Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade—which had been the target of the March for Life for decades—on June 24 with its ruling in Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization.

In anticipation of the Dobbs ruling, the Democratic-led Senate voted last May on the Women’s Health Protection Act, which sought to “protect a person’s ability to determine whether to continue or end a pregnancy, and to protect a health care provider’s ability to provide abortion services.” It failed by a vote of 49-51.

Already this year, the Republican-led House passed 220-210 the “Born Alive” bill, which would require health care providers to try to preserve the life of an infant in the rare case that a baby is born alive during or after an attempted abortion. While it was not expected to be taken up by the Senate, it was meant to serve as a a messaging opportunity for the House GOP.

March for Life leaders say their plan for Friday’s demonstration is to warn Congress against making any attempt to curtail the multiple anti-abortion laws imposed last year in a dozen different states.

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. Legal challenges are pending against several of those bans.

Consequently, following the loss of Roe v Wade’s federal protections, abortion rights have become a state-by-state assortment, as well. 

Bans passed by lawmakers in Ohio, Indiana and Wyoming have been blocked by state courts while legal challenges are pending. On January 5 South Carolina’s state Supreme Court struck down a ban on abortion after six weeks, ruling the restriction violates a state constitutional right to privacy.

Meanwhile, voters in Kansas and Kentucky rejected constitutional amendments that would have declared there is no right to abortion, and Michigan voters approved an amendment enshrining the right to abortion in the state constitution.

March for Life has also ramped up its network of state events while many groups, including the Catholic high schools that traditionally send busloads of students to DC, still plan to be at the anti-abortion demonstration in front of the Capitol.

By contrast, Vice President Harris is scheduled to give a speech in Florida on Sunday to mark the 50th anniversary of Roe v Wade, emphasizing that abortion rights remain a core focus of the Biden Administration—despite its limited options in the wake of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Dobbs.

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