Young Women Turn Out For Giant Anti-Abortion March

Photo: Bill Clark/Getty Images.
It’s the 42nd anniversary of Roe v. Wade, and hundreds of thousands of anti-abortion activists — many of them young people — are descending on D.C.’s National Mall to show their opposition to both the landmark 1973 ruling and abortion in general. Rep. Mike Pompeo, of Kansas, was reported saying that all the youth representation at the march is a sign that "the pro-life movement is stronger than ever." The March for Life, which is the largest pro-life demonstration in the world, has been happening annually since 1974.

Leading up to the march, the National Right to Life Committee released its second annual "The State of Abortion in the United States" report. In it, president Carol Tobias expressed her dismay not just about the “57 million unborn children [who] have lost their lives,” but about the purported impact those abortions have had on the women who chose to terminate their pregnancies. “Each one of those abortions is a tragedy,” she writes.

But, abortion’s long-term consequences are passionately contested, largely because they’re completely subjective and personal. For all the pro-life reports of masses of emotionally devastated women regretting their decisions to abort, there are more women out there who, well, don't regret their choices (a whopping 95% felt it was the right decision, according to one 2013 study). Some of those women, like punk-feminist icon Kathleen Hanna of Bikini Kill, have said that having an abortion was one of the best things they’ve ever done.

Still, the debate rages on intensely, as more reproductive-rights laws are passed, others get shot down, and new ones are introduced in their stead. Earlier today, the H.R. 36 bill, sponsored by Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz. — the deceptively named “Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act,” which would ban abortion after 20 weeks of gestation — was abandoned by house leaders after opposition from a group of GOP congresswomen, who felt that the legislation was too restrictive and might alienate female voters. (For what it’s worth, President Obama has noted that he'd veto it if it finds its way to his desk.)

The GOP remained eager to host an abortion vote on the day of both Roe v. Wade’s anniversary and the March for Life. Today, the House voted on (and passed) H.R. 7, the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act” — a measure that would block insurance coverage of abortion care for almost all women."Today's exercise in the House is not about making public policy, nor is it about helping American women and families," Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL, said in a press release. "It is about catering to a small minority of voters — anti-abortion activists who are descending on Washington for their annual march." 

No matter how many pro-life activists show up to wave signs and shout, a 2013 poll showed that more than seven out of 10 Americans believe Roe v. Wade should remain law. Not much to argue with there. 
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