The Annual March for Life began in 1973, when tens of thousands of abortion opponents began coming to Washington to protest the Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade that established a constitutional right to abortion nationwide.
Forty-nine years later, the same march was held in freezing Washington on Friday. But there were significant differences between this march and its predecessors. Although it was not as limited to space and numbers by COVID restrictions as last year's March, the cold weather clearly limited the ranks of the anti-abortion event.
But its size notwithstanding, the 2022 March for Life continued and enhanced the trend toward younger and more enthusiastic marchers that began several years ago.
"The Future Is Anti-Abortion" and "I Am the Post-Roe Generation" were among the placards brandished by youthful marchers.
With the Supreme Court having heard oral arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization that could lead to the overturning of Roe, there was an obvious sense of hope and enthusiasm among the marchers who spoke to Newsmax.
"The tide is changing," Michelle Vaccaro, a graduate student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, told us.
Vaccaro acknowledged that if Roe were overturned and regulation of abortion were returned to the states as it was before 1973, her state of Massachusetts would be likely to maintain its present liberal law on abortion.
"But my hope is that the tide in Massachusetts will change on this issue," she quickly added.
Several marchers pointed out to us that their states already have anti-iabortion legislation on the books but it goes unenforced because of Roe. They voiced hope that overturning Roe would immediately put such measures into effect.
"In Michigan, we have a constitutional amendment limiting abortion," the Rev. Nick Thompson of Holy Name of Mary Roman Pro-Cathedral Catholic Church in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, told us. "If the court rules our way, we have a chance of it taking effect."
Thompson's view was seconded by Euclid, Ohio, attorney William Knox, who was participating in his 15th March for Life.
"Our Legislature passed a heartbeat bill [which bans abortion after fetal cardiac activity is detected in the womb]," Knox told us. "But if Roe is overturned, it would be enforceable."
In contrast to many marchers who predicted the high court would repeal Roe outright, Knox said: "We can't count on that. The court just may weaken parts of Roe and give some control back to the states."
"I've been disappointed before [on Roe's overturning], but this time there is a real chance," said seasoned marcher John Baxter of Orlando, Florida. "It depends on the justices of the Supreme Court, and I'm sure glad Donald Trump was there to appoint three of them."
He voiced confidence that in the event his state regains its authority over abortion, "with our present governor [Republican Ron DeSantis], there will be some important restrictions put in place."
Accompanied by his daughter and three of his grandchildren, Ernest Fernandez of Greenville, South Carolina, an immigrant from Cuba, also said he was not certain just what the court will do, "but we are sure praying for repeal."
"Our state of South Carolina will enact strong pro-life legislation," Fernandez said, but then noted that his daughter and her children live in Maryland, "I don't [think] they will do that in Maryland."
(Fernandez's 11-year-old granddaughter, Josie, piped up and said, "I'm here because I support people's lives!")
Should the Supreme Court overturn Roe v. Wade, march organizers told Newsmax that their vision will have come true and there will be no further need of a trek to the nation's capital. But should this happen, one can almost certainly expect future Marches for Life to be held on the steps of state capitols across the nation.
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
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