Marching toward a post-“Roe” future
Attendees at this year’s March for Life appeared bold and hopeful
Sharon Rodi attended the first March for Life in Washington, D.C., in 1974, a year after the Supreme Court legalized abortion with its decision in Roe v. Wade. She remembers thinking she needed to get involved in pro-life activism, lest Roe v. Wade last a full five years. Almost 50 years later, she is still marching.
But at this year’s March for Life on Friday, Rodi and thousands of others celebrated the feeling of being closer to the end of Roe than ever. Last month, the majority conservative Supreme Court heard Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, a direct challenge to Roe. The justices’ questioning during oral arguments gave pro-lifers hope that the court might return more power to regulate abortion to the states.
“[Dobbs] is really the first major decision in my lifetime about abortion, and I’m hopeful,” pro-life Harvard Law student Ashley Vaughan said. “Whatever happens … I know that we’ve got a God in heaven who’s got a bigger plan.”
A sign in the crowd on Friday put it more boldly: “I survived Roe v. Wade. Roe v. Wade won’t survive me.”
Pro-life marchers also emphasized that ending Roe wouldn’t end abortion or the need to support mothers and babies.
“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.,” Jeanne Mancini, president of the March for Life Education and Defense Fund, told the crowd gathered on the National Mall. As they marched through the city, Hunter and Amber Helman pushed a stroller carrying their baby girl and held a sign with their phone number and an offer to adopt. They also carried it in the 2019 march, and Amber Helman said they had started an adoption process that fell through when the mother decided to keep her child.
“We need to step up when it comes to adoption and support moms and their babies,” she said.
Rachael Herbert echoed the sentiment as she marched with a sign that read, “Four of my siblings were aborted. Choose Life.” She said that if pro-lifers prevail in Dobbs v. Jackson, they will need to fight poverty and help mothers form supportive communities. Several marchers said the pro-life movement will need to focus on state-level action, since overturning Roe would allow states to set their own abortion laws.
Melissa Moore, a Loyola University student attending the march for the first time, said seeing the crowd encouraged her because her local pro-life group is small. Southeastern University student Mathew Massey agreed, pointing out that many in the crowd were young: “It’s a very hopeful thing to see that there are so many people that are in this pro-life generation.”
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