Anti-abortion protesters descended on Washington from across the country on Friday for the annual March for Life, a ritual that this year took on a tone of hopeful celebration as they anticipated the Supreme Court overturning the decision that established a constitutional right to abortion half a century ago.
The marchers have arrived by the busload in Washington every January since 1974, the year after the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade established a nationwide right to abortion. The tension this year was higher for both sides in the abortion debate as they await the court’s ruling on a Mississippi law that bans abortion after 15 weeks. The Roe decision forbade states to ban abortion before a fetus becomes viable, or roughly 22 weeks.
At oral arguments in December, the court’s six conservative justices signaled that they were inclined to uphold the Mississippi law. Several justices indicated they were willing to go further and overturn the Roe decision entirely.
“I feel like this year might be the year,” Laura Nunez, a 28-year-old account manager from Philadelphia, said as she gathered with the other marchers on the National Mall. “If that happens, it would be a great win for all of us.”
The typical patient is most likely already a mother, poor, unmarried, in her late 20s, has some college education and is very early in pregnancy.