The 49th annual March for Life — a major rally for anti-abortion activists — takes place Friday at noon in the nation’s capital.
The event has attracted up to 400,000 demonstrators in the past and is held annually on the anniversary of the 1973 Supreme Court decision to legalize abortions in Roe v. Wade. This year’s event takes place as challenges to that historic decision advance.
The Supreme Court is expected to rule in coming months on whether a Mississippi law banning most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy is constitutional. The court indicated in December that it would uphold the law. The Mississippi case also asks the court to abolish Roe v. Wade.
Under Roe v. Wade, states cannot bar abortion prior to viability at 24 weeks.
Earlier this month, Florida moved to enact a similar law.
At least 14 states have approved laws protecting the right to abortion, which will likely remain in place regardless of the Mississippi case.
Nine states including Alabama, Wisconsin, Arizona and West Virginia had abortion laws in place prior to Roe v. Wade.
Eight states including Tennessee, Kentucky and Idaho approved trigger bans to prohibit the procedure if the Mississippi case is overturned.
A controversial abortion law banning the procedure after six weeks of pregnancy was passed in Texas in September 2021. Another law banning abortion-induced medication went into effect in December 2021.
The law has since been challenged by abortion providers, who were denied their request to move the case to district courts on Thursday.
This year’s March For Life theme is “Equality Begins in the Womb.”
The rally can accommodate up to 50,000 marchers in Washington, though actual attendance may be lower given the recently issued vaccine mandate for indoor activities in the city.
“But this is not just a protest… TOGETHER, WE GATHER TO CELEBRATE LIFE,” the march’s official website states. “We celebrate each and every life, from the moment of conception. We envision a world where every life is celebrated, valued, and protected.”
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