Anti-abortion activists at a parade in Washington, their thoughts turned to the battles to come

Anti-abortion activists at a parade in Washington, their thoughts turned to the battles to come

Among the thousands of anti-abortion activists who gathered in Washington on Friday for their annual march, the first since the historic U-turn on the US Supreme Court, the mood was more combative than celebratory.

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Even though the Supreme Court blew up abortion rights in June, “we still have so much work to do,” noted George Muench, a 74-year-old Catholic wearing a March for Life cap.

Like him, most of the protesters AFP encountered barely took the time to savor their victory, their minds already focused on the fighting ahead.

However, this march had started in 1974 specifically to protect the Roe v. Wade, which was accepted by the Supreme Court a year earlier, guaranteeing American women’s right to terminate their pregnancies.

Anti-abortion activists at a parade in Washington, their thoughts turned to the battles to come

Once a year, in January, anti-abortion activists from across the United States marched to the white marble building that houses the Temple of the Law to beg it to go back.

On June 24, the court, which underwent a major overhaul by former Republican President Donald Trump, agreed with them, giving each state the freedom to ban abortion on its soil, which about fifteen did.

The mood is therefore “a bit more festive” this year, says Barbara Countryman, 61, who hasn’t missed a walk for twenty years.

The audience was also “significantly younger,” says this resident of the neighboring state of Maryland, surrounded by many groups of students from Christian schools who had traveled on buses, some of which had signs “I am the post-Roe generation.”

But for this anti-abortion activist who regularly prays outside clinics in her state, we can’t stop there: “I think I’ll come to my death, we need to keep rethinking…”

“The abortion issue is now in the hands of the states,” notes Richard Guill, 50. He lives in Virginia, not far from where the Republican governor is trying to restrict abortion rights, so far without success with local elected officials. “We hope you hear us today…”

“Many states still offer abortions on demand,” said Kathleen Pilié, 78. Even if Roe has fallen, “we must remain strong, we must not give in to complacency,” says this New Orleans resident.

Anti-abortion activists at a parade in Washington, their thoughts turned to the battles to come

She’s still pleased that Louisiana immediately banned all abortions. “I hope other states will follow suit, but it takes a change of hearts and minds.”

Because everyone is aware that the battle for public opinion can still be won. Referendums since June have all been won by pro-choice advocates, including in conservative states like Kansas and Kentucky.

“The Democrats made it a political issue, invested a lot of money in campaigns, talked about the dangers of not having an abortion right (…), but they didn’t tell the truth,” George Muench assures.

Rosario Cazares, a 27-year-old Texan who arrived on a plane with her mother, Virginia, recognizes that there are difficult issues, such as pregnancy after rape, incest, or among poor women. It is therefore necessary for them to go beyond speeches.

Anti-abortion activists at a parade in Washington, their thoughts turned to the battles to come

“We also need to make sure that we’re really helping women,” by making various resources available to them for free, assures this public health student, who hopes to one day open her own “center for pregnant women.”

The date for next year has now been set. On the podium, a speaker assures him: “We will walk year for year…”

But already on Sunday, the 50th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, it’s abortion rights defenders who will take to the streets during rallies planned in several cities.