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A “Right to Life” table at Georgetown University in Washington, Jan. 25, 2017. (Al Drago/The New York Times)

Against abortion

How will Friday’s anti-abortion march stack up against the Women’s March on Washington?

By WITW Staff on January 26, 2017

For opponents of abortion, last Saturday’s Women’s March on Washington, which attracted upwards of a million protesters around the U.S., was at best frustrating. Not least because the extensive media coverage leading up to the march has somewhat distracted attention from the 44th annual March for Life taking place Friday, January 27th, in Washington D.C. The march protests Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortion 44 years ago.

Following the huge turnout last weekend, anti-abortion protesters know they have a hard act to follow, although they may be cheered by the rapidity with which the new president has already begun clamping down on women’s reproductive rights. On his first official day in the White House, President Trump signed an order banning federal funding from being distributed to aid groups that support abortion services abroad.

Nonetheless, organizers are concerned about the potential turnout on Friday, a figure they cannot gauge. “We’re definitely pulling out all the stops this year to try and get people to come”, Amelia Irvine, president of Georgetown Right to Life at Georgetown University, told  The New York Times. But for some these numbers are irrelevant. “The number most important for us is 58 million, which is the number of Americans that have been lost to abortion,” Jeanne Mancini, president of the March for Life, told the paper.

But organizers are fighting an increasingly uphill battle as the number of abortion opponents declines. According to research by the Pew Research Center, 59 percent of Americans believe that abortion should be legal in all or the majority of cases. This compares to 37 percent who say it should be illegal in all cases. Overall support for legal abortions, they found, is at its highest point since 1995. Meanwhile, a separate study published last week found that the number of abortions in the U.S. has plummeted to a 43-year low.

Undeterred, a group of anti-abortion groups has coalesced this year to pressure television and cable news stations to cover the march, determined to try and garner the level of media focus received by the Women’s March. With a far less extensive list of speakers than the star-studded women’s march and a proportionally smaller number of permits issued — 92 compared to 1,800 for the Washington protest — pulling off such a feat may prove challenging.

Read the full story at the The New York Times.


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