WASHINGTON — Americans who oppose abortion will gather in Washington, D.C. on Friday for the March for Life.
For 50 years, the march has taken place on the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision, which legalized abortions nationwide.
The decision was overturned last year, but those who oppose abortion still plan to march.
A NEW PURPOSE
Mark Herrington, an opponent of abortion and an activist with Created Equal, says his group is still energized.
"Roe may be overturned, but it's just different now," he said.
Herrington will be among the thousands marching on Friday. He believes the Supreme Court didn't end the debate on abortion when it overturned Roe. Instead, he says the conversation has just evolved.
This year's march won't go to the Supreme Court like previous years. Instead, it will head to the Capitol, where lawmakers on both sides have debated the issue.
Democrats want abortion protections enshrined into federal law, while conservatives want to advance new restrictions.
"There is still a federal aspect to this," Herrington said.
The reality, however, is the abortion fight over the next few years is more likely to play out in state capitols than in Washington. State lawmakers have been successful in passing and advancing bills concerning abortions.
State ballot measures are expected as well.
Herrington says opponents of abortion, like him, will use this week's march to rally supporters, including faith leaders, to help defeat the expected ballot measures.
Last year, his side lost elections in conservative states like Kansas and Montana.
"We are going to have to fight back and defeat these ballot measures," Herrington said.
OPPONENTS QUESTION THE MARCH
For supporters of abortion rights, the March for Life has always been a difficult week to process.
"It's a challenging week," Jaime Manson, the president of Catholics for Choice, said.
She hopes people realize just how damaging the Supreme Court opinion has been for many women. Thirteen states now ban most abortions.
"Enormous suffering, especially for women, children, families who are already suffering from other injustices," Manson said.
Manson had hoped the march would evolve this year and focus on life issues beyond abortion.
Her message to faith leaders attending is to support abortion rights.
"Pope Francis has said abortion is an important issue but it's not the only issue," Manson said.