President Obama celebrated the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the landmark decision which legalized abortion nationwide, as anti-abortion activists prepared to launch their annual March for Life rallies on Monday.
“Today marks the 38th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that protects women’s health and reproductive freedom, and affirms a fundamental principle: that government should not intrude on private family matters,” the president said in a statement released Saturday. “I am committed to protecting this constitutional right. I also remain committed to policies, initiatives, and programs that help prevent unintended pregnancies, support pregnant women and mothers, encourage healthy relationships, and promote adoption.”
Pro-life activists hope that the new Republican controlled Congress will place new restrictions on the procedure. “We are seeing a cultural shift toward protecting life and rolling back the tide of unrestricted abortions,” Americans United for Life president Charmaine Yoest said in a statement released ahead of the anniversary.
Some states are currently looking into legislation that would further regulate abortions, such as a ban on terminating pregnancies after 20 weeks and forcing women to view ultrasounds before they decide whether or not to have the procedure.
“Our members are extremely concerned about the political landscape, and yet they’re re-energized in their commitment,” the Center for Reproductive Rights’ Nancy Northup told the Associated Press.
In addition to moves by state legislatures, Republican Indiana Rep. Mike Pence has introduced a bill in Congress that would ban federal family-planning grants to any organization that performs abortions, specifically Planned Parenthood. According to Pence, Planned Parenthood received $363 million in federal grants last year and performed 324,008 abortions.