Round 42: Pro-Life Public Marches Against Judges

Neil Munro White House Correspondent
Font Size:

WASHINGTON — Pro-life groups rallied perhaps 200,000 Americans against the Supreme Court’s decades-long campaign to exclude the life-and-death issue of abortion from democratic debate.

The 42nd annual March For Life saw the crowd of good-humored adults, teens and clerics march up Constitution Avenue to the Supreme Court, from where the nation’s nine judicial guardians have issued numerous edicts since 1973 against many federal and state legislation seeking to limit or stigmatize early or late-term abortion.

Under a sunny sky, the demonstrators chanted pro-life slogans, and the many local and regional contingents carried their banners along the route.

Local media reports and The Washington Post said the only “thousands” of people attended the demonstration.

There are roughly 1.2 million abortions each year, despite the widespread availability of cheap, reliable contraceptives. The vast majority of abortions take place in the first three months of pregnancy.

Under the court’s current rules, abortion centers can contract to kill unborn humans anytime up to the moment when the umbilical cord is cut, even months after the partly-developed human can survive outside the womb.

Polls shows that majorities of Americans would likely agree on European-style abortion laws, if the court allowed voters and legislators to seek a compromise.

The European-style laws are designed to allow abortions early in gestation, and to sharply restrict abortions once the humans can live outside the womb.

American attitudes were illustrated in a November 2014 poll by Quinnipiac University, which showed that 60 percent of Americans support a law “that would ban virtually all abortions nationwide after 20 weeks of pregnancy, except in cases of rape and incest that are reported to authorities.”

The 20-week rule was supported by 76 percent of Republicans, 56 percent of independents, 59 percent of women, and 57 percent of people aged 18 to 29, said the poll of 1,623 registered voters.

However, progressives and feminist groups — who are dominated by wealthy, credentialed professionals — oppose any legal curbs or even any stigmatization of abortion. For example, feminist counter-protestors briefly blocked the March For Life while holding signs that said “abortion on demand and without apology.”

The annual march has become something of a grudge match and power struggle between Americans and the court, since the court decided in 1973 to elevate abortion above the nation’s long tradition of social debate, compromise and consensus.

In 1992, for example, the court insisted the public should just shut up about abortion and accept the court’s supremacy.

Any retreat by the court that would reverse “Roe’s essential holding under the existing circumstances would address [judicial] error, if error there was, at the cost of both profound and unnecessary damage to the Court’s legitimacy, and to the Nation’s commitment to the rule of law,” the court claimed in its 1992 decision, Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania, et al. v. Robert P. Casey.

“It is therefore imperative to adhere to the essence of Roe’s original decision, and we do so today,” the court insisted.

Follow Neil on Twitter