Washington: Abortion rights supporters and opponents are gearing up for dueling rallies across the United States on Saturday, commemorating the first anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling, which had legalized abortion nationwide.
In Washington, national abortion rights groups, including Women’s March and NARAL Pro-Choice America, will gather at Columbus Circle to celebrate the defeat of abortion opponents in the 2022 midterm races. They will also rally voters in preparation for the upcoming congressional and presidential elections in 2023.
Meanwhile, anti-abortion groups, including Students for Life America, will host a “National Celebrate Life Day Rally” at the Lincoln Memorial. Former Vice President Mike Pence, a Republican presidential candidate for 2024, will be among the speakers at this event.
The Supreme Court ruling on June 24, 2022, allowed U.S. states to impose abortion bans for the first time in nearly five decades. Since then, conservative states have passed numerous restrictive laws, while other states have moved to protect abortion access.
Over the past year, near-total abortion bans have been implemented in 14 states, despite opinion polls indicating that a majority of Americans support legal abortion in most or all cases.
Abortion rights will continue to be a central issue in next year’s congressional and presidential races, with activists on both sides using the anniversary as an opportunity to mobilize their respective bases and encourage political engagement.
Leading reproductive rights groups, including EMILYs List, NARAL Pro-Choice America, and Planned Parenthood Action Fund, have announced their endorsements of Democratic President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris for reelection in 2024.
Vice President Kamala Harris will deliver a speech in Charlotte, North Carolina on Saturday, advocating for national legislation to protect abortion rights. This comes just one week before a new Republican-backed law in the state will shorten the legal window for abortions from 20 to 12 weeks of pregnancy.
On Thursday, Democratic U.S. lawmakers proposed a nationwide measure to protect abortion patients and providers from criminalization. However, the passage of this legislation is unlikely due to the deeply divided Congress.
On the opposing side, some abortion opponents are pushing for a federal ban on abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. Former Vice President Mike Pence, a vocal abortion opponent, called for every Republican candidate for president to support a nationwide ban on abortions before 15 weeks as a minimum standard.
Saturday’s events are not limited to Washington, as rallies, marches, and concerts in support of reproductive rights are scheduled to take place in states from Florida to Oregon. The fight over abortion rights continues to be a deeply divisive issue in the United States, shaping political discourse and mobilizing activists on both sides.