U.S. anti-abortion marchers brave freezing cold in Washington

WASHINGTON Wed Jan 22, 2014 5:50pm EST

1 of 14. Anti-abortion demonstrators sing as they parade past the U.S. Capitol during the annual March for Life in Washington, January 22, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Thousands of U.S. anti-abortion activists braved frigid temperatures to rally at the annual March for Life on Wednesday, and a top Republican lawmaker vowed that the House of Representatives would vote soon to end taxpayer-funded abortions.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor told the rally, one of the key yearly events for the anti-abortion movement, that the Republican-controlled chamber would approve the measure halting taxpayer funding for the procedure next week.

"We cannot allow the opponents of life to continually weaken the moral fabric of our country," Cantor, a Virginia lawmaker, said at the rally on the National Mall.

But Cantor acknowledged that the House Republican measure might ultimately be a symbolic one, saying that passage in the Democrat controlled Senate and acceptance by President Barack Obama "will be a much tougher task."

Opponents of the procedure failed in their attempts to attach new anti-abortion provisions to the $1.1 trillion spending bill Congress approved last week.

The thousands of marchers huddled on the Mall defied temperatures around 14 Fahrenheit (minus-10 Celsius) made more stinging by a stiff wind.

Activists carried signs saying "I was conceived from rape. I love my life" and "Stop abortion now." Groups of Catholic high school students chanted: "We love babies, yes we do! We love babies, how about you?"

From Vatican City, Pope Francis used Twitter to back the rally. "I join the March for Life in Washington with my prayers. May God help us respect all life, especially the most vulnerable," he said.

The march has been held annually since the January 22, 1973, Supreme Court ruling in Roe v. Wade that legalized abortion until viability of the fetus, generally considered to be 22 to 24 weeks.

Meanwhile, supporters of abortion rights spoke out to repeat their support of the 1973 decision.

"It's time to seize this vital opportunity to reclaim the rights that Roe recognized and the protections it established more than four decades ago," said Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, a lobbying group.

The Washington rally comes after judges have turned back some state laws restricting abortion.

A federal judge on Friday struck down a 2011 North Carolina law requiring abortion providers to perform an ultrasound and explain it to a woman before she goes through with an abortion.

The Supreme Court on Monday also struck down an Arizona state law banning abortion after 20 weeks.

In a sign the Supreme Court could hand anti-abortion activists a victory, justices have expressed doubt about a Massachusetts law that mandates a buffer zone around abortion clinics to allow patients unimpeded access.

About 1.2 million U.S. abortions were carried out in 2008, the last year for which data were available, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a nonprofit sexual health organization.

A Pew poll in July showed that little more than half of Americans favor abortion rights and about 40 percent oppose them.

(Additional reporting by Ian Simpson and David Lawder; Editing by Scott Malone)

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Comments (11)
Mylena wrote:
I do not understand people walking for a cause that’s a private matter. If you can not even afford your rent your own food your own healthcare, and you are running out of sources, nobody can not tll you what to do with your body, Sopposelly US is the country of freedom, free speach bla bla bla, bla.

Jan 22, 2014 5:00pm EST  --  Report as abuse
Sonorama wrote:
Anti-abortionists will fail. They HAVE failed. Not least in part because their ‘pro-life’ facade is transparent to anyone but a fool, which makes a lot of sense when one makes even a brief examination of those who wish to criminalize abortion.

Do they really want the U.S. to stop sending its citizens to die in overseas wars? Do they really question the legality and morality of execution? Do they really demand that each and every feasible step be taken to diminish the number of lives lost, even if this leads to socialized medicine?

I doubt it.

Jan 22, 2014 5:12pm EST  --  Report as abuse
wildcat48 wrote:
Sonorama…are you really that stupid? You’re speaking of grown people making decisions to enlist…you’re talking about adult people who have committed heinous crimes. You’re right that anti-abortionists have failed. Since Roe,55 million babies have been aborted. It is morally repugnant that abortion has become another method of birth control. We have different types of birth control pills, the new IUD, the morning after pill, a myriad of condom selections. But babies are still being aborted at an alarming number. You’re not pro-choice, you’re pro-abortion.

Jan 22, 2014 6:21pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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