Pro-life activists braved the cold to peacefully march in D.C. today as part of the 49th annual March for Life.
March for Life began the same year the Supreme Court decided Roe v. Wade.
Once Again, All Eyes Are on the Court
Specifically, the cases dealing with the constitutionality of Mississippi’s 2018 Gestational Age Act and 2021’s Texas Heartbeat Act. For pro-life activists, they represent the best chance to overturn the precedents set in Roe.
The Mississippi law bans abortion after the first 15 weeks of pregnancy, with the exception of medical emergencies or several fetal abnormalities. The case was heard by the Court in December 2021.
Fox News reports on the palpable excitement at the National Mall:
“There’s kind of an excitement in the air this year, which is a wonderful thing,” Fr. David Pivonka, who says he’s been coming to the march for about 30 years, told Fox News Digital. Pivonka currently serves as President of Franciscan University of Steubenville. He estimates that 700-800 students came with him to the March.
Based on an analysis of the questions asked at the hearing, experts believe that the six conservative justices will likely vote to uphold Mississippi’s law. Some go further, believing that the conservative bloc appear set to overturn Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey.
Zeta Barton, a 20-year-old student at Liberty University, told Fox News Digital that she was studying pre-law and wanted to fight abortion after graduating. She said she thought conservative justices like Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett would “stand up for the lives that haven’t had a future yet.”
At the same time, it’s possible that Chief Justice John Roberts would set up some kind of compromise. According to observers, it’s plausible that Roberts may allow Mississippi to keep its restrictions while upholding precedents established in Roe and Casey.
The Texas law bans most abortions after six weeks. Its opponents were dealt a blow by last night when the Court rejected a request by abortion providers. They wanted the case referred back to a district court judge who had previously blocked the Texas law.
For now, the case remains with the conservative-leaning Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals while the law remains in effect.
An Outraged Dissent
The 6-3 ruling infuriated Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who called the majority opinion a “disaster” and a “grave disservice to women in Texas.”
Sotomayor even chastised her fellow justices, as NBC News reports:
She described the Texas law, known as S.B. 8, as “a convoluted law that instills terror in those who assist women exercising their rights between 6 and 24 weeks.” The law allows anyone, anywhere, to sue any person for at least $10,000 who performs or assists in an abortion after about the sixth week of pregnancy.
“State officials knew that the fear and confusion caused by this legal-procedural labyrinth would restrict citizens from accessing constitutionally protected medical care,” she said.
Concluding her dissent, Sotomayor wrote: “This case is a disaster for the rule of law and a grave disservice to women in Texas who have a right to control their own bodies. I will not stand by silently as a state continues to nullify this constitutional guarantee.”
Justices Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan joined Sotomayor in dissent.
Can the Pro-Life Movement Build on This Momentum?
Less than 24 hours later, pro-life activists on the streets of D.C. expressed the belief that their movement is winning.
“This could be the last March for Life that takes place under the shadow of Roe v. Wade,” exclaimed Mallory Carroll, communications VP for the Susan B. Anthony List. “When we gather again next year, hundreds of thousands of children could be alive that might not otherwise be.”
Yet amid the optimism, the controversial group Patriot Front appeared at the peaceful protest. As they did in Chicago two weeks ago, the group brought riot shields with them.
At the time, I wrote for American Liberty News:
After their march, RedState contributor Bonchie did some further digging, as no one they knew of in the conservative movement knew, organized or helped fundraise for Patriot Front. Little was found, besides the [Southern Poverty Law Center’s] dubious claims and a Wikipedia page about Patriot Front that appeared to have been published or edited hours before.
At the time, more than a few conservatives speculated on Twitter that the demonstration had been orchestrated by and made up of federal agents. We’ve since learned that Patriot Front claims to have a history. According to RedState, a man name Thomas Rousseau says he created the group in 2017.
Very little is known beyond that.
They were soon called out for their suspicious behavior and left in caravan of vehicles with taped-over license plates. Right in front of police.
Regardless, the controversy paled in comparison to the hopes and dreams of attendees who can visualize the end of abortion.
“We can only hope and pray that they [the justices] overturn Roe v. Wade,” 20-year-old Niklas Koehler said, succinctly capturing the crowd’s mood.
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the positions of American Liberty News.