Forty years after abortion was made legal in the United States, anti-abortion activists march in Washington
WASHINGTON, D.C., UNITED STATES (JANUARY 25, 2013) (REUTERS) - Anti-abortion activists marched in Washington on Friday (January 25) to protest the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that made abortion legal in the United States 40 years ago.
Condemning abortion as an abuse of human rights, people from across the country participated in the March for Life that takes place annually in the nation's capital. TheSupreme Court's Roe v. Wade ruling on January 22, 1973, legalized abortion.
"It's the greatest civil rights issue of our time. The strength of a society if judged best by how it treats it's weakest members and the weakest members of our society are the ones with no voice who have no freedom or right to life so that's why we're here and we'll be here forever," said Allen Zelno, who was in town to march from Quakertown,Pennsylvania.
Marchers carrying signs that read "Defend Life" and "De-fund Planned Parenthood" crowded the National Mall in freezing temperatures to hear politicians and activists reject abortion and say that opposition to it was rising.
Former Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum told the protesters that opponents of abortion "stand for love in a world of death."
House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner, speaking by video, said he backed bipartisan bills barring government funding for abortion and favored the Hyde Amendment, which largely bans federal funds for abortions except in cases of rape or incest.
Chanting "Hey hey, ho ho, Roe v. Wade has got to go" as they marched under a gray sky and eventually snow, the demonstrators then went to the Supreme Court.
Pope Benedict voiced his support in a tweet that read, "I join all those marching for life from afar, and pray that political leaders will protect the unborn and promote a culture of life."
Seminars, Catholic masses and memorials around Washington preceded the rally and march. Abortion rights activists have held few events in Washington around the anniversary.
Organizers had no immediate estimate of the size of the crowd, and U.S. Capitol Policedeclined to give one.
A recent Pew poll showed that most Americans are opposed to overturning Roe v. Wade.
Battles over abortion have largely shifted from federal courts to statehouses. TheGuttmacher Institute, a reproductive health and rights group, said this month that 2012 brought the second-highest number of state-level restrictions, trailing only 2011.
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