March for Life eyes 'next steps' after fall of Roe v. Wade

Abortion opponents gathered ahead of what would've been Roe's 50th anniversary.

January 20, 2023, 5:41 PM

Abortion opponents made a triumphant return to Washington on Friday for the annual March for Life.

Thousands of people gathered on the National Mall to celebrate the fall of Roe v. Wade last summer. The march came just two days before what would've been the 50th anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion nationwide.

Five of the Supreme Court's conservative justices overruled Roe last June when it made its decision in the case Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, with Justice Samuel Alito calling Roe "egregiously wrong from the start." The issue has been sent to the states to decide whether to impose or lift restrictions on the procedure.

PHOTO: People participate in the March for Life rally in front of the Washington Monument, Jan. 20, 2023, in Washington.
People participate in the March for Life rally in front of the Washington Monument, Jan. 20, 2023, in Washington.
Patrick Semansky/AP

Attendees applauded the court's ruling but said their work is not done.

"I saw the overturning of Roe as sort of the closing of one chapter," said Dr. Christina Francis, the CEO-Elect of the American Association of Pro-life Obstetricians and Gynecologists. "We still have the rest of the book to go."

PHOTO: Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., speaks during the March for Life rally, Jan. 20, 2023, in Washington.
Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., speaks during the March for Life rally, Jan. 20, 2023, in Washington.
Patrick Semansky/AP

Jeanne Mancini, the president of March for Life Education and Defense Fund, said in a statement that "with Roe now behind us, we are empowered to save countless innocent American lives by continuing to advocate for commonsense protections at the state and federal level, educating Americans on the intrinsic dignity of all human life."

Mancini on Friday noted the theme for this year's march is "Next Steps: Marching into a Post-Roe America."

Marchers made their way to the U.S. Capitol to send the message to the new Congress, including the new GOP-controlled House.

House Majority Leader Steve Scalise, R-La., said at the March for Life that overturning Roe was only "the end of the first phase of this battle."

"The next phase now begins, and that's what this year's march is all about: the next steps in a post-Roe era," Scalise said.

PHOTO: People attend the 50th annual March for Life rally on the National Mall on Jan. 20, 2023 in Washington, DC.
People attend the 50th annual March for Life rally on the National Mall on Jan. 20, 2023 in Washington, DC.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Scalise celebrated the bill passed by House Republicans earlier this month that would require health practitioners to care for a fetus carried to term after a failed abortion and impose criminal penalties on health care providers who don't.

"That's what difference elections make," he told the crowd.

PHOTO: People attend the 50th annual March for Life rally on the National Mall on Jan. 20, 2023 in Washington, DC.
People attend the 50th annual March for Life rally on the National Mall on Jan. 20, 2023 in Washington, DC.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Only one Democrat supported the bill, and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has already said it will get nowhere in the upper chamber.

President Joe Biden on Friday released a proclamation pledging to use his executive power "to protect women and families from harm in the wake of the Dobbs decision."

But when pressed for specifics by ABC News' MaryAlice Parks, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre declined to state what more action the president could take.

"So we're gonna take a look [at] the tools that the president has in front of him to see if there's any other executive actions clearly that he can take," she said.

Vice President Kamala Harris will travel to Florida on Sunday to give remarks on what would've been the 50th anniversary of Roe.

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