March for Life is back for the 49th annual March on Washington. But this year, it feels a little different.
Though the event is being held on the anniversary of the 1973 Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion known as Roe v Wade just like it is every single year, this time change is in the air.
Over the course of the last few years, state legislatures have been making alterations to their abortion laws which would protect human life and the vulnerable women who are abused by a system built on the trauma and blood of mothers. In particular, the state of Mississippi has a law which bans abortions after 15-weeks. The law has gone through the federal court and made its way all the way to the Supreme Court who has already heard oral arguments and is expected to make a decision in the coming months. The challenge to the Mississippi law is a challenge to Roe V Wade because the question of whether or not the federal government can prevent a state from adopting its own abortion laws is the fundamental question of Roe.
The court has not taken up Roe v Wade since 1992 when the court upheld Roe in Planned Parenthood v Casey. Though Roe was ultimately upheld, changes to Roe’s authority were made in that landmark 1992 case including, importantly, the definition of viability. The Supreme Court at the time changed Roe’s authority and limited it to a woman’s federally upheld right to have an abortion prior to viability. This change in 1992 could be the impetus to uphold the Mississippi laws (and others like it) but may not be enough to dismantle Roe itself. Time will tell.
But the momentum is the strongest it’s been in 30 years and the loyal March for Lifers have a lot to celebrate as they occupy a bit of D.C. in the bitter cold of January.