Thousands of protesters against the right to abortion have participated this Friday in the March for Life, the largest annual concentration in the United States against the voluntary interruption of pregnancy, on the National Mall, the national park in front of the Capitol in Washington.
The atmosphere was jubilant.
It was the first edition of this march since the Supreme Court canceled last June with a stroke of the pen the Roe v. Wade ruling, which for half a century protected the right to abortion throughout the national territory.
The measure has wreaked havoc on the reproductive health landscape in the country.
But, spurred on by her triumph, militants in the anti-abortion camp vow not to settle for her.
"The fight has only just begun," said Wilhelmina Swaub, a 23-year-old student, recently arrived from her Catholic university to participate in the demonstration.
"It won't end until this culture of death has disappeared and people don't think that abortion is the solution to anything."
From the podium and the giant screens from which the organizers addressed the protesters, the president of the March, Jeanne Mancini, repeated the same idea.
“We have achieved our most significant victory yet, but the human rights abuse that is abortion is far from over… We will continue until this abuse is a thing of the past and beyond belief,” she said.
Entire families, many young people -like Wilhelmina, many had come with their classmates from Christian study centers-, and the occasional priest dressed in a traditional cassock were among the audience that applauded him enthusiastically.
On the banners they waved, messages like "Pro-life: the radical idea that babies are people" or "I demand protection from conception."
Among the youth, posters were repeated proclaiming: "I am the post-Roe generation."
The March for Life was first held in 1974, one year after the Roe v. Wade decision guaranteed the protection of the right to abortion throughout the United States, based on the constitutional right to privacy.
Since then, the anti-abortion militants had promised to do everything in their power to obtain the repeal of that ruling.
They got it on June 30 last year.
That day, the Supreme Court declared that sentence erroneous, in an opinion that had the support of six judges and the contrary opinion of three.
From then on, it was up to each State to decide whether or not to allow abortion, and if so, under what circumstances.
Once that objective has been achieved, the new edition of the march seeks to begin to build a consensus on what are the next steps to take.
Something that appears expressly in its motto this year: "The next steps: marching forward in the United States post Roe."
Although the anti-abortionists agree to continue their pressure, opinions are divided about what the concrete objectives to fight for should be.
Some, like the student Carla Martínez, who attended this march for the first time, believe that now the movement should focus on getting "each State to legislate" against the voluntary interruption of pregnancy.
Others are in favor of a federal ban.
Abortion protection in some states
Either goal seems unlikely in the current situation.
Since the Supreme Court ruling, a dozen Republican-controlled states have implemented abortion bans, and several more plan to impose abortion bans.
But others—such as California, Michigan, Kansas, and South Carolina—have responded by passing measures to protect legal access to voluntary termination of pregnancy.
A federal measure one way or another is unthinkable.
President Joe Biden and Democrats have vowed to defend abortion rights.
And even if the new Republican majority in the House of Representatives were to introduce bills against abortion protections, those measures would have no prospect of success: Democrats have a majority in the Senate.
Biden, who had promised legislation to protect abortion rights nationwide if Democrats had won control of both houses of Congress in November's midterm elections, has responded with a proclamation marking January 22. , this Sunday, as the 50th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade.
“Never before has the Supreme Court taken away such a fundamental right for all Americans,” he declares.
“In doing so, you put the health and lives of women across the country at risk.”