The Last March Against Roe?

In some respects, Friday’s March for Life—the annual antiabortion march from the National Mall to the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., to mark the anniversary of Roe v. Wade—was an uncharacteristically muted affair. Blame the circumstances of the hour. The winter weather punishing the South this weekend, the Omicron surge that made hauling a few dozen high schoolers or parishioners across the country in a charter bus a more daunting than usual prospect, D.C.’s severe new COVID vaccine requirements to get into most indoor businesses—all these ensured fewer people would attend the march than have in past years.

But the thousands who came—they still came by the thousands—seemed determined to make up for their smaller numbers in sheer enthusiasm. They ballyhooed the speakers and threw themselves into their various hey-hey-ho-ho-style chants with abandon. You got the impression they didn’t have to try very hard to get there: For the pro-life movement, a major victory over America’s half-century-old abortion regime has never seemed so tantalizingly close.

This summer, the Supreme Court intends to reach a decision on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, the most direct challenge to Roe v. Wade since Casey v. Planned Parenthood in 1992. The case concerns a 2018 Mississippi law that would ban abortion in the state after 15 weeks’ gestation, with exceptions only to preserve the life of the mother or for severe fetal abnormality. After former President Donald Trump’s single term in office bore fruit in the form of three new SCOTUS justices, pro-lifers dare to dream that they may finally—finally—have the court they need to take a bite out of Roe.

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