Texans on National March for Life Celebrate Row’s Fall and Hope to Build on Victory

WASHINGTON. Ashley Ziegler of North Texas said it’s important to join abortion rights opponents at the annual March for Life protest this year for the first time since the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling was overturned by the conservative majority in the Supreme Court last year. and the constitutional right to abortion.

“We don’t think the victory is over,” said Ziegler, director of marketing for Embrace Grace Ministries in Hearst. “The ruling was very important and wonderful, but ultimately there is still a lot of work to be done.”

Ziegler said there has been a surge in interest since Roe’s downfall of churches wishing to organize support groups for women with unplanned pregnancies and single parents.

The court decision was a triumph for those who supported tighter restrictions on access to abortion, but it also encouraged those who support the right to abortion.

MOVE Texas Action Fund chief executive Claudia Yoli Ferla said in a statement that unfortunately Rowe’s anniversary is “burdened with feelings of doubt, fear and anger rather than a joyful celebration.”

Ferla said abortion rights advocates need to mobilize young people to defend access to reproductive health services.

“We deserve abortions when we need them, at the times we choose, and in a community we trust—without shame or stigma,” Ferla said.

The end of Row removed a huge legal hurdle to restrict access to abortion and resulted in wide disparities in access across states.

By the 50th anniversary of Rowe v. Wade, the abortion scene in America had changed dramatically.

In Texas, a court decision led to the passage of a “initiation law” that is one of the most stringent in the country. He stopped almost all abortions in the state. Opponents of abortion rights say they want to keep the law and are pushing for similar restrictions in other states.

The end of Row does not mean the end of the struggle, march leader Jeanne Mancini said at a rally on Friday.

“We will keep marching until abortion human rights violations are a thing of the past,” Mancini said. “We will march until abortion is unthinkable.”

Other speakers who set the crowd on fire included Jonathan Rumi, who plays Jesus in Chosen Onetelevision series about the birth of Christianity and former NFL coach Tony Dungy.

Dungy cited a recent incident in which Buffalo Bills quarterback Damar Hamlin collapsed after colliding with Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins during an NFL game on January 2.

Former NFL football coach Tony Dungy speaks during the March for Life rally on Friday, January 20, 2023, in Washington DC. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)(Patrick Semansky / ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Hamlin went into cardiac arrest and had to be resuscitated on the field, but has since been released from the hospital.

Dangy credited his recovery to the millions of people who prayed for him. According to Dungy, the NFL canceled a game that had millions of dollars at stake because lives were at stake.

“This should encourage us, because that is why we are here today,” Dungy said. “Because every day in this country, innocent lives are at stake. And the only difference is that they do not belong to a famous athlete and they are not shown on national television. But those lives are still important to God.”

After the rally, the marchers took a slightly altered route from previous years, which took place in front of the US Capitol rather than directly to the Supreme Court. This change was an allusion to a shift in focus from the courtrooms to the legislature.

The demonstrators waved placards with slogans such as “After Row there is life”, shouted “Life wins” and told each other that “can’t stop here, must visit every state”.

One man held a giant Texas flag high as he and other marchers passed in front of the Capitol.

Scott Coburn, director of marketing for wireless service provider Patriot Mobile, said he and other members of his team have already traveled to Washington, D.C. from Grapevine several times to take part in the marches.

“The energy here is a little different this year,” Coburn said. “It’s a commotion, obviously it’s a celebration of Rowe’s overthrow. But then again, that’s the next chapter. What does the generation after Row look like? It’s nice to see all these young people here who are just as passionate about life as ever.”

Democrats and even some Republicans, including former President Donald Trump, have blamed the GOP’s disappointing midterm results, at least in part, on the party’s abortion policy.

Jonathan Saenz, president of Texas Values, backed away from that analysis and cited Texas Democrat Beto O’Rourke, who lost the race for governor despite emphasizing his support for abortion rights.

Saenz noted that Rowe’s decision was made in connection with a case outside of Dallas County, which gives it heightened significance to the state’s residents.

“After a year of Roe v. Wade being overturned, there is a lot of enthusiasm and excitement,” Saenz said. “But we’re also trying to remind people that the job isn’t done yet. So in a state like Texas, abortion is illegal, babies are protected at all stages of pregnancy, but there are still people who are trying to change that.”

Even as the anti-abortion fight moves to the states, Saenz said Friday’s march should send a message to those in DC.

“Because we have Congress, we have a president who wants to pass a law, a federal law, allowing abortion on demand,” Saenz said.

Democrats in Congress are pushing for legislation that they say would enshrine in federal law the same protections as Rowe’s. Republican opponents of the measure say it would eliminate state abortion laws and legalize them even in late pregnancy.

Senator Lindsey Graham, a member of the royal family, introduced legislation in the last session to ban abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy. His proposal includes exceptions for pregnancies resulting from incest or rape, which are not in the Texas ban, as well as cases where a pregnant woman’s life is threatened by a physical illness or disorder.

Health care providers and attorneys have testified that abortion restrictions in Texas and other states are preventing patients from receiving much-needed services.

Saenz touted the Texas Abortion Alternatives Program, which provides $100 million over two years, saying supporters hope to increase that level of funding this legislative session.

The program is intended to support pregnant women who choose not to have an abortion, although critics question the program’s transparency and suggest that the money could have been put to better use.

Saenz said such programs show that the anti-abortion movement is not only interested in helping those in crisis.

Bunny Pounds, a former congressional candidate and current president of Dallas-Fort Worth Christian Community civic engagement, said Texas legislators are “constantly looking for ways to support women who have to make these difficult choices.”

Pounds said this year’s march and the work they’ve done since Roe’s ouster feels like a “new beginning” and people are full of energy.

“This is a historic turning point and it’s important that we keep the gas tight,” Pounds said.

An abortion rights activist (left) protests as people carry a statue of Our Lady of Fatima...
An abortion rights activist (left) protests as people carry a statue of Our Lady of Fatima outside the U.S. Supreme Court during the March for Life on Friday, January 20, 2023, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)(Alex Brandon / ASSOCIATED PRESS)

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