Advocates eye post-Roe steps ahead of anniversary

STORY: Thousands of anti-abortion campaigners rallied in Washington on Friday for the 50th annual "March for Life."

The event marks a new chapter for the movement that has organized for decades around overturning Roe v. Wade, the landmark ruling that recognized a women's right to an abortion.

"We reversed Roe v. Wade!"

With that goal now accomplished after the U.S. Supreme Court threw out Roe's precedent and gutted federal abortion rights last June, ...

"Should we still march?"

... leaders like March For Life president Jeanne Mancini say they are now eyeing further limits on abortion both federally and at the state level.

“Ideally what would happen is that hearts and minds would be changed so that abortion was unthinkable in our culture.” ... “And that women who were facing unexpected pregnancies would have all the support that they need to choose life and even in some cases, choose adoption. So that would be an ideal over the next decade.”

Ianthe Metzger, with the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, says her sights are also set squarely at the state level.

“…that is really our priority right now, working with lawmakers in states where we can and really building a new health care landscape that really speaks to the moment and meets the crisis that the Supreme Court created when they overturned Roe.”

With a patchwork of lawsuits and emergency court orders across the country sparked by the Supreme Court's June ruling, Washington and Lee law professor Carliss Chatman says it all adds up to a legal “quagmire."

“When you are confused about the legality of abortion, in many ways, that can serve as a de facto total ban.”

A report from the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive rights research and advocacy organization, said more than 20 million women of childbearing age have lost access to abortion procedures since the ruling.

White House officials say Democratic President Joe Biden will keep pushing back against anti-abortion legislation in Congress, including Republican efforts to pass a national abortion ban.

To make that point, Vice President Kamala Harris will be in Florida on Sunday to deliver remarks on the 50th anniversary of Roe.

March for Life organizers aim to hold 10 state marches in 2023, including in Arizona, Virginia, California and Connecticut, and Mancini hopes they will reach all 50 states within the next 10 years.