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Pro-Life Movement Charts a New Path, Marches to U.S. Capitol

'It is more important that we finish at the U.S. Capitol...'

(Philip Wegmann, RealClearWire) For a half-century, anti-abortion protestors have traveled from across the country to Washington for the March for Life, an annual demonstration that starts on the National Mall and traditionally ends at the steps of the United States Supreme Court.

Now, for the first time in 50 years, the route will change. Organizers say they will start in the same place, but they won’t march to the high court. “It is more important that we finish at the U.S. Capitol,” Jeanne Mancini, president of the March for Life Defense and Education Fund, which has organized the march since 1974, told RealClearPolitics. Noting that in the wake of the Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade, the question has been returned “to our elected officials and to the people through their elected officials.”

A symbolic change, the demonstration before Congress also reflects a necessary new strategy on the part of the anti-abortion movement.

Mancini said the march will celebrate the reversal of Roe, “but also mark the start of a new leg on our journey towards building a culture of life.”

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Among other things, that means defending the Hyde Amendment, a measure banning federal abortion funding, and staving off the Women’s Health Protection Act, a bill expanding abortion access.

It also comes at a moment when the debate over this contentious issue is right where most pro-life forces have long insisted they wanted it – before elected officials, and not the courts.

To the pro-choice side, however, this is a case of “be careful what you wish for.”

Inside the White House, the Dobbs decision was viewed as an unexpected midsummer windfall. Democratic Party candidates running in this year’s midterms are attempting to turn the election into a referendum on abortion.

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On the Republican side of the aisle, the GOP leadership would rather avoid the issue and focus on fiscal matters where they believe they hold the advantage.

When Sen. Lindsey Graham introduced a bill to ban most abortions after 15 weeks, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell demurred, telling reporters that “most of the members of my conference prefer that this be dealt with at the state level.”

The South Carolina Republican shot back in an interview with RCP that “pro-life people are not going to go away” and telling those voters “‘don’t come talk to us in Washington,’ is not the right answer.”

Either way, they are coming to Congress on January 20.

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