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Abortion opponents march in Washington

| Friday, Jan. 25, 2013, 7:52 p.m.
REUTERS
Paisley Fowles, aged one, of Naples, Florida, sleeps on her father's shoulder amidst the din of the annual March for Life rally at the U.S. Supreme Court building in Washington, January 25, 2013. The anti-abortion marchers on Friday marked the 40th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing abortion, and Pope Benedict expressed support for the demonstrators. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS HEALTH CIVIL UNREST TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)

WASHINGTON — Thousands of anti-abortion demonstrators marched through Washington to the steps of the Supreme Court on Friday to protest the landmark decision that legalized abortion.

The annual event took on added significance for many in the crowd because it coincided with the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that created a constitutional right to abortion in some circumstances. The demonstrators, carrying signs tht read “Defend Life” and “Defund Planned Parenthood,” shouted chants including “Hey, Hey, Ho, Ho, Roe v. Wade has got to go.” They packed the National Mall and surrounding streets for the March of Life.

“I just felt this 40th year marked a huge anniversary for the law,” said one demonstrator, Pam Tino, 52, of Easton, Mass, who also participated several years ago. “Forty is a very important year in the Bible as well, in terms of years in the desert. And I just felt like maybe this year that was going to be something miraculous that might happen. We might see something going forward with the cause.”

With the re-election of President Obama, she added, “we just have our walking papers. Now we just feel like we have to keep the battle up.”

The large turnout reflected the ongoing relevance of the abortion debate four decades after the decision.

It remains a divisive issue with no dramatic shift in viewpoint on either side; a new Pew Research Center poll finds 63 percent of adults opposed to overturning Roe, compared with 60 percent in 1992.

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