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Anti-Abortion Protesters Crowd Washington for Annual March

Anti-abortion activists march past the Capitol in Washington, Friday, Jan. 25, 2013, to the Supreme Court as they observe the 40th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision.
Anti-abortion activists march past the Capitol in Washington, Friday, Jan. 25, 2013, to the Supreme Court as they observe the 40th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision.
VOA News
Tens of thousands of people packed onto the National Mall in Washington, D.C. and crowded the steps of the Supreme Court to protest the landmark decision that legalized abortion.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision.

Abortion opponents hold what they call the March for Life every year, this year braving sub-freezing temperatures while a light snow fell.

Anti-abortion activists say 3,300 abortions are carried out in the United States every day.

One of the marchers, Jody Duffy,says she disagrees with abortion unless the mother’s health is at risk.

"I just want people to be aware of the fact that you cannot walk into an abortion clinic one day and think that you're going to walk out and be the same person as when you walked in," says Duffy, who had an abortion three decades ago after being raped.

Abortion rights protesters hold signs as anti-abortion activists march past the Capitol to the Supreme Court in Washington, Jan. 25, 2013.Abortion rights protesters hold signs as anti-abortion activists march past the Capitol to the Supreme Court in Washington, Jan. 25, 2013.
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Abortion rights protesters hold signs as anti-abortion activists march past the Capitol to the Supreme Court in Washington, Jan. 25, 2013.
Abortion rights protesters hold signs as anti-abortion activists march past the Capitol to the Supreme Court in Washington, Jan. 25, 2013.
Abortion rights supporters were also making their voices heard, including Yasemin Ayarci, who spoke to VOA in front of the Supreme Court.

"What we want to do is lower the rates of abortions," she said.  "We want to join them in that fight.  But we want to do it through more rational means with sex education and birth control access."

Anti-abortion activists have been trying for 40 years to get Roe v. Wade overturned.  Federal and state lawmakers have also fought for restrictions on abortions.  They say life begins at the moment of conception and that science backs them up.  They also say some women use abortion as a form of contraception.

Abortion rights activists along with many doctors say legalized abortion is a basic right.  

Supporters say Roe v. Wade has saved thousands of lives of women whose health would have been in danger if they had to have a child.  They also argue that women are no longer forced to seek unsafe abortions or even try the procedure on themselves with deadly results.

The abortion rights group, National Organization for Women, held a candlelight vigil Tuesday evening in front of the Supreme Court to mark the 1973 decision.  

A new NBC News-Wall Street Journal poll shows that 54 percent of Americans believe abortion should remain legal in almost all circumstances. The survey finds 70 percent oppose overturning Roe v Wade.

President Barack Obama has also come out in favor of abortion rights.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.

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by: Ken Kietzman from: Shawnee, OK
January 26, 2013 10:36 AM
Since Roe vs. Wade divorce, domestic violence and STD's have increased. Only the number of children and the economy has gone down. The writing is on the wall and the return of our country to a culture of life is in evidence by the great numbers of young people who comes every winter to DC

by: reubenr from: Cornwall
January 25, 2013 1:21 PM
Please, give it a rest. Obsessing on in to the night, trying to imprint your own values on others is simply irrational. The law does not say that you have to have an abortion. It simply reaffirms a person's right to chose about things and abortion has become one of those things. The truth is that you have tried every trick in the book and every devious way possible to achieve your aim, but nothing has worked because it is simply irrational. Fine, if you don't want to have an abortion. No body is on a march to make you have one, but the extremity of the anti-abortion views of today are beyond pale and a sign of total desperation and frustration.

You are consuming the energy of the Nation in a cause that you alone believe, while science and common sense have left you far behind. At the root of all of this is some how a distorted belief that you are protecting what? Life? You're killing it. Do you have a clue about history. And please, you are going to adopt all the unwanted children that result? You would make a mess, if you were allowed to have your way. I remember listening to one of you, one time, equating anti- abortion thinking to anti-slavery movement. At first I thought it was a joke. Then I could see that you are really delusional, and will say anything or do anything to get your way.

The simple fact is that we have become better people because of abortion. The number of women dying are far less and the number of unwanted children far less. So, what is there to be gained by denying a procedure that saves lives and allows us to do a better job with what we have rather than committing us to trying to accomplish something that we long ago proved impossible. There is a parallel to be drawn, though, between the anti-abortionists and slavery; both deny the freedom of choice.

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