January 23, 2013

40 years of Roe v. Wade: Marchers embody enduring conflict

The landmark abortion decision is still hotly opposed and defended as it enters its fifth decade.

By JOHN HANNA/The Associated Press

(Continued from page 1)

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Abortion foes rally Tuesday outside the Statehouse in Topeka, Kan. Gov. Sam Brownback told the 1,000 or so marchers: “There’s joy in what you’re doing and keep it up.”

The Associated Press

Bettina Hager, Jeff Foster
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Bettina Hager, center, and Jeff Foster, left, join a candlelight vigil Tuesday in front of the U.S. Supreme Court to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade.

The Associated Press

According to the New York-based Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive-rights think tank, 135 laws aimed in some way at restricting access to abortion were enacted in 30 states -- most of them with Republican-controlled legislatures -- in 2011 and 2012. More such measures already have been proposed in several states this year.

In Wyoming, for example, a pending bill would prohibit abortions after a fetal heartbeat is audible. A similar "heartbeat" bill is pending in Mississippi, and one was debated but later sidetracked in Ohio last year.

In Texas, Republican Gov. Rick Perry has told lawmakers that he expects to make progress during the 2013 session toward his goal of making abortion "at any stage a thing of the past." Anti-abortion activists have pledged to use every legal means possible to make obtaining abortions difficult, if not impossible.

Tuesday's events won't be the only anniversary observances. The annual March for Life, which traditionally draws several hundred thousand abortion opponents to Washington, is scheduled for Friday.

Although bills to strengthen access to abortion are rare, there are some pending proposals.

In their state of the state speeches this month, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo endorsed a bill that would further entrench the right to abortion, while Washington's new governor, Jay Inslee, said he wants to enact a measure that would require insurers who cover maternity care to also pay for abortions.

Both Cuomo and Inslee are Democrats.


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