Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Marching for Life a New Generation of Pro-Life Activists Seeks a New Debate

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Marching for Life a New Generation of Pro-Life Activists Seeks a New Debate

Article excerpt

Four days following the inauguration of President Barack Obama, thousands of Western Pennsylvanians will board buses and set off for the nation's capital to commemorate an entirely different occasion. Forty years following the landmark Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision, Washington, D.C., will host the annual March for Life at an important juncture for the pro-life cause.

Noticeably absent will be Nellie Gray, founder of the event, who passed away in August. She spearheaded the movement by organizing the first march in 1974, which drew an estimated 20,000 pro-lifers. The event has since grown under her guidance, with coordinators predicting that more than 400,000 marchers will take part this year.

A Texas native, Gray took a hard-line stance on abortion, using the phrase "no exceptions, no compromise" as she advised against pursuing common ground. With respect for Gray's tireless dedication to the unborn, pro-life advocates must begin to chart a new course as the tide of public sentiment drifts away from them.

This year's marchers face an uphill challenge as a result of the November elections. Pro-life contenders across the country struggled to hold office or unseat incumbents after being put on the defensive when Senate candidates Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock made statements regarding rape that were widely perceived as irresponsible. Their damaging comments fueled the Obama administration's "Republican war on women" concept, legitimizing the idea that women's rights are being restricted by abortion opponents. Still, exit polling revealed that views are still largely mixed when it comes to access to abortion, and the next elections may just as easily swing the other way.

The Pittsburgh region has played a large role in the debate, with local abortion clinics attracting national media attention by stirring up controversy. …

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