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Jan. 21–Sharing the date with President Barack Obama’s inauguration didn’t hurt attendance at the annual March for Life rally on the Capitol steps Tuesday. More than 4,000 people gathered in the chilly afternoon to call for an end to abortion, according to Washington State Patrol estimates.
The March for Life rally typically is the largest gathering on the steps during the legislative session and usually occurs Jan. 22, the anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion. However, abortion-rights supporters were first to secure a permit for the date this year. Their rally will be at noon Thursday.
Moving the anti-abortion rally to the same day Obama took office gave those gathered a chance to reflect on the national mood.
“Inauguration means a new beginning,” observed Noreen McEntee Hobson, president of the state March for Life organization. She took over planning the 31-year-old event after her mother and former organizer, Kathy McEntee, died just before last year’s event.
Obama supports abortion rights, but McEntee Hobson quoted his inaugural address, in which the new president heralded “the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.”
McEntee Hobson and others at the rally said those basic legal rights should be extended to the unborn. The crowd was made up mostly of Roman Catholic groups, including elementary schools and Knights of Columbus councils. A dozen counter-demonstrators gathered nearby.
Sen. Mike Carrell, R-Lakewood, said it was his 14th appearance at the March for Life rally.
Noting Obama’s call for an end to bitter ideological debates, Carrell said he hoped for a new discussion on issues close to the abortion debate, such as embryonic stem cell research.
“One of the things this election will do, perhaps, is lower some of the rhetoric and some of the over-the-top politics,” he said.
Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News – January 21, 2009
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