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NARAL Pro-Choice America, another group that supports legalized abortion, released a report last week raising alarm about the high number of anti-abortion measures passed by states. The group found that state legislatures enacted twice as many anti-abortion measures in 2011 as in the year prior.
“The findings in this report should spur every American who values freedom and privacy into action,” Nancy Keenan, the group’s president, said in a statement, calling the anti-abortion efforts a “war on women.”
The state-level victories emboldened activists ahead of the massive annual March for Life event today in Washington, D.C., which is usually the largest political rally in the nation’s capital. Crowd turnout last year was estimated to be more than 100,000.
Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) is scheduled to kick off the event on the National Mall, followed by dozens of conservative Representatives. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) spoke to the marchers last year.
Nellie Gray, the founder of the march, said the interest from Members in addressing the crowd encourages her.
“We will hope certainly to approach the whole issue during the upcoming [Congressional] session,” she said.
Gray said she also expects abortion to be a factor in the presidential race. All of the Republican presidential candidates have signed pledges stating their opposition to abortions, which Dannenfelser said showed the growing strength of anti-abortion activists among the conservative base.
“The fact that they all have made rock-solid commitments on anything this early in the primaries is a first,” she said.
Former Speaker Newt Gingrich (Ga.), Rep. Ron Paul (Texas) and former Sen. Rick Santorum (Pa.) have signed a pledge drafted by Dannenfelser’s group, which includes a promise to select only anti-abortion appointees for Cabinet and executive positions related to health care issues — including for attorney general.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney declined to sign that pledge, but he released one of his own that stopped short of that promise. Despite that, Dannenfelser said her group approved of his position on abortion, which is increasingly “becoming a wedge issue in the right direction for the pro-life movement.”