Anti-abortion advocates gathered in Washington on Friday for the annual "March for Life," a celebration of recent state abortion restrictions, and the possibility that the Supreme Court could grant legal abortion in the United States.
Despite freezing temperatures, tens of thousands of anti-abortion activists gathered on the National Mall with signs saying: "I am the post-Roe generation" and "The future is anti-abortion."
The 49th anniversary of Roe v. Wade was held on Friday, but activists believe it will be the last march to happen before the overturn of the landmark 1973 decision that requires a woman to terminate a pregnancy before the fetus becomes viable.
Rachel Young, 19, was traveling to Washington with her fellow students from northeastern Ohio.
Young said it was her third time attending the March, but that it was a unique event because of the closeness to the Supreme Court in the decision to overturn Roe.
"I just can't even believe it," she said. "I am so thankful that God has brought us here, and that we are so, so close."
In December, the Supreme Court announced its willingness to overturn Roe during arguments for a case out of Mississippi. Conservative justices, like Samuel Alito and Brett Kavanaugh, expressed support for Mississippi's 15-week abortion ban.
If the conservative-leaning court rules in Mississippi's favor, it might restore abortion rights that are protected in the United States for nearly half a century, according to a verdict.
Jeanne Mancini, the president of March for Life, the national anti-abortion organization organizing the event on Friday, said activists are optimistic that this year will bring us much closer to building the culture of life we have all marched for.
Abortion has long been a politically depreciatory issue in the United States, with abortion advocates concerned about conserving life from conception and abortion rights advocates advocating for a woman's bodily autonomy.
As of December 31, 108 abortion limitations were implemented in 19 states in 2021.
Liberate Abortion, a national group of more than 100 abortion rights advocacy organizations, was not planning any in-person counterprotest at the March for Life, according to the coalition campaign director.
"I think it's ironic that they call themselves March for Life because they do not support people living their best lives, because they live without shame and stigma," Hossain said.
The anti-abortion movement is celebrating after six weeks and empowered private citizens to sue anyone who assists someone with an abortion beyond the gestational limit. The Supreme Court has allowed that law, which took effect in September, to stand as it's challenged in lower courts.
Mark Lee Dickson, a director of Right to Life of East Texas, has said that he will attend the March for Life in Washington for the first time.
"I want to be a part of this march for Life with Roe on the books," he said.