As Washington, D.C., prepares for today’s March for Life, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority announced an increase in its midday service throughout the city. The D.C. Metropolitan Police Department announced the closure of a number of streets between the White House and the U.S. Capitol Building.
The annual anti-abortion rights march is scheduled to begin with a rally at noon near the corner of 15th St. and Constitution Ave., north of the Washington Monument. Protesters plan to march east along Constitution Ave. toward First St. NE and plan to end in front of the U.S. Supreme Court building.
The gathering, which is motivated by the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision on abortion, is expected to draw tens of thousands of demonstrators to the city where an estimated 500,000 protesters gathered to attend the Women’s March last Saturday.
WMATA General Manager Paul J. Wiedefeld said that Metro will boost service between the morning and evening rush hours, meaning trains on each line will run about every eight minutes, resulting in service every two to four minutes at downtown stations. Metro will run more eight-car trains — the longest train length possible — in addition to cancelling all midday track work and staffing stations with additional employees to assist visitors.
The march’s main impact on D.C. commuters is predicted to be during the afternoon rush hour, with most street closures taking effect after 8 a.m. Police will close streets along Constitution Avenue from 17th St. to First St. from around 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. as the march proceeds.
Multiple Georgetown groups are planning or participating in the march and counter-protests around the Mall.
Georgetown Right to Life President Amelia Irvine (COL ’19) said that though she was disappointed by the lack of university support, the group is attending the march.
“We at Georgetown Right to Life are proud to attend the March for Life every year despite lack of support from the Georgetown administration. We petitioned the university for an excused absence for students who wish to attend the March, but our request was denied,” Irvine wrote in an email to The Hoya. “Still, dedicated, pro-life students will join the march tomorrow.”
H*yas For Choice Co-President Emily Stephens (SFS ’17) said that the group’s members will participate in counter-protests especially given several executive actions of President Donald Trump, including banning U.S. aid to support abortion services overseas.
“We view this as an opportunity to register our dissent with the anti-choice values the march promotes, and to show our continued support for abortion access nationwide,” Stephens wrote in an email to The Hoya. “Just in the last few days, several violent and virulently anti-choice policies have been introduced by Donald Trump and anti-choice politicians in the U.S. Congress and state legislatures.”
Stephens said her group’s presence is important to demonstrate opposition to Trump’s actions.
“These policies will unequivocally place the lives and quality of life of millions of people in jeopardy, particularly people of color, low-income people and people living in rural communities,” Stephens wrote. “We feel that now, more than ever, showing up in person at this type of event helps to demonstrate that, in fact, the majority of Americans, like H*yas for Choice, recognize the danger of overturning or lessening the protections afforded by Roe v. Wade.”
Georgetown University College Republicans President Alexandra Williams (SFS ’19) said that she encourages students to demonstrate with Right to Life.
“We are expecting many members of GUCR to participate and are in full support of their right to do so. We have coordinated with Right to Life and are proud of our members who will be marching in the pursuit of protecting unborn lives,” Williams said.
Georgetown University College Democrats Chair Meredith Forsyth (SFS ’19) said she encourages students to demonstrate against the March for Life.
“GUCD encourages members to attend the counter-protest at the Supreme Court, along with H*yas for Choice, in support of Planned Parenthood and other organizations fighting for reproductive freedom, in celebration of the anniversary of Roe v. Wade and with the view that the rights the decision enshrines may be under threat in the near future,” Forsyth wrote in an email to The Hoya.
Georgetown Right to Life Vice President MyLan Metzger (COL ’19) said that although she is a registered Democrat and supports much of the Democratic Party’s platform, her religious beliefs prompt her to attend the March for Life.
“I’m attending the March for Life because I think that it is an important human rights issue. I first and foremost consider myself a supporter of Catholic Social Thought, which upholds the dignity of all human life from conception to natural death,” Metzger said. “For this reason, I have always considered myself pro-life and will be attending my third March for Life.”
Metzger added that the discussion around abortion does not have to be a polarizing issue.
“There is a shrinking number of pro-life Democrats in America due to increased polarization,” Metzger said. “By attending the March for Life, I hope to convey that I support many of these more ‘progressive Democratic’ principles not despite being pro-life, but because I am pro-life. However, the Democrat’s care for the poor, sick or displaced should start at conception.”