Monday, January 22, 2001

Anti-abortion marchers hopeful

With Bush, now 'we have a voice'

By Patrick Crowley
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        ERLANGER — Anti-abortion activists arriving in Washington today predict new success for their cause now that Republican George W. Bush has moved into the White House.

        Three buses carrying an estimated 350 people, most ly from Northern Kentucky, left the Diocese of Covington's Catholic Center on Sunday for the 10-hour overnight trip to Washington, D.C.

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        The group plans to participate in the 28th annual March for Life, a protest of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion.

        Participants are particularly encouraged this year because Mr. Bush was sworn in as president on Saturday. “People are excited about the change,” said Karen Riegler, who is involved in the anti-abortion movement in the Diocese of Covington.

        “We've been treated like outcasts the last eight years ... by the past administration and the media in Wash ington,” Ms. Riegler said Friday. “Now we feel we have a voice.”

        The March for Life annually attracts up to 100,000 people. Unlike Mr. Clinton, Mr. Bush has indicated he would sign legislation banning a late-term procedure opponents refer to as “partial-birth abortion.” Ms. Riegler said anti-abortion activ ists are also confident Mr. Bush will appoint Supreme Court justices who would consider overturning Roe v. Wade.

        At least two justices are expected to retire during Mr. Bush's first term in office.

        “George Bush has said he will not have a litmus test for appointing judges, but he has also said he would appoint judges who are strict constructionists, and they would definitely look at this issue as being unconstitutional,” Ms. Riegler said.

        The group left Sunday evening after a prayer service by Bishop Robert W. Muench.

        Members of the group were scheduled to have breakfast this morning with members of Kentucky's congressional delegation, including U.S. Sen. Jim Bunning, a Southgate Republican.

        The march — from the White House to the Supreme Court — begins at noon.

        Most of those on the trip paid their own way, but some, particularly students and young people, received financial help from the diocese and the Knights of Columbus. “There is very little sightseeing done or anything like that,” Ms. Riegler said. “We really look at it as a pilgrimage.”


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