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Demonstrations mark 32nd anniversary of Roe v. Wade

An anti-abortion demonstrator, left, argues with abortion rights supporters in San Francisco on Saturday. 
 (Associated Press / The Spokesman-Review)
An anti-abortion demonstrator, left, argues with abortion rights supporters in San Francisco on Saturday. (Associated Press / The Spokesman-Review)
Brian Melley Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO – Activists on both sides of the abortion issue marched in demonstrations across the country Saturday to mark the 32nd anniversary of the historic U.S. Supreme Court decision that made abortion legal.

The anniversary came amid speculation that retirements on the Supreme Court could alter its makeup and its long-standing defense of the Roe v. Wade decision during President Bush’s second term. Chief Justice William Rehnquist is 80 and suffering from thyroid cancer.

In San Francisco, thousands of abortion opponents marched on the city’s waterfront, chanting slogans like “Women deserve better,” while abortion rights supporters tried to drown them out with their own rallying cries.

San Francisco Supervisor Tom Ammiano said he thought it was ironic that anti-abortion activists chose the liberal West Coast city as the site for their demonstration.

“I think they want to parlay that irony,” Ammiano said. “What better place than San Francisco, not only as an act of provocation, but I think as an act of arrogance. But we know how to handle it.”

Abortion opponents carrying American flags and signs reading “Parental Rights” and “Choose Life” also marched on the state Capitol in Austin, Texas, where Republican Gov. Rick Perry pledged support for a bill requiring a minor to get her parents’ consent for an abortion.

“Abortion needs to be brought in line with nearly every other medical procedure performed on minors, and that includes parental consent,” said Joe Pojman, executive director of Texas Alliance for Life.

Sarah Wheat, spokeswoman for NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, said her group opposes a parental consent law because it would not have a huge impact on the abortion rate.

“For us, it looks like a lot of time and energy that is not going to have that big of an impact, positive or negative,” she said.

In Los Angeles, Catholic Cardinal Roger Mahony was expected to lead an annual “Respect Life Mass” Saturday featuring the lighting of 157 candles to signify the number of abortions being performed a day in the city.

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