Thousands of marchers descended on the State Capitol in St. Paul for the second day in the row on Sunday, with anti-abortion groups calling for an end to abortion in America.
Just 24 hours after 100,000 took part in the nationwide Women's March, organizers Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (MCCL) reports an estimated 4,500-5,000 anti-abortion protesters rallied on the steps of the Capitol, amid renewed optimism following the election of President Donald Trump and a GOP newly empowered in Congress.
The demonstration has been held every year on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court ruling legalizing abortion in the U.S.. The MCCL believes progress could be made peeling back elements of the law, according to the Star Tribune.
Priorities identified by the marchers include bringing an end to federal funding of women's health organization Planned Parenthood and the closure of more abortion clinics.
The Pioneer Press spoke to protesters who said they are encouraging women to choose alternatives to abortion, such as adoption.
"Just because it’s someone’s right, doesn’t make it morally right," Ray Lesnar, a father-of-three from Savage, told the newspaper. "We are all for women’s rights. That’s what this country is about."
The march comes after the abortion rate in the U.S. dropped to the lowest rate since Roe vs. Wade. The Guttmacher Institute reported the rate in 2014 was 14.6 abortions per 1,000 women of childbearing age. It's been suggested that improved use of birth control via the Affordable Care Act and an increase in abortion restrictions in certain states contributed to the decline.
Is Roe v. Wade at risk?
Prior to the election, President Trump indicated he would be putting forward a nominee to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court, left following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, with someone wanting to change the Roe v. Wade decision.
However, the likelihood of it being rolled back during a Trump presidency is slim – particularly if that presidency lasts just four years.
FiveThirtyEight points out that Roe vs. Wade was effectively re-affirmed in a Supreme Court ruling last year, Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt, when the court struck down a series of restrictions placed on abortion providers in Texas.
This was upheld by a five-vote majority in the SCOTUS, with FiveThirtyEight noting the court is unlikely to overturn such a precedent so soon after affirming it, and Trump appointing one new justice to the court is unlikely to make a difference.
Yahoo reports the threat to Roe v. Wade would be greater if more of the five pro Roe v. Wade justices – Justices Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor, Anthony Kennedy, and Stephen Breyer – were to leave the Supreme Court.
But while the chances of abortion being banned outright are low, NBC News notes states could "become emboldened" by the GOP-led Congress and Executive to put more restrictions on abortion rights – which could potentially see states reducing access to abortion clinics, and more states banning abortion after 20 weeks (15 do currently, according to the Guttmacher Institute).