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Abortion opponents rally

Abortion opponents attend a rally on the National Mall in Washington, Thursday, before marching to the Supreme Court to mark the 36th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade march for Life.

AP photo

WASHINGTON — Tens of thousands of abortion opponents rallied Thursday on the National Mall to mark the 36th anniversary of Roe v. Wade amid concerns they could face political setbacks under the new president.

The rally and subsequent march to the Supreme Court came two days after the swearing-in of President Barack Obama, which many at the rally said emphasized their need to become more vocal with their message.

Among those attending the rally was Kirk Kramer of Cottage City, Md., who held up a sign reading: “The Audacity Of Hope: No More Roe.”

Kramer, a Democrat, said he has mixed feelings about Obama. He supports the president’s position on Iraq but said he was concerned about statements Obama made during the campaign indicating support for the Freedom of Choice Act, which would overrule many state-level restrictions on access to abortion.

In a letter posted on their Web site, organizers invited Obama to speak at Thursday’s rally.

“America needs your strong leadership as president of all the people to stop the intentional killing of an estimated 3,000 pre-born boys and girls each day and the brutalizing of mind, heart and body of pregnant mothers,” the letter states.

Obama, who did not attend the rally, issued a statement Thursday saying the government “should not intrude on our most private family matters” and reaffirming his support for abortion rights.

“While this is a sensitive and often divisive issue, no matter what our views, we are united in our determination to prevent unintended pregnancies, reduce the need for abortion, and support women and families in the choices they make,” Obama said.

A small group of abortion-rights supporters also gathered in front of the Supreme Court on Thursday.

Lisa King of Washington, D.C., said she is disappointed that Obama did not immediately move to overturn the so-called “global gag rule,” which denies U.S. funds to any international family planning group that provides abortion-related services or information.

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