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The National Park Service has no intention of revoking the organizers’ permit for the event, says Public Affairs Officer Mike Litterst, despite the blizzard warning.
“The National Park Service would not rescind the permit for the March for Life (or any First Amendment activity) based on weather, although we do work with organizers to ensure that they are aware of and prepared for inclement conditions,” Litterst said in an email.
Several dioceses and schools from across the country have already cancelled their traveling plans due to the weather, but March for Life public relations representative Karl Hetzke said no amount of cancellations will prohibit the event from continuing.
Hetzke could not give an estimate for how many groups are still planning to attend, citing changing numbers as calls continue to roll in.
Since the first march in 1974, hundreds of thousands of anti-abortion-rights supporters have gathered on the National Mall annually, this year on the 43rd anniversary of the landmark Roe v. Wade case that affirmed a woman’s decision to have an abortion. This year’s march will begin at noon near the Washington Monument, and will feature speakers including Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina, former NFL player Matt Birk, and Sen. Joni Ernst.
While the march will go on as planned, it has caused another cancellation: classes Thursday and Friday at Two Rivers Charter School, which is located next door to D.C.’s future Planned Parenthood facility. The school has sued several anti-abortion-rights protesters it says are harassing its students. ThinkProgress reports:
Two Rivers will also be closed Friday to avoid the larger march, as its school is situated walking distance from the National Mall. On the school’s email listserv, many parents have expressed concerns about finding childcare for these two days.
Regardless of whether or not classes were in session Thursday, the protest would have taken place, said Lauren Handy, a member of a group called Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust. Next to her, a teenage boy holds a picture of a dead fetus.
Meanwhile, local abortion-rights supporters are using the hashtag #SnowvWade to solicit donations to the D.C. Abortion Fund. Stop the Patriarchy has organized transit from major cities to protest the event outside of the Supreme Court, where the march passes.