Pro-life activists flock to Olympia for annual rally

OLYMPIA, Wash. -- Pro-life demonstrators believe momentum in the country is switching back to their side, and thousands of them gathered Tuesday in Olympia to mark the 40th anniversary of the Roe vs. Wade decision to legalize abortion.

About 3,500 pro-life supporters arrived in Olympia on Tuesday for their yearly march, but many said this year's event took on a new sense of urgency.

Esther Ripplinger of Milton said she got an abortion when she was 19-years old at the insistence of the baby's father.

"I miss the loss of my daughter," she said. "I know that someone is missing in my heart."

Ripplinger joined several hundred other pro-life demonstrators to deliver a message to the state that abortion is wrong. Each year the march fills the Capitol steps, but for the first time ever the group actually filled up the steps of the state supreme court this year.

"I'm here on the 40th anniversary of that terrible decision, Roe v Wade," said Sen. Mike Padden, R-Spokane Valley.

Padden recently introduced a bill that would require parents to be notified if their underage daughter tries to get an abortion.

"I mean, right now you can't even get a tattoo if you're a minor," he said. "Other things, like if you need an aspirin at school, you need parental permission."

Democrats, who control the House, oppose Padden's bill.

"I do believe that if a young woman is old enough that she gets pregnant, then she is in charge of her body," said Rep. Eileen Cody, D-West Seattle.

Cody's party does support the Reproductive Parity Act ensuring abortions are covered when new federal health care coverage takes effect.

"We need to have this bill in place to ensure that women have their choice intact," said Sen. Steve Hobbs, D-Lake Stevens.

Republican lawmakers who were out in force at Tuesday's rally say there's now way the Reproductive Parity Act will make it through the GOP-led Senate.

In fact, it's entirely possible that neither bill will even get a hearing in the opposite house since they don't have the votes to pass them.

That's the new reality in a legislature that has Democrats controlling the House and a coalition of Republicans and two Democrats controlling the Senate.