Kevin Lamarque / Reuters
Anti-abortion demonstrators take part in the "March for Life" in Washington on Monday.
WASHINGTON -- Tens of thousands of abortion opponents marched to the U.S. Supreme Court in chilly, soggy weather on Monday to mark the 39th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the court's decision legalizing abortion.
The "March for Life" has been held every year since 1974, a year after the landmark Supreme Court ruling. It is consistently one of the largest protests of the year in Washington, although weather likely kept this year's numbers down a bit.
House Speaker John Boehner told the crowd that he is one of 12 children and that anti-abortion views are part of his identity.
"With your help this bipartisan majority is standing up for life," he said. "We are heeding the voice of the people who oppose taxpayer funding of abortion."
Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood, talks about the ongoing battle over abortion and a woman's right to choose.
Rep. Steve Chabot, R-Ohio, urged supporters to "make sure we have a pro-life House and elect a pro-life Senate ... and most importantly that the most pro-abortion president in American history, President Obama, no longer occupies the White House."
Participants carried signs reading "I Vote Pro-Life First," "Defund Planned Parenthood" and "Face It ... Abortion Kills a Person."
Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., urged anti-abortion voters to unite behind the eventual GOP nominee.
"We don't have the luxury of disunity or nominee disappointment or apathy," Smith said. "For the sake of the innocent, failure to unite is not an option."
Republican frontrunner Mitt Romney has said he wants to see Roe v. Wade overturned. But Janet Hoven, 55, of Chester, N.J., said he still needed to do more to court anti-abortion activists.
"He's going to have to come out very strong for life. I certainly will pray that he will," said Hoven, a Romney supporter.
Carolee Zentkovich, 68, of Columbia Station, Ohio, said she supports Santorum but would gladly vote for Romney in the hopes of getting Obama out of office.
Americans remain strongly divided on abortion.
A Gallup poll last year showed that 49 percent of respondents identified themselves as "pro-choice," while 45 percent called themselves "pro-life." The same survey found that 50 percent of Americans believe abortion should be legal under some circumstances, 27 percent said it should be legal in all cases and 22 percent said it should always be illegal.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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