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Anti-abortion activists mark Roe v. Wade anniversary with demonstration

By Laurie Ure, CNN
January 23, 2012 -- Updated 0003 GMT (0803 HKT)
Abortion foes rally in front of the White House on Sunday, marking the anniversary of the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision.
Abortion foes rally in front of the White House on Sunday, marking the anniversary of the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Sunday was the 39th anniversary of the decision that legalized abortion
  • Hundreds gather in Lafayette Park to demonstrate against abortion rights
  • "Life has value" no matter what age, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee says
  • Obama says he remains "committed to protecting a woman's right to choose"

Washington (CNN) -- Hundreds of anti-abortion activists gathered in Washington's Lafayette Park on Sunday on the 39th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion nationwide.

The 90-minute program featured speakers, music and a quick march along the White House's north gate, located in front of the park.

Many carried signs and recited prayers during the gathering, which was organized by the nonprofit group March for Life.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee told the crowd the reason he got into politics is because he is "pro-life," and believes "if we get this issue wrong, we will inevitably get all the other issues wrong, too."

"Whether the baby is in the mother's womb, or whether it's 8 years old or 18 or 80, that life has value, not because I said so, but because God made it to have value," said Huckabee, a Republican who made an unsuccessful presidential bid in 2008.

Emily Morgan, 21, said she traveled from Cincinnati, Ohio, with her parents and pastor because she felt obligated to speak up.

She told CNN she has had friends and family members who have had abortions and endured "the emotional chaos that happens after that."

"Killing is wrong," Morgan said. "Abortion is killing unborn children."

In a statement issued early Sunday, President Obama said he remains "committed to protecting a woman's right to choose and this fundamental constitutional right."

"While this is a sensitive and often divisive issue, no matter what our views, we must stay united in our determination to prevent unintended pregnancies, support pregnant women and mothers, reduce the need for abortion, encourage healthy relationships, and promote adoption," the statement said.

Obama was in the White House residence during the protest, having spent some time earlier in the day at an off-site venue playing basketball with daughters Sasha and Malia.

Other Roe v. Wade-related events were planned elsewhere in Washington Sunday and Monday, by both anti-abortion activists and abortion rights advocates alike.

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