Thousands Expected to Protest Abortion on National Mall

What's expected to be one of the largest anti-abortion demonstrations ever descends on Washington today - the "March for Life" on the National Mall. 

This week marks the 40th anniversary of the Roe vs. Wade decision that legalized abortion, and today is the day protesters plan to make their voices heard.  

It'll be the second time this week hundreds of thousands of people flooded the National Mall. The anniversary was actually Tuesday - but because that was the day after inauguration, organizers moved their demonstration to today. "We are more committed than ever to say the killing will stop! We will not be silent, we will not be quiet," said Pro-Life Protester, Patrick Mahoney. 

Hundreds of thousands are expected on the National Mall today - calling to overturn the landmark Roe vs. Wade decision that legalized abortion. 

It's become one of the most polarizing issues in America. 

The federal government won't pay. Only 17 states pay for low-income women.

Republican legislatures passed 135 restrictions in the past two years. 19 states acted just last year. "Now the issue is will abortion be available because at the states there are so many restrictions being passed," said Sarah Weddington, Roe v. Wade Attorney.

Sarah Weddington argued the original case before the U.S. Supreme Court, where demonstrations continue today.

New high-tech imagery has emboldened anti-abortion groups that believe life begins at conception, but public opinion is clear 

Our new Nbc - Wall Street Journal poll this week found seven out of ten want Roe vs. Wade to stay. 

House Speaker John Boehner is among the Republican leaders speaking out today. "The passage of time hasn't changed the fact that abortion is a serious lethal violation of fundamental human rights. And that women and children deserve better, much better," said Rep. Chris Smith, (R) New Jersey.

In a statement the day after his inauguration, President Obama re-affirmed his position, saying, "government should not intrude on our most private family matters."

40 years later... America, still deeply divided over life and choice.

Tracie Potts, NBC News.

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