Thousands of demonstrators, including 270 from the Buffalo area, Monday ended a three-day protest against the Supreme Court's Roe vs. Wade decision with rallies, religious services and visits to the courthouse steps and to mainly empty congressional offices.
In response, Republican congressional leaders promised a renewed attempt to enact a law barring a form of late-term abortion that critics call "partial-birth" abortion.
House Majority Leader Dick Armey, R-Texas, said he is "committed" to passing the ban, which has been vetoed twice by President Clinton.
Rep. Christopher H. Smith, R-N.J., a Judiciary subcommittee chairman, urged listeners to back presidential and congressional candidates who oppose abortion.
Most of the Buffalo visitors rode all night on chartered buses to mark the 27th anniversary of the decision that prohibited states from blocking abortions in the first trimester. But this year, they split into two groups, and their activities were a study in contrasts.
Bishop Henry J. Mansell of the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo, who offered Mass in a downtown hotel, called the 200 travelers in the diocesan party "heralds of light and heralds of life."
Speaking softly and in measured tones, the bishop said in his homily that the U.S. Bill of Rights is grounded in God's love and God's law. "Civilization enjoys its finest hours when it is defending life in all its forms, particularly at its weakest and most vulnerable," he said.
It is encouraging to see the decline in preference for abortion among young women, he said, but "when we talk about violence and conflict resolution, let us look to the infant in the womb."
At another rally, about 70 Buffalo protesters heard emotional appeals for direct action against abortion clinics, especially those operated by Planned Parenthood in Western New York, and denunciations of U.S. Sens. Charles E. Schumer and Daniel Patrick Moynihan, both New York Democrats.
Stasia Z. Vogel, head of Buffalo Regional Right to Life Committee, criticized Schumer and Moynihan for their pro-choice voting records. She called Schumer a pro-abortion "radical" and Moynihan "pro-abortion." Schumer has supported "partial-birth" abortion under certain circumstances, while Moynihan has called it "infanticide." Both are consistently pro-choice.
Referring to Planned Parenthood satellite offices, Vogel told her followers: "You'd better get out there because they're going to kill a lot of babies at all those clinics."
Vogel introduced another speaker, author Jacqueline Kasun, who criticized Microsoft founder Bill Gates, Time Warner executive Ted Turner and investor Warren Buffett, whose company owns The Buffalo News, for donating funds to population-control organizations.
Kasun, who wrote "The War Against Population," filled in for former Rep. Robert K. Dornan, R-Calif., who was billed as the main speaker but did not appear because of a scheduling mix-up. He spoke to the group by telephone.
Vogel arranged to meet Dornan later in the day for presentation of an award praising him as one "who stood tall on God's battlefield."
While Mansell spoke hopefully about the falloff in acceptance of abortion, he noted the revelation "last year of evidence of the selling of fetal parts, the selling of parts of the human body, and how it's a lucrative, high-tech industry."