Supported by activists from 60 other countries yesterday, the Washington marchers were galvanised by what they saw as an erosion of reproductive freedoms under President George W. Bush and foreign policies that hurt women worldwide.
It was one of the biggest rallies in the history of the women’s movement, with estimates of 800,000 marchers. Celebrities in the march included Whoopi Goldberg, Kathleen Turner, Cybill Shepherd and Susan Sarandon.
Democratic Senator Hillary Clinton, referring to the 1973 Supreme Court decision legalising abortion, said the administration was “filled with people who. . . consider Roe v. Wade the worst abomination of constitutional law in our history”.
Mr Bush has signed a ban on what critics call partial-birth abortion, and the first federal law to endow a fetus with rights apart from the pregnant woman.