Attendees were invited to “come dressed in your best 1972 or 2022 outfit” to a dance party on Saturday night, referencing the year before Roe was decided and the year the court reversed itself 50 years later.
“It makes me so happy to know I’m dancing to celebrate the overturning of Roe,” Danielle Pitzer, director of sanctity of human life at Focus on the Family, said on Friday. She had packed a kaleidoscopic spangled “disco dress,” complete with platform shoes and a matching headband.
Though many American women mourned the loss of the national right to abortion, conservative women — and especially young women — had powered the movement against abortion and infused it with the fresh energy of a new generation. For them, this moment was one to celebrate, and acknowledge the new challenges ahead.
American public opinion has moved toward more support for abortion rights, making the issue a painful political liability for Republicans. The party struggled to come to a consensus on abortion restrictions, and many G.O.P. presidential candidates have avoided the issue so far. At the same time, women have not stopped having abortions, even in states with bans: Instead they have turned to abortion pills or traveled to other states.
“We’ve learned this year that there’s still a lot of work to be done,” said Angela Huguenin, the director of operations for And Then There Were None, an organization that aims to persuade abortion clinic workers to join the anti-abortion movement. That effort has been greeted with more hostility from many clinic workers over the last year, she said. Dozens of clinics have closed since Roe was overturned, and many have had to uproot and move to neighboring states.
To the true believers in Missouri, many of whom work or volunteer for anti-abortion organizations, some of the political fallout can be chalked up to a communication failure: If the public better understood the movement’s commitments to both mothers and babies, it would see things differently.
Some in the movement are skeptical that Dobbs represents a clear-cut victory. Destiny Herndon-De La Rosa, the founder of the small anti-abortion group New Wave Feminists, was at a conference hosted by National Right to Life last year when the court handed down its decision. The room erupted into almost panicked elation, she said. Her own feelings were more mixed.