Activists on both sides of the abortion debate will be rallying and marching over the next few days in their annual show of force, while looking ahead to the coming year with a mix of combativeness and trepidation.

The events kick off Friday with the March for Life in Washington, the biggest yearly event for opponents of abortion. Organizers say Donald Trump will become the first sitting president to address the gathering, speaking live from the White House Rose Garden.

Abortion rights supporters plan a counter-protest Friday at the Supreme Court, followed by other weekend events marking Monday’s 45th anniversary of the high court’s Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion nationwide. Abortion-rights leaders also will have major roles in many of the women’s marches planned around the country on Saturday and Sunday; for example, Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards will be a featured speaker at a major rally in Las Vegas.

Richards, in a news briefing this week, said Planned Parenthood and its allies are eyeing November’s elections as a chance to strengthen the abortion-rights cause both in Congress and at the state level.

“Any way you spin it, women have become the most potent political force in this country,” she said.

While the Democratic Party, which supports abortion rights, is confident of substantial gains in the election, some Republican legislators are wary of wading into the abortion debate and other hot-button social issues during the 2018 sessions that began this month in statehouses nationwide.

In Indiana, for example, anti-abortion activists have been attacking Republican House Speaker Brian Bosma for what they perceive as a lack of interest in tough new anti-abortion measures. In Wisconsin, Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos has told anti-abortion groups that there aren’t enough votes to pass measures they favor that would limit or ban research involving fetal tissue obtained from abortions.

In Virginia, where Democrats recently gained many seats in the legislature’s lower chamber, Republican lawmakers have been more reluctant than usual to introduce anti-abortion bills this year. And the state’s new Democratic governor, Ralph Northam, is advocating a progressive agenda that would include protecting abortion rights.

Jim Daly, president of the conservative Christian group Focus on the Family, said he wouldn’t be surprised if some state Republican leaders opted to shy away from abortion and other social issues in an election year. But he suggested that those who acted boldly would win the gratitude and votes of social conservatives.

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