Hundreds of people gathered in Olympia Tuesday to protest abortion and mark the anniversary of Roe v. Wade.

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OLYMPIA — Amid steady snowfall, hundreds of anti-abortion protesters gathered at the Capitol on Tuesday to mark the 39th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion across the nation.

Noreen McEntee, president of Washington State March for Life, said that even though turnout for the annual protest was smaller than in previous years, presumably because of the weather, it was “the most passionate crowd.”

The State Patrol put the crowd at 450 to 500 people.

McEntee said the goal of the march is to end abortion in Washington state.

Some held signs that read “Pray to End Abortion” and “Women Do Regret Abortion, Men Regret Lost Fatherhood.”

McEntee, 34, said Tuesday’s march was her 33rd in Olympia. Her mother, Kathy McEntee, helped found the organization in 1974, the year after Roe v. Wade was decided.

Judy Ley, one of the founders of the state March for Life, said she’s been active with the organization because the issue of abortion never goes away.

At least three abortion-related measures have been filed in the Legislature this year.

Two bills — one in the Senate, one in the House — would require private insurance plans that cover maternity care to also cover abortion. The proposals are part of efforts to set up a health-insurance exchange, a marketplace for buyers established by the 2010 federal health-care law.

Also, Rep. John Ahern, R-Spokane, is sponsoring House Bill 2200, which would require abortion providers to give women seeking an abortion printed material describing, among other things, the developmental stages of a fetus, and a videotape showing an ultrasound of an unborn child’s heartbeat.

Washington state voters legalized abortion in 1970 — three years before Roe v. Wade.

In 1991, Washington voters approved Initiative 120, which guarantees a woman’s right to abortion and requires health-insurance programs funded or administered by the state — such as Medicaid — to cover the procedure.

“We get an A-plus for being a front-runner in abortions,” McEntee said.

She said women should seek other options, such as adoption.

Jaime Kohler, a member of the Holy Redeemer Catholic Parish in Vancouver, Wash., brought more than a dozen children with her to the march.

“We’re here to witness to life,” Kohler said. “We believe life begins at conception and should be carried out until natural death.”

Stephanie Kim: 360-236-8266 or