On Thursday, hundreds of thousands of anti-abortion protesters with the March for Life will descend on Washington, D.C., to decry the 42nd anniversary of the Supreme Court’s 1973 decision to enshrine abortion as a “constitutional right.”
How many protesters will be there, exactly?
Don’t expect to find out.
The National Park Service used to offer official estimates of crowds on the National Mall — where the March for Life gathers each year and where other high-profile rallies, including the 1963 civil rights march and Glenn Beck’s 2010 Restoring Honor rally, have also congregated — but the agency stopped gauging crowd sizes in 1995 under threat of a lawsuit.
The man responsible: Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.
Farrakhan’s Million Man March in October 1995 brought hundreds of thousands to Washington, butthe National Park Service’s crowd estimate pegged attendance at 400,000 — far below the touted 1 million.
Farrakhan threatened to sue the agency, and Congress soon thereafter ordered the Park Service to stop estimating crowds altogether to avoid future politicized troubles.