NEW YORK -- Alarmed by recent political setbacks, abortion-rights supporters are trying to channel election-year anger at President Bush into what they hope will be their largest protest rally ever.
Organizers of Sunday's ''March for Women's Lives" -- which include Planned Parenthood, the National Organization for Women, and the American Civil Liberties Union -- are seeking a turnout in Washington, D.C., exceeding the estimated 500,000 who attended an abortion-rights rally there in 1992.
That year, the protesters' paramount concern was the US Supreme Court, which was considering a case that could have resulted in overturning a woman's right to have an abortion. This year, the focus is on Bush -- and on a wave of legislation passed by Congress and state lawmakers that march sponsors say is incrementally chipping away at the same right.
''I remember thinking in 1992 that women's reproductive rights couldn't be in any greater jeopardy, but now they are," said NOW's president, Kim Gandy. ''We're sounding the alarm -- we want to invigorate a whole generation to take action to protect the rights that their mothers fought for."
Bush, whom march organizers call ''the most antichoice president" in history, has signed two pieces of legislation since November long sought by antiabortion activists.
One, the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, is now under challenge in federal court; it seeks to outlaw a procedure that critics say is barbaric, but defenders contend is sometimes the best option for preserving a woman's health. The other, the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, is the first federal law to endow an embryo or fetus with legal rights distinct from those of the woman carrying it.
Beyond these new laws, abortion-rights supporters fear that Bush, if reelected, would have a chance to fill Supreme Court vacancies with justices who would overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that made abortion legal.
Antiabortion groups have been busy organizing counterdemonstrations to coincide with Sunday's rally. ''The March for Women's Lives is a death march, and we will be there to confront them with the truth," said Randall Terry, founder of the antiabortion group Operation Rescue.
March organizers say more than 1,300 national and local groups have lent support to the rally.