Choice Week Wrap-Up and the March for Life

For all my readers out there passionate about abortion rights and the pro-choice movement, I hope you’ve had a good Choice Week/Abortion Rights Week.  This week has been a big one for us: the fortieth anniversary of Roe v Wade, the introduction of new terrifying legislation (more on this to come), a couple of rallies and conferences, and yesterday, the March for Life Counter-Protest.

Where do I even start?  I guess the March for Life is a good place, because it highlights really well just how polarizing and how emotionally intense this issue is.  It is easily one of the most contentious issues in American politics today, and understandably so.  The March for Life is the biggest protest by the pro-life (or let’s call them what they really are: pro-fetus) movement, and is held each year around the time of the anniversary of Roe v Wade.

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Randi S (left) and Abbe R (right) at the March for Life Counter-Protest
Randi’s sign reads: “Safe and Legal: Pro-Health, Pro-Woman, Pro-Choice”
Abbe’s sign reads: “Keep Your Rosaries Off My Ovaries”

There were SO MANY PEOPLE at the March for Life, representing numerous religious and non-profit organizations advocating for the end of abortion in the United States.  There were a large number of people with signs proclaiming that they were survivors of the “abortion holocaust”.  I’m not going to lie, as a Jewish person, I might be a little offended by this.  Abortion ISN’T an act of hate.  It isn’t used to extinguish a group of people from the face of the earth.  It’s a medical decision that women make.  There is 100% a difference between Planned Parenthood and the Nazis.  Why is this confusing?

There were also a bunch of people with signs proclaiming that they regret their abortions.  I will admit that it is unfortunate that there are women who regret making this choice, but the fact is, they WERE able to make this choice.  And just because they regret it does not mean that they should be able to impose this on other people.

To counter this,  Stop Patriarchy held a press conference to talk about the pro-choice side of this issue.  (Stop Patriarchy is a radical feminist organization dedicated to ending oppressive gender roles in the United States, but full disclosure: aside from my conversations with them at the March for Life, I’m not particularly familiar with their organization and its goals-~-I have put a link to their website, however, if anyone is interested in learning more about what they do).  What Stop Patriarchy talked about are the ideas that are fundamental to our movement: the idea that women cannot be free if we enforce forced motherhood, the idea that women need to be able to make their own choices about their bodies, the idea that access to abortion can be empowering as it can allow women to retake control of their fates.

They also invited a few people to testify to the necessity of their abortions, to talk about why they got them, and why they don’t regret them.  (While this was happening, the pro-life side of this event was singing at us about Jesus,)  This is important, because we live in a culture where sex and all things related to it are shamed, including abortion.  Maybe even especially abortion.  Although one in three women in the US will need an abortion at some point in her life, it is hugely stigmatized and incredibly difficult to discuss.  I salute those who stepped forward to share their stories-~-because it is time that we started talking about abortion, and why women choose this option.  Why we need this option available to be chosen.

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Tea S (AUSFC)

I also just wanted to give a shout-out to all of my fellow activists who stood out there in the cold until their fingers and toes went numb to advocate for this cause, and all of my fellow activists who have been present at various pro-choice events throughout this week.  This can be a difficult cause to fight for at times-~-you get called the nastiest things, and it is always an uphill battle-~-but it is a cause worth fighting for.  Women are worth fighting for, and it has been an incredible experience standing beside you.

Lastly, I wanted to recognize and thank everyone who has thus far helped and will help AU Students for Choice as we continue to raise money for NARAL Pro-Choice America.  To the folks in that organization-~-thanks for reminding me that our generation DOES care and that there are things we can still do to be a part of this cause, even when we are knee-deep in the middle of the rest of our lives.

I havewritten a decent amount about pro-choice, why I am pro-choice, and my feelings regarding our discussion of women’s health, but this week, I have gotten to see it come alive.  I have gotten to truly see what we are up against, and I remain convinced that we are going to succeed.  Roe v Wade still stands forty years later, and even though women’s rights are under attack across the US and around the world, seeing men and women come together to raise their voices and to fight back reminds me that feminism isn’t just a bunch of blog posts published from the comfort of my room, or a theory class at my university, or even a few rallies: it’s a vision of a world where are lives are not defined by hate, and it’s a goal we are moving towards, in baby steps, every day.

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~ by Randi Saunders on January 26, 2013.

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