Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Observations from my first "March For Life"

                              BY: Jessica Greer, NWPC Political Planning & Action Intern

In this post, Jessica reflects on her experiences attending the "March For Life," an annual anti-choice rally held in the nation's capital on the anniversary of the Roe v Wade decision.

 It felt very cold on one of the last Thursdays in January when I went to protest the March for Life. However, after talking with older women who have been coming to this rally for years, forty degrees was nothing. I was quickly given a sign and became a part of my first feminist protest. I have been to protests before, but never one for women’s rights. I felt more impassioned during this protest than others, and after hearing the pro-choice men, I realized how important it is to have other groups actively support you. I have met many men who support reproductive rights, but never ones who went out of their way to prove how important my rights were to them. It meant a lot to me. However, the good feelings did not last long, as pro-lifers starting trickling in bit by bit. At first they were passive, walking around with their signs, babies, and rosaries. There were also occasional prayers said for our souls, so nothing out of the ordinary.

       About an hour later, the hoard arrived and we blocked the road while chanting in unity. The police gave us the right to protest for a while, but eventually we had to clear the street in order to let them pass. A few young (and old) brave women refused and were arrested. All I can hope is that when I am old, I have the gusto that these women do. Watching the pro-lifers march past was an interesting experience. I went to a catholic school for 12 years, so I know what they can be like, but I never saw them in their full glory—and it was terrifying. Seeing all the younger children march past with confused faces was incredibly disheartening. I wouldn’t bring my children to a march for anything at that age. The babies were worse. These people shout about how much they care about babies, but they bring theirs in cold weather to an event with thousands of screaming people. Something else that disturbed me was how many men were marching. They were telling stories over loudspeakers about how their girlfriends had abortions and they felt as if they “lost their fatherhood.” They really brought themselves into a debate that they have no business being in. How can someone be so against something that doesn’t even affect them? The women in the march also barely had respect for their fellow females. Of course, abortion is a choice and you can always choose not to have one. Nonetheless, women should still respect other women who feel that they are unready for a child or simply do not want to be pregnant.

    Despite all this, there was one thing that gave me hope. Seeing all the kids around the junior high age, pressured to be there by their religion, was not as discouraging to me. I am certain that one day these children’s minds will lead them away from their religious bubble. After all my time in that bubble, I know that many kids will find their way out; I watched it happen. Against the pro-lifers loud and repetitive chant, I do not believe there will be an up and coming “pro-life generation.” 

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