Yesterday was the annual Right to Life March in Washington, DC. This march is held every year to counter the 39th anniversary of the historical Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade. Thousands of “pro-life” or anti-choice, as they are called, enthusiasts with signs depicting aborted fetuses and banners hailing their belief in God and Life with paraphernalia containing slogans such as “Abortion is murder” flooded the street in front of the Supreme Court, where their pro-choice opposition was waiting. The interns and campus organizers of the Feminist Majority Foundation (a non-profit organization that fights for women’s rights in the U.S. and globally as well as publishes Ms. Magazine), staff and interns from the National Organization for Women, individuals involved in the gender equality committee within the OccupyDC movement, some students from Catholic University in DC whose signs included slogans such as “I asked God, she’s pro-choice”, and other independent individuals stood proudly with signs promoting messages such as “Family Panning Saves Lives” and “Keep Abortion Legal.”
Members with stances on both sides of the highly controversial issue were highly energized and confrontational. The atmosphere was highly charged and the masses of anti-choice children in attendance and marching in the street contributed to the disturbing and questionable agenda of the March. The newspapers have described those who protested against the march yesterday, including myself- an intern for the Feminist Majority Foundation, as “pro-abortion”, when in reality we are pro-choice and feel that no person or entity (church or state), should be able to dictate what a woman is permitted to do with their own body.
Most of the anti-choice promoters at the rally yesterday used the religious arguments to support their opinion regarding abortion, a reasoning which does not hold credibility for those who are not Christians. This attitude for the backing of their anti-choice stance also causes another problem among pro-choice individuals who are not religious, a pro-choicer of a different religion than Christianity, or someone who is Christian AND pro-choice, it is entirely ego-centric and makes those who are not Christian feel belittled and less of a person because they do not believe in their version of Christianity. Their behavior seems to fly in the face of religious tolerance, especially when it is misplaced because it is written in the Christian Bible that “Thou shall not judge.”
Among the anti-choice speakers at the rally were many women whom had previously had an abortion and now regret their decision (my response to that form of slander against abortion and pro-choice advocating is that at least these particular women had the choice and they chose abortion). We, as humans, make mistakes and regret them every day about the littlest things, but however unfortunate, we as human beings are also endowed with free will and choice. It is important for women to be able to have that choice because women are not just incubators for reproducing; we are humans with our own bodies and minds.
Abortion needs to remain legal so that abortions may continue to be performed safely and so that no women ever die again from unsterilized, unsafe medical equipment and infection after abortion. Abortion has come a long way as a medical procedure; it is not an invasive surgery and is safer than actually birthing a child. Abortion not only saves women’s lives but it also saves children from the pain of growing up in the overcrowded orphanages in America and unsafe and unsupportive foster homes after the mother (or both parents) chooses adoption instead of abortion.
To the nay-sayers I say, IF YOU DO NOT WANT AN ABORTION, DO NOT HAVE AN ABORTION- no one is forcing you to, but who are you to dictate what other women do with their bodies. If a woman or the parents cannot financially and/or emotionally support bringing a child into the world, abortion is and should always be a safe, legal, and shame-free option.