Pro-life? Your name’s a lie! You don’t care if women die!
We chanted this over and over again while counter-protesting the anti-choice “#WomenBetrayed” rally on Capitol Hill. I wasn’t sure why, but tears started to form in my eyes, and I felt a kind of frustration deep in my stomach that I previously didn’t know existed.
I was angry.
I was angry at the aggressive, anti-choice student who shoved cameras into my personal space as a way to intimidate me and keep me silent. I was angry at the protestors who dragged their children through the D.C. heat in the middle of the day to yell and scream about a clearly falsified video. I was angry at the people who claimed to be pro-life, when they were really anti-woman.
Nowhere was this misogyny clearer than in the sexist ways we were treated by the anti-choice protestors. Most telling was one woman who sneered at the interns, telling our bosses to “stop manipulating these girls.” Girls. That word stuck in my head. I was taken aback. We were not a group of girls. We were an organized protest of young, fearless, strong women; women who have the ability to make ethical, informed decisions about our bodies and lives; women who have taken it upon ourselves to make sure people across the country can have access to quality, affordable healthcare.
But she saw us as “girls.” And that proves to me, once again, that the anti-choice movement is not here to serve the interest of women. Instead, this movement infantilizes women, and views us as girls, or people who are unable to make decisions about our healthcare, sexuality, and bodies. I might be a young woman, but I am old enough to make decisions about the issues that matter most to me. I am old enough to know my healthcare decisions should belong in my hands.
So, to the woman who yelled at my internship supervisor to “stop manipulating these girls,” I respond:
I am not a girl, but a woman. I am a woman who cares about other women. I am a woman who believes women can be trusted with their medical decisions. I am a woman who has thought deeply about ethical issues, and has decided the prosperity and lives of women, especially low-income women, are far more important than any right-wing political rhetoric that can be spouted at me with the aid of graphic, misleading signs and false data.
I am a pro-choice woman who will not stand for these injustices.