Monday the 23rd marked the 39th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, a Supreme Court decision that made abortion legal for women in 1973 and a resounding triumph for the feminist cause. There are numerous events hosted in remembrance of this court case. The largest organized event is the annual March for Life where thousands of anti-choice activists march on 1st Avenue in Washington, DC. Children, ages ranging from 4 to 18 are bused in from all over the country and required by their religious schools or organizations to attend the event. Most are just happy to have a day off from school.
It was raining and wet, and by the end of the march, demonstrators from both sides of the abortion debate were visibly weathered. A small group of pro-choice activists gathered in front of the Supreme Court awaiting the impending arrival the “antis.” The group began with mic-checks, having each Pro-Choice woman state why they decided to brave the weather and support women’s rights. Messages ranged from “I had an abortion” to “This is a right my mother did not have, and now it is a right my daughter may not have.” Each statement resonated with the principal that religion, government and society should “Trust Women,” with the choice to have an abortion or carry a child to term.
Almost immediately after the march began, the DC Metro police created a necessary barricade between the March for Lifers and the Pro-Choice protestors. Those of us behind the police chanting “My body, my choice!” were prayed for, heckled, and pointed at with blatant disgust. While some of the Marchers and anti-choicers were interested and willing to have a sincere conversation, most jeered and screamed, insinuating that Pro-Choice individuals were “baby-killers!” Most disturbingly, most of the heckling came from white junior-high and high-school aged boys. Yes, because nothing is more influential than a male preteen virgin telling me how I should conduct myself sexually. They resorted to yelling and clapping “We can’t hear you!” to drown out our Pro-Choice chanting, much like you would hear at a basketball game. We responded with “this is not a sports game, this is our lives!”
Most of the young adults looking to debate had overly simplistic or naïve arguments for their anti-choice position. Those who were religious, and most of them were, simply said “Life begins at conception because the Bible says so! A fetus is a baby, that’s just science.” I found this humorous considering that these people probably accept that women came out of Adam’s rib… and that humans coexisted with dinosaurs.
For those who opted out of the religious argument, they suggested a simple solution “if you don’t want a baby, don’t have sex.” Yeah, right. People have sex when, and only when, they want to procreate…that’s realistic. Talk about society’s double standards. Some young people at least had some intelligent suggestions such as using contraception. Did they not realize most anti-choice institutions want to rid the world of both abortion and accessible contraception for women?
At the end of the day I have to say I’m optimistic. Although there were thousands upon thousands of “pro-life” children, I have doubts that the majority will remain anti-choice. God-forbid they ever experience an unwanted pregnancy, pun intended. Let’s hope that they see the light and cross over from the dark side before they reach voting-age.