A few miles from where I sit, the anti-abortion crowd is assembling (in the rain) near the White House, getting ready for their annual March on Washington. What I have never understood is how the anti-abortion movement made this “their” day?
They march to the Supreme Court, dragging little kids with them, making them holding disgusting signs. They give vicious, anti-women speeches, they excoriate doctors who perform abortions, they swamp the Capitol Hill offices demanding that Roe v Wade be overturned.
Why are we not marching on the Capitol? Why are we not celebrating this Supreme Court decision that liberated millions of women? Why are we not barraging the media with stories of women who were saved by abortion? Why are we not publicly praising this decision that gave women control over their own bodies? Why are we not thanking the doctors and staff that work at the clinics?
The anti-abortion movement has successfully stigmatized abortion, which has lead to an erosion of support for the pro-choice position. Meanwhile, even the pro-choice movement tends to shy away from the word “abortion.” Those of us who support abortion rights have to speak up about the benefits of the availability of this procedure. We need to celebrate how abortion has actually saved hundreds and thousands of lives of women who, were it not for Roe v Wade, might be dead by a self-induced abortion. We do not need to be afraid of the word “abortion.”
Meanwhile, women who have had abortions need to speak up and talk about their experiences. I trust women to be able to make this decision on their own, unlike anti-abortion zealots who want to control women, who want to force them to raise children. But women whose lives were saved by abortion need to relate that experience and not hide in the shadows. Their silence is deafening. Over one million women a year receive an abortion. Why are we still under attack?
We also should be celebrating the election of a pro-choice President. Barack Obama won a landslide, generation changing election while not shying away from his support for abortion rights. We should be in front of the White House today, holding signs saying “Thank you, Mr. President.”
There will be battles ahead. There will no doubt be vacancies on the U.S. Supreme Court that need to be filled. Yet, while I am heartened that we have a pro-choice President, we must not let our guard down. We must INSIST that the next appointments reflect the President’s support for abortion rights.
Today’s anniversary should be a wake up call to the pro-choice movement. We need to take back Roe v Wade day, it is our day of liberation! It’s too late to do anything on this particular day but let’s vow to reclaim this anniversary as a celebration of our essential freedoms!