Monday, January 22, 2007

Walk For Life

I was at the third annual West Coast Walk For Life on Saturday. This year the prolife crowd was absolutely huge, at about 20,000, while the "pro-choice" side was miniscule at just a couple of hundred. Doing a technorati search, I found this lamentation from the other side.

The post I did after the 2006 walk is here, that for the 2005 walk (where I met my wife-to-be for the first time) is here. You might find them interesting, if you've never seen them before.

Here's a quote from the lamentation I mentioned:

I celebrated this anniversary by joining approximately 400 other reproductive rights activist at the Embarcadero, to have a counter-protest to the 3rd Annual West Coast Walk For Life, a right wing predominantly Christian parade against abortion that converges every January here in the heart of liberalism, San Francisco CA.

Honestly, it was a pretty dismaying afternoon people, over 200 police officers were there to keep the crowds in check as over 20,000 pro-lifers from across the country marched bearing signs with totally falsified pictures of mangled fetuses and slogans like "abortion hurts women" and "abortion is the greatest destroyer of peace." They had their rosaries, and bibles, and walked in prayer for all of the fetuses, and all of the mothers, and all of the heathen activists that are going to burn in hell for their sins. For the most part the events remained cordial, a little yelling at times from both sides, but less out and out fights then last year and no one tried to pour holy water on me and exorcise my demons as has occurred in previous years. (true story!)

For the past three years that this march has come to town I have attended and sometimes helped to organize the counter demonstration. Every year the Walk for Life gets bigger and the activists grow fewer. This year, the sheer ratios of 1 protester to every 50 anti-choicers and 2 protesters to every 1 police officer got me a little blue, and an overall feeling of hopelessness permeated the thoughts of many of my fellow marchers.... They asked themselves "What's the point of coming anymore? Protesting accomplishes nothing."

It's true that protesting as a lone tactic rarely accomplishes much but it's exactly this mentality that keeps the numbers low at protests. We need to remember that protesting in conjunction with political organizing can make a powerful statement. We need to be there with our messages of "Forward Not Back: Reproductive Justice for All." "Our body! Our lives! Our right to decide!" and "Keep your Rosaries Off My Ovaries!" In era where our reproductive rights are being eroded by the Christian right, it's more important than ever to hit the streets and send the message that we're not going to stand for it. If we allow them to permeate our movement with hopelessness and doubt, then they have already won. And I for one refuse to go down that easily. Won't you join me?

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