Protesting the anti-abortion bigots

January 29, 2009

SAN FRANCISCO--On January 24, 200 pro-choice activists and allies turned out to counter-protest the so-called "March for Life."

For the past five years, thousands of anti-choice activists have gathered in San Francisco near the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the 1972 Supreme Court decision granting women the right to abortion, to assert their anti-choice agenda. This year, 15,000 anti-choice protesters descended on the city.

In response, the Bay Area Coalition for Our Reproductive Rights, called for a counter protest. Demands included support for free abortion on demand, no forced sterilization, a defense of immigrant rights, a call to stop the racist Minutemen, civil rights for LGBT people and a repeal of the anti-same-sex marriage Proposition 8.

As activists noted, it will take a united fightback against all types of bigotry to defeat the right-wing agenda. As Anastasia, an immigrant rights activist, said, "Millions of people are living in the shadows and we will not do so anymore. From immigrants to women's oppression, we must not fight separate battles, but unite them and fight back together."

Despite anti-choice forces significantly outnumbering counter protesters, pro-choice forces kept their spirits and voices up. Chanting, "Bigots, we got your global gag rule," activists celebrated Obama's recent overturning of the Bush administration "gag rule" that denied funding to international agencies which provided women with abortion services or information.

Notably, the right wing's numbers on the march decreased from 25,000 last year to 15,000 this year. These dwindling numbers suggest that at least some on the right are feeling demoralized.

Pro-choice activists must take advantage of this opening by uniting and fighting back against bigotry and, maybe next time, the right-wing bigots will think twice before coming back to San Francisco.

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