Defending abortion rights in Rochester

By Emily Duke

ROCHESTER, N.Y.--With just 24 hours' notice, some 30 people gathered to oppose an anti-choice rally at a Planned Parenthood facility here on February 28.

Local activists had little time to mobilize, but in the early afternoon on the day of the rally, Rochester's pro-choice activists (including members of the Students for a Democratic Society, Pride Network, Rochester Against War and the International Socialist Organization) met at Planned Parenthood, bringing signs, chants, bullhorns and banners, and prepared for the anti-choice march to arrive.

The 50-person anti-choice march, arriving with police escorts, was taken off guard by the counterprotest waiting for them. The anti-choice side remained quiet, clutching their graphic images. The pro-choice side, on the other hand, was loud, chanting and strong throughout the frigid hour and a half that the anti-choice group maintained its presence.

"Free abortion on demand" was the slogan of the day. Eventually, the anti-choice contingent retreated and marched back to their church with the sounds of chants behind them.

The action was very successful, and the first of its kind in many years here. An emergency pro-choice contact list has been formed, and Rochester's activists plan to keep up the fight for women's rights in the future.