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Diverse Foes of Bigotry Unite to Protest Anti-Abortion ‘Walk for Life’
Saturday Jan 17th, 2009 7:42 PM
Diverse Foes of Bigotry Unite to Protest Anti-Abortion ‘Walk for Life’
Reproductive rights advocates, same-sex marriage proponents and immigrant
rights supporters have banded together to convene “Stop the War on Women—Unite to
Fight the Right,” a counter-demonstration to an anti-abortionist march in San Francisco
on January 24. The protest is in response to the fifth annual ‘Walk for Life’ convened by
Catholic conservatives on the 36th anniversary of Roe v. Wade.
Increased restrictions on access to abortion mobilized the Bay Area Coalition for
Our Reproductive Rights (BACORR) to sponsor the counter-protest. BACORR co-chair,
Gemma Mirkinson, with the Philippine-US women Gabriella Network, commented,
“Bristol Palin may be the poster child for teen pregnancy, but the truth is much uglier
than the rightwing paints with this picture of the Alaskan governor’s daughter. Too many
girls are forced into motherhood by lack of resources, often with tragic consequences for
mother and child. Today, Mississippi has only one abortion clinic, and not surprisingly
the state ranks first in teen pregnancies.” Commenting on the recent “Conscience Rule”
enacted by the Bush administration, she added: “Now, any healthcare worker—
pharmacist, nurse, even cashier--can refuse to fill a birth control prescription for ‘moral’
reasons. What’s next: refusing service to people with AIDS, or immigrants or transgender
folks? This is nothing but bigotry sanctioned by the highest office of the land and
applauded by the people who will trek through our city January 24.”
Rally organizers point to increasing anger over other instances of “legalized
discrimination,” most notably the passage of California’s Proposition 8 which rescinded
same-sex marriage and ICE raids on immigrant communities. Anita O’Shea, a BACORR
organizer and spokesperson for the socialist feminist group Radical Women, said, “The
‘Walk for Life’ is part of a multi-pronged rightwing movement that includes bigots in
suits as well as armed, vigilante Minutemen, clinic bombers, and gay bashers. Their
agenda is in line with the Nazi ideology of “Kinder, Kirche, Küche” (children, church,
kitchen). Given the global economic meltdown, scapegoating will be on the rise—hate
crimes against immigrants have already sky rocketed. We must stop the blame game
against women, immigrants and queers before the ultra-right gains momentum.”
“Don’t look to Obama for salvation,” warned Gender Studies graduate student at
San Francisco State University, Anastasia Gomes. “Abortion rights were won in the
streets and that is where we need to be in order to stop the assaults on civil rights.”
President-elect Obama has drawn the ire of gay and women’s groups for his selection of
fundamentalist minister Rick Warren, an outspoken opponent of abortion and gay
marriage, to give the inaugural invocation.
Endorsers of the reproductive rights rally include: American Federation of
Teachers, AFT 2121 at San Francisco City College; San Francisco Supervisors Ross
Mirkarimi and Chris Daly; San Francisco Atheists; Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence; UA
in the Bay; University Professional and Technical Employees, UPTE CWA 9119, Local 1 at UC Berkeley; Freedom Socialist Party; World Can’t Wait; California Senate candidate
Cindy Sheehan; Raging Grannies Action League; International Socialist Organization;
Communications Workers of America, Local 9000, Los Angeles, CA; Global Exchange
and others.
The January 24 Unite to Fight the Right Wing event begins with a rally at San
Francisco’s Music Concourse (Embarcadero and Market Sts.) at 10:30am. Following the
rally is a spirited march celebrating Roe v. Wade along the Embarcadero waterfront. One
of the highlights will be the “Pieces of 8,” a procession of artists, entertainers, dancers
and singers who will bring their own creative “pro-woman, pro-queer and pro-immigrant
rights” messages. For more information, call 415-864-1278, email
BACORRinfo [at] or visit
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