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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: San Francisco | Womyn
SF counter protesters put up spirited opposition to anti-abortion Walk For Life
Hear uncensored audio from the streets. On Saturday January 23, the anniversary of Roe vs Wade, hundreds of local activists met the anti-choice Walk for Life at market and Powell Street, shouting down their repressive message with loud, spirited, no-holds-barred pro-choice chants. The Church-based Walk busses in thousands and thousands of anti-choice activists annually on the anniversary of Roe vs. Wade in attempts to drown out locals in this pro-choice city. (17 minutes)
After two years of very minimal opposition, hundreds of pro-choice protestors shouted down and followed the thousands of heavily funded anti-choicers through Market Street. Police with bicycles and weapons provide active opposition to the counter protestors, in our faces the entire way to protect the vile anti-choice marchers.
Messages include “abortion on demand and without apology”. When abortion is restricted women die and children are born but not adequately provided for. Pro-choice activists demand accessible, affordable abortion without restriction in safe and nurturing environments.
Most U.S. counties, including here in California, don’t have abortions. Many states - such as Mississippi and Texas which have been down to one provider statewide in recent years – now barely provide abortions at all. Abortion doctors are hard to find. Low income women are hurt the most. Both public and private health insurances need to cover abortion, with free abortions accessible for those who can’t pay. Planned Parenthood needs to be fully funded.
Walk For Life held two or three days of actions. A huge rally at the Civic Center presented heart-felt, religious speakers presented confused, illogical reasoning with highly distorted facts and false scenarios to back its assertion that abortion is murder and somehow “hurts women”.
This movement’s end goal is to eliminate all legal abortions in the U.S. and criminalize as murderers anyone who tries to get one “illegally”. The movement has been amazingly successful in limiting the availability and accessibility of abortion with thousands of repressive, deceptive bills at the state level, and intends to eventually overturn Roe vs. Wade. All they could say to the counter protesters is stuff like “Abortion hurts women” and “women deserve better (than abortion)”.
The first annual actions saw spirited, local opposition. However, as the years have progressed, counter protests have dwindled down to a very small numbers the past two years. Despite liberal prochoice policies in S.F. , very few have wanted to continue the battle in the streets against the religious right. Politicians are completely absent and so are abortion providers like Planned Parenthood and Naral, who have reportedly kept employees away and been very critical of the demonstrators. The media and political power structure wrongly contend that both sides are extremists who should not be listened to, though the opposite is true.
You can learn more at http://www.stoppatriarchy.org.
Hear more from the young adult-led post-rally pro-choice speak out. (13 minutes)
Speakers continue to tell their stories. Near the beginning, hear an experience Revolutionary Communist Party Organizer speak articulately about socialism as a necessary, viable alternative to life under capitalism and trying to work for change under the auspices of the Democratic Party.
A rally was held by a group of counter protesters who added a renewed radical presence to the counter protest. Young school age adults led the action, with many people speaking at the mike on what got them to the action and what they want to do to further the cause beyond today.
The action was spirited, with a very broad range of experiences and perspectives presented in impromptu talks that went far beyond conventional, polite speech. From what I learned, a group called Stop Patriarchy, which organized the counter protest for the second year in a row, spent quality time organizing in Bay Area Schools, finding many young women and also men outraged at the climate around abortions. Talks ranged into perspectives on sex, gender, and personal expression.
Organizers from the Revolutionary Communist Party and World Can’t Wait were also present. The young adult contingent was very important. From watching the Walk For Life march, the biggest increased demographic of anti-choice activists seems to be school age young adults, especially twenty-somethings. A group called Students For Life has been successfully organizing on campuses and churches to swell its rank with the offensive message that abortion is murder and needs to be completely eliminated and criminalized throughout the U.S.
The activists then headed for a strategy session at the Unitarian Church to develop continue organizing around these issues.