By Riley Karbon, Field Intern
Friday, Jan. 22, marked the 37th anniversary of Roe v. Wade bringing thousands of anti-choice people to march down Constitution Avenue ending at the Supreme Court. Myself and three other NOW interns were there rallying for abortion rights and celebrating the Roe decision recognizing women’s right to abortion. We decided early on not to speak to nor make eye contact with any anti-choice marchers.
So without any verbal provocation, what were we met with? Anger and insults. It’s hard to imagine how the majority of marchers, Catholic school kids who were given the day off from school and bussed in to march, came to be so angry. What sort of false anti-abortion propaganda were they shown on the bus on their way here?
This youthful anger was quite apparent once the heart of the march reached us at the Supreme Court. Two other interns and I were separated from the small but mighty pro-choice crowd and quickly surrounded by high school students. For an hour, they screamed insults at us, grabbed signs out of our hands, and shoved their signs in our faces. The insults were directed at our gender and age, calling us “sluts” and “whores,” speculating how many abortions we might have had and if we were pregnant at the moment.
Some protestors told us it was fruitless to chant about the separation of church and state because they were already separate, yet one young man shoved a dollar bill in our faces, goading us to read “In God We Trust” and admit the union. Insulting remarks about the size of our group did not discourage us, as I believe we rallied for the majority of the nation. Jami, Jess and I stood our ground, did not engage, did not even look them in the eye for a second while we chanted and sang “Lean on Me.”
What’s disheartening is that these kids were bussed in to go on a “voluntary” trip to take a stand on an issue that will most likely personally affect them or someone they know at some point in their lives. I wondered how many of the views they angrily spouted were formulated on their own. Misinformation flowed from the schools to the Supreme Court steps, as stories about babies being thrown in dumpsters and down garbage disposals were shouted into a microphone.
It’s enough to make you angry. Angry that some people want to put fetal rights above women’s rights. Angry that they are lying to the next generation. Angry that their voices are being heard because they scream the loudest. If you’re angry, then do something! Join NOW and get involved with your local chapter. And make sure you’re at the next reproductive rights demonstration so that our numbers reflect the pro-choice majority.