Last Friday from 5:00-6:00 I participated in the Progressive Jewish Agenda's pro-choice pro-abortion demonstration in Los Angeles at 3rd and /Fairfax near the Farmer's Market. It was a typical Los Angeles street corner demonstration with about 40 pickets on four corners; most were young women with a few men and middle aged women like me. A lot of cars honked in support, but a bus driver did argue with me, saying he's anti-abortion. Most people seemed supportive or neutral. A woman lawyer came down from the Writer's Guild (Screenwriter's ) across the street and held up a handmade sign. A male colleague of hers from the Writer's Guild office also came down. The woman lawyer asked him, "Are you going to join the line?" He said, "No, it's too noisy. The demonstration is making it difficult for people to work." This was at 5:45 pm Friday.
I carried two signs: one in Spanish and one in English. This made picketing harder work but I wanted to reach everybody so I held up my two signs. The Spanish sign said in Spanish, "Reproductive rights are human rights." Great idea. But if I'd make my own signs, I'd say: "Keep Legal abortion: it protects everybody's rights." I think so. People who are against abortions don't have to have them when it's legal. I respect that 100%.
I'd also have new signs: "Legal abortions save lives" and "Illegal abortion causes 83,000 women's deaths globally." Also true. I want to get across the message that so-called right-to-lifers are, I think, right-to-deathers--causing women's death and injuries by the thousands. I think the term "right-to-life" is absolutely untrue when describing those against abortion. I think we should change the image of the word "right-to-life" so it only applies to those for legal, safe abortion.
If we want to have more signs, we can publicly support national health care for all pregnant woman to save women's lives and reduce infant mortality. Since 50,000,000 don't have health insurance in this country (including a number of my friends) we have the highest infant mortality rates in the industrial world. How about a sign: "Reduce infant mortality: national health insurance for all!"
I think that the Republicans have been chipping away at abortion rights for a long time. We can get too involved looking at the trees--Bush's nomination of Roberts--that we loose sight of the forest--abortion rights are getting restricted over the last decade. In some rural areas, there are no clinics available, so poor women who lack money to travel to a nearby clinic don't have access to safe abortion at all. I think we need a strategy of fighting the Roberts nomination as part of an overall plan to reverse the trend against abortion and restore safe, legel abortion rights and access in this country. Also, Republicans support corporations which offer less health insurance to their employees--raising infant mortality. Republicans have policies which causes more infant deaths.
One way to really save lives is join with others this month in peaceful pro-abortion picket lines. It's empowering. It's envigorating.