March for Women’s Lives

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On April 25, hundreds of thousands of women and their families will gather in Washington, D.c=, to advocate for a shared vision for women’s lives. They will march in support of appropriate sex education for youth, prevention strategies for sexually transmitted diseases, and information about and access to contraception and safe and legal abortion services. They will march for comprehensive health care, as well as educational opportunities that provide women and their families with access to good jobs and life in the mainstream, instead of on the margins.

While those who gather share common goals, their life experiences and backgrounds are varied. The columns presented here reflect some of the many perspectives of the women and men advocating for the tools that give women control over their bodies and their lives.

Marching for Freedom, Again, by Kate Michelman, April 23, 2004
Forty-one years ago, I marched on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., and listened—my heart and my conscience stirred to the core—as Martin Luther King Jr. challenged the United States to live out the true meaning of its creed.

Beyond Abortion: Reproductive Health and Rights of Low-Income Women, by Lourdes Rivera, April 23, 2004
On April 25, thousands will March for Women’s Lives in support of “choice, justice, health, abortion, global and family planning” – a historic shift from a narrow focus on abortion to a more inclusive agenda.

Demanding Reproductive Justice for Latinas, by Angela Hooton, April 23, 2004
While our country remains polarized over the pro-choice/pro-life debate, and the political climate becomes increasingly hostile to reproductive rights, Latinas continue to face basic health care challenges that affect their reproductive health.

The Coalition for Survival, by Loretta Ross, April 23, 2004
The religious right has a Coalition for Revival that is “rebuilding civilization on the principles of the Bible.” Progressives need a Coalition for Survival to survive the Bush administration’s incessant attacks on women’s rights, unjustified wars on other countries, and unfair tax cuts for rich folks.

The Road to Freedom of Choice, by Rev. Carlton Veazey, April 23, 2004
As an African-American born in the Deep South during the late 1930s, I lived without certain freedoms. At the outset of the civil rights movement, I became aware of how much I lacked.

Choice in a Global Context, by Jodi L. Jacobson, April 22, 2004
As we approach this Sunday’s March for Women’s Lives, most of us will focus first and foremost on the imminent threats in the United States to a woman’s right to choose whether or not to carry a pregnancy to term.

Rights, Respect, Responsibility, by James Wagoner, April 22, 2004
In his new budget, President Bush doubles federal funding for abstinence-only-until-marriage programs.

Why I’m Marching, by Mattie Johnstone, April 22, 2004
I have not known a time when abortion and contraception were illegal. I have always believed that reproductive rights are human rights and accepted that the right of privacy is broad enough to encompass a woman’s reproductive decisions.

Melody Barnes and Gayle Smith are senior fellows at American Progress. Together, they work on the issue of reproductive rights, with Melody focusing on the domestic and Gayle on the international dimensions of the issue. As they co-wrote “Family Planning is a Family Value,” they both talked to their mothers, women who have lived through earlier struggles for reproductive rights, and who thus have a unique perspective on today’s challenges. Melody and Gayle asked them to write their own views, and share them with American Progress.

Life Before and After Roe v. Wade: Lessons Learned, by Frances Barnes, April 22, 2004
Motherhood is one of life’s greatest gifts and for me, a blessing. When my husband and I became parents, we embraced the opportunity to nurture and guide a young life. It was a transforming moment.

Understanding the Past and Keeping an Eye on the Future, by Connie Smith, April 22, 2004
Abortion has been around as long as sex. And there have always been unplanned pregnancies – and they’ve never happened to men.

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