Abortion rights

In demonstrations across the nation today activist rallied under the call of Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights and in support of their actions, participants were asked to wear green, the internationally recognized symbol of abortion rights.

Here in Washington, women of all ages along with their supporters, marched to the White House after a nearby rally in support of Women’s Rights demanding immediate action from the president and the Democratic party in protecting the right to have an abortion. Today’s wet weather did little to dispel their enthusiasm or a planned civil disobedience sit-down that organizers had been forewarned would culminate in arrests.

Several hundred activists willing to face arrest after sitting down on the sidewalk participated in vociferously chanting for Women’s Rights while calling upon the president to act now.

Many of those in the sit-down tied green bandanas emblazoned with “Bans off our bodies” along the White House perimeter security fence among which were a few activists who tied their hands to the fence in a sign of defiance. Another issue broached by the group was the founding principal of American democracy in the separation of church and state that the court, in overturning Roe v. Wade, has muddied by allowing a religious anti-abortion interpretation of the right to influence their decision. “Keep your rosaries out of my ovaries” was seen on many signs as a warning of the ever-creeping move to bring religion into the court’s decisions.

In the meanwhile, President Biden signed an executive order yesterday as a first step in protecting abortion rights while safeguarding access to abortion care along with protecting a patient’s privacy and the creation of an interagency task force to use “every federal tool available to protect access to reproductive health care.” Additionally, his order calls for an increase in related educational efforts and in bolstering security along with legal options including the right of privacy for those seeking abortion services.

Women’s March Executive Director Rachel O’Leary Carmona responded to the order by stating: “In a dangerous moment like this, timing is everything. The executive actions being undertaken are needed first steps, but it’s not nearly enough. We need to know that the people we organized to get elected understand what’s at stake. We need them to fight like hell and leave it all on the field.”

In the end, no one was arrested as police waited out the activists who, after demonstrating for an hour during the ever-deteriorating weather, began to break up. The group afterward marched back to their rallying point at Franklin Square after having accomplished their goal of keeping the necessity and importance of Women’s Rights in the forefront.

(This article has previously appeared in Nuzeink.)

Phil Pasquini is a freelance journalist and photographer. His reports and photographs appear in the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, Pakistan Link and Nuze.ink. He is the author of Domes, Arches and Minarets: A History of Islamic-Inspired Buildings in America.


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