From the March-April 2017 issue of News & Letters
Chicago—On Feb. 10, a day before anti-abortion fanatics planned to mob Planned Parenthood clinics across the U.S., pro-choicers rallied at the Thompson Center downtown.
The event featured an open mic, which was quite a powerful tool as women spoke of their own abortions; an adopted person spoke of the difficult life they had led, showing that adoption was no substitute for an abortion; clinic defenders spoke of the severe harassment women experience just trying to walk into a clinic; another spoke of the experiences women have at phony clinics called crisis pregnancy centers, where women are told lies about abortion, lies about how far along their pregnancies are, hoping to delay women from being able to get an abortion, and more.
I spoke about fighting for over 40 years for the right to control our bodies, and how before abortion was legal in Detroit the state attorney general was using helicopters to arrest women who were sedated waiting to have an abortion at clandestine clinics; how at state legislative hearings only men spoke, pontificating about abortion as if they knew what they were talking about, which they didn’t—but they would be the ones making the decision. I concluded that this struggle to control our own bodies was a freedom struggle, because we could not be free if our bodies did not belong to us. That is why reproductive freedom is so important and so worth fighting for.
The next day Catholic-Church-funded anti-choice zealots laid siege to Planned Parenthood clinics across the country to demand “defunding,” even though not one penny of federal money pays for abortions. We were rallying the day before because Planned Parenthood asked activists not to counter-protest at their clinics, fearing it would frighten patients who see two groups screaming at each other.
Nevertheless, what anti-abortion fanatics encountered the next day were counter-demonstrators at 150 Planned Parenthood clinics in 45 states who, more often than not, outnumbered the fanatics—sometimes ten to one, as in St. Paul, Minn., where 500 fanatics were drowned out by 5,500 abortion rights activists.