It was one year ago today …

A year ago today, I and approximately 1.15 million others converged on Washington, DC for the March for Women’s Lives. When I first saw the picture taken from the Washington Monument of the marchers on the National Mall, the mass of purple and gold created by all of those holding NARAL Pro-Choice America signs, it filled me with joy that so many people would turn out for this. There was a sense of cameraderie everywhere I went; I struck up conversations with people from all over the country. There was also a sense of hope that maybe we could start turning the tide away from the anti-choicers’ rhetoric. I remember hearing Hillary Clinton speak so strongly and passionately about the right to choose, the cheers she got.

Who would think that less than a year later she would be in the spotlight for essentially backpedaling, saying that abortion was a painful choice?

Some of you may remember that the original name for the March was the March For Choice. However, one of the organizations sponsoring the March supposedly whined about the name, saying that the March shouldn’t be “just about abortion.” So the name was changed in the interest of our old pal Political Correctness, which made me roll my eyes the first I heard of it. There was no need to charge the name, because the March was about choice-having the choice to decide when-or if-to reproduce. That includes having access to contraception and good sex education. But the word “choice” for many automatically means abortion-and we all know how people hate to say the A word.

A few INS friends have written to me, expressing sadness over the current state of choice in this country. I’ll admit that I was one of the millions who reacted to Bush’s reelection much as if I’d just watched someone die, but my biggest worry has always been the kowtowing to anti-choicers. Every time a well-meaning Planned Parenthood or NARAL rep says, “Well, abortion is a difficult choice” or “It’s not a choice a woman really wants to make,” they reinforce the belief that abortion is bad. How can we keep abortion legal if we continue to imply that it’s a bad choice, if we wince when someone says the word?