Sunday, February 27, 2011

Rally for Women's Health

Posted by:
Micah Bochart

See below for a post I made on by blog regarding yesterday's fantastic Rally for Women's Health on my own blog:

   Prior to the sun slipping behind the nearest high-rise, the weather in fact bordered on pleasant, bus as soon as the shade swept over us, the drop in temperature inevitably invited comments from the MC about how glad she was to see so many people standing vigilant in spite of the cold.
     It's difficult to attend a rally without hearing some permutation of that claim, but in this case, the statement was more than just, not only because of the chill of the air, but also the importance and immediacy of the cause. The House of Representatives has launched a brutal assault on Planned Parenthood and related entities, voting to defund organizations critical to the healthcare and well-being of women. In a bizarrely horrific parallel gesture, anti-choice billboards have appeared in New York City claiming that "the most dangerous place for an African-American is in the womb," a sickening appropriation of racist rhetoric to construe a women's right to choose as a genocidal act. Saturday's Rally for Women's Health, held in Manhattan's Foley Square, took a stand against these forces, aimed at both endorsing the right of choice and confronting the paradoxical right-wing logic that condemns abortion but undermines the accessibility of birth control and family planning.      
     I attended the rally in my capacity as a member of the Young Feminist Task Force of the National Organization for Women. The turnout was spectacular, as were its speakers, a diverse array featuring, among others, activist Shelby Knox, New York Senator Charles Schumer, Christine Quinn (Speaker of the New York City Council), U.S. Representative from Brooklyn Anthony Weiner (one of the rally's most inspiring orators) and an intended appearance by Gloria Steinem, who canceled due to illness but sent her impassioned support.
     Though my emotions ran high throughout the rally, my somewhat notorious and frequently embarrassing propensity for tearing up in public didn't kick in until a local reverend from Judson Memorial Church articulated the degree to which Christianity, at its theological roots, landed on the side of women; that the religious groups colluding with the anti-choice right are in fact as un-Christian as they come. "Jesus Christ respected women," she proclaimed, with an intensity of spirit to which my blog-based quotation can't even begin to do justice.
     That so many religions arising from concepts of love and benevolence (Islam another outstanding example) have in the liberal eye become conjoined with violence and oppression is just one tragedy of many that the fanatics and fundamentalists have brought to bear. The pronouncement to a square full of feminists that God came down on the side of choice, liberty, and the rights of women was more than enough to choke me up.
     Lucky for me, it was not yet cold enough to freeze the tears to my face.

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