March For Women's Lives
Camryn Manheim, actress
CNN has reported that this is the largest march in the history of the universe!
We must make it clear that 100 million women in this country will not have their rights rolled back by political extremists.
I know we have some Republican friends here, and I thank you so much for your support. But please help bring some sanity back to your party. What happened to the get-the-government-off-your-backs Republican party, the party of civil rights, the Live-Free-Or-Die Republican party? Now the GOP seems to be all about dictating to us who we can marry, what we can listen to on the radio, what medical research we can do, and what we can do with our own body.
Kathy Najimy, actress
Here is the difference between our people and their people. Their people say you may worship one god, our god, and if you do not worship that god, you are going to hell. We say we honor and fight for your right to worship that god. We say good for you; worship whoever gives you healing and peace and faith in your life.
They say you may only fall in love with the opposite sex. We say we honor your right to choose the opposite sex; do as you choose. We honor the right to love and hold hands and fall in love with and marry whoever we choose.
And finally, they say, when faced with the very difficult and personal decision of whether or not to continue with a pregnancy, they say it is not for us. We say we honor and support and fight for your right to never have to make that decision. We fight for your choice -- to make that choice. That is the difference between them and us.
Here's another thing. We are pro-life. We are pro-life. We are pro the lives of girls, women, and children around the world who cannot be here. We are for their lives.
We are for bringing healthy, loved, cared-for, wanted children into the world.
Listening to speakers at the rally on the National Mall.
Alea Woodlee, executive director, Pro-Choice Public Education Project
I am my mother's daughter. I was raised a feminist. We are the first generation to be raised as feminists. We are the third wave. We approach the world differently.
Roe versus Wade was decided before we were born, but I was in my 20s when the first clinics were bombed. AIDS has been a reality our whole lives, but we couldn't get a condom in high school. And for a generation that's more diverse than ever before, we are not even close to equal.
Fay Clayton, abortion rights attorney
In 1986 the National Organization For Women filed a lawsuit called NOW versus Scheidler to stop the violence at clinics that offer abortion. With a tireless volunteer legal team, including my husband, I have been litigating that case for 18 years now, through a two-month trial where they were all found liable, and through two trips to the United States Supreme Court. As a result, since 1998 we have had a lifetime injunction against Operation Rescue's founder, Randall Terry, and we have a nationwide injunction against Operation Rescue and all of its henchmen. The evidence we uncovered helped pass the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, which will continue as a powerful tool for protecting our rights even after the injunction runs out.
Through this lawsuit I have met some of our true heroes, women and men who put their lives on the line to protect our right to choose. I would like to introduce two of these heroes right now: June Barrett of Florida, who was wounded, and whose brave husband Jim was murdered, as they served as volunteer escorts for a doctor who was targeted by anti-choice terrorists.
And Emily Lyons, a nurse at the New Woman All Women Clinic, who was maimed and nearly killed by an anti-choice bomber as she worked to deliver reproductive rights to the women of Alabama.
Julian Bond, chairman, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
In the NAACP we believe that colored people come in all colors. We also know that they come in both genders. And we've made it our business for 95 years to ensure that everyone, regardless of race, regardless of ethnicity, regardless of gender, receives the equal protection of the law. And one of the most important protections is the right to reproductive freedom; open and equal access to family planning has been NAACP policy since 1968.
We believe the right to reproductive freedom is as basic as the right to eat at a lunch counter, or to cast a vote, or the right of two humans to marry. If a woman cannot control her own body, she doesn't have the equal protection of the law.
Reproductive rights have deep roots in African-American history and in the history of the NAACP. More than 80 years ago our most distinguished founder, Dr. W.E.B. DuBois, understood that making birth control available to poor women helped them gain control over their lives. Every woman, he wrote in 1920, must have the right of procreation at her own discretion.
Tyne Daly, actress
Before Roe v. Wade 31 years ago, abortion was illegal in nearly two-thirds of the United States except in cases where the life of the woman was endangered. What was misunderstood then and what is not fully understood now is that, whenever a woman becomes pregnant, feels herself to be emotionally, financially, or spiritually incapable of carrying a fetus to term, of bearing a baby, and most importantly, of raising a child into the person she can protect and care for all of her life, her life is endangered.
Countless women, whose names we will never know, whose stories we will never hear, whose pictures we will never see, died or were permanently maimed because they had no choice.
I'm here today because of my mother, Gerri Santoro. She died in 1964. I can't begin to tell you how profoundly and permanently her death changed my life and the lives of my family. But she was just one of countless women who died in this lonely and desperate way prior to Roe versus Wade. They were all someone's sister, daughter, mother, or friend, and my heart goes out to all of them and their families.
The only thing that made my mom outstanding was the publication of a photograph of her dead body, bloody and naked, and speaking volumes of undeniable truth. She was dead on the hotel floor where they found her. Many of you from my generation may remember it.
I once saw it with a caption, "Never forget." But honestly, all I ever wanted to do was forget. But now finally I can separate my beautiful mom from the image that symbolizes every woman who died without choice. How else can we show our daughters and their daughters what can happen to women when they have no reproductive rights?
Amy Brenneman, actress
Look around you. Remember this feeling, because this is your family. When you leave here and return to wherever you live, and you feel lost or fatigued or hopeless, remember us, keep us in your heart.
My name is Amy Brenneman and I am pro-choice!
I am here because I need you -- I don't want to feel alone. Our opponents would like us to feel alone. They would like us to feel like we're the fringe or the immoral minority. And it's a lie. We are the majority.
Ani DiFranco, righteous babe, recording artist
I'll tell ya, the masses of us marching along, we're seeming so much more life-affirming today than those with the bloody pictures, shouting, "Shame! Shame! Guilt! Guilt!" Like, hmmm, pro-life, which is ?
My favorite sign today was the one that just said, "Trust Women."
"Take a letter to my congressman."
Christine Lahti, actress
Women only have equality when we have control over our bodies -- it's so simple -- when we have control over when, or if, we want children. Access to contraception and our right to choose gave us that control, and now this administration wants to take that away. Are they nuts?!
Our ability to get education, have careers, make money, take advantage of opportunities depends on reproductive freedom, guys!
This administration actually gives more rights to a fertilized egg than to a woman. We're not even women any more, right? We're the hosts -- or more accurately, the hostesses. Well, I have an urgent message for these guys -- my daughter Emma is not just the hostess. None of our daughters are.
And again, let's be really clear -- you are absolutely entitled to your very personal, deeply religious beliefs, however extreme they might be. Just get them out of my life, out of my body, and out of the way of my daughter's future.
While over 1,400 co-sponsoring organizations -- and representatives from 57 nations -- participated in the march, seven groups organized it.
The Black Women's Health Imperative
The National Latina Institute For Reproductive Health
The National Organization For Women
NARAL Pro-Choice America
The American Civil Liberties Union
A videotape or DVD of the rally is available from C-SPAN:
March For Women's Lives page 2
Why I Am Pro-Choice
Provided as a not-for-profit educational service.
Amber Dragonfly Press