In what is being called the largest march in US history, over
one million people marched in front of the White House to advocate
for abortion rights, reproductive rights, women’s right to choose,
and social justice.
The widely diverse marchers of different colors, nationalities,
sexualities, and social classes held up thousands of signs, waved
banners, and chanted while marching through the streets of
Washington. Signs read, ‘Who decides?’ and ‘Keep Abortion Legal,’
while others took a slightly more creative route with slogans such
as, ‘Abort Bush in 2004,’ ‘Ms. President,’ ‘Why do social
conservatives always want to get in your pants?’ and ‘If you cut
off my reproductive rights can I cut off yours?’ with a small
picture of scissors.
Dozens of politicians, actors, musicians, politicians, labor
leaders, and others spoke before and after the march to a sea of
people stretched from the Washington Monument to the Capitol
Building. Senator Hillary Clinton, actor Ashley Judd, former
Secretary of state Madeline Albright, Representative Nancy Pelosi,
Howard Dean, and musicians such as the Indigo Girls, Ani DiFranco,
and Moby all rallied the waves of cheering people.
Gloria Steinem, founder of Ms Magazine, said, ‘We are here out
of love. Reproductive health is a fundamental right like freedom of
speech.’ However, the march was also highly partisan, with speakers
urging people to vote George W. Bush out of office in November.
Linda Carter, who played Wonder Woman in the 1970s television
series, asked the crowd, ‘What do you think Wonder Woman would say?
I think she would say, ‘Go back to Texas!”
The speakers were alternately humorous and somber, recognizing
the pain and difficulty of abortions, especially illegal abortions
in other countries, and speaking about the need to keep abortion
legal for the health of women. Actor Whoopi Goldberg, at one point,
held up a coat hanger to a few moments of silence, ‘This was
choice,’ she said. To which followed resounding cries of, ‘never
The focus of the march was not just on abortion rights,
significant attention was also paid to social issues such as
education, after school daycare, poverty, and healthcare for women.
Said Goldberg, ‘Explain to me how, if you don’t have family
planning, you can bitch about abortion.’
A few hundred counter protesters attended the march, holding up
signs reading, ‘Turn from sin,’ and ‘Go to church.’ While some
marchers engaged the counter protesters with pleas such as, ‘Bush
lies to you’ and ‘Go to hell yourself.’ For the most part, the
decibel level of chanting was merely increased the volume of
talking and chanting as a million people walked slowly by.