Posted January 13, 2016 by Cooper Point Journal in Letters & Opinion

Abortion Rights (Counter) Demo

By Anonymous Organizers of the Pro Abortion Rights Protest

This January marks the twenty third anniversary of a feminist milestone; the Roe v Wade court case establishing legal abortion access for women in the United States. Though abortion access has always been heavily regulated, the past several years have seen an increasing imposition of abortion restrictions by the right.

Between 2011 and 2015, states enacted 282 abortion restrictions according to the Guttmacher institute. These anti abortion efforts culminated January 6 with a 240 to 181 house vote to block federal funding from Planned Parenthood and the Affordable Care Act. Though it was vetoed on Jan 8, it marks the first time such a bill has made it to the president’s desk.

Here on the west coast, the anti-abortion movement has failed to take hold, and has little impact apart from their routine harassment outside clinics. But even in Washington, a state largely regarded around the country as being among the most progressive, services are still not optimal. Many clinics suffer understaffing and funding shortages.

A shortage of abortion specialists, combined with an insufficient budget to train and hire more staff, means that abortion services in Washington clinics are often offered only one or two days a week. This can result in significant waiting periods—at the clinic here in Olympia, that can mean up to a month long.

While some see this as a vital system in need of aid and improvement, there are people and groups who would prefer to exacerbate these problems, if not make abortion illegal entirely . Just one of these is March for Life, the organization behind the nation’s largest anti-abortion rallies.

Every year on a date close to the anniversary of Roe V. Wade, in-state chapters of March for Life hold rallies at their state’s capitol to advocate against abortion.  The chapter in our state, Washington March for Life, has been advertising a gathering on billboards downtown and in Lacey, for a day when legislators will be in session.

The event, taking place January 19th on the capitol campus, aims to celebrate the restrictions in other states, and undermine the basic reproductive healthcare available in Washington through pressuring state legislators to adopt more restrictive policies. According to their website, gatherings usually draw an attendance of 300 people.

As a community that values equality and autonomy, we must not allow this action to go uncontested. We must stand up and represent what believe is right—and also show legislators that Washington March for Life does not hold the majority opinion.  A counter protest has been planned for the day of the rally. Join us in showing solidarity for a woman’s right to choose—we will be gathered on the capitol steps at