March for Women's Lives Washington DC, April 25, 2004
NAPW is proud to have co-sponsored and participated in the 2004 March for Women's Lives. For examples of the range of reasons and marchers who joined us, please read the commentaries of four people who marched with us. Their stories appear as a special insert to NAPW's 2004 annual report.
NAPW marchers dressed as pregnant women to make the point that laws designed to restrict access to abortion in fact often hurt women and families who want to have babies. We also had children join us to make clear that the debate about abortion in this country is deliberately manipulated to keep us from focusing on a fundamental lack of commitment to America's children. There are ten million children without health insurance, more than 20 million living in poverty, and we have an educational system that leaves more and more low and middle income children behind. We marched to say that families deserve to be supported!
For too long the reproductive rights movement in America has been narrowly focused on the issue of abortion. NAPW wants to make the point that reproductive rights include the right to have children and that laws restricting access to abortion also hurt women and families who want to have babies. That is why we are seeking people willing to march with us and to dress as if they are pregnant. We also want children to join us to make clear that the debate about abortion in this country is deliberately manipulated to keep us from focusing on the lack of commitment to America's children. There are ten million children without health insurance, more than 20 million living in poverty, and we have an educational system that leaves more and more low and middle income children behind. March with us to say that families deserve to be supported!
How do anti-abortion laws hurt all women including those who want to have babies? These laws are based on the claim that fetuses are separate persons under the law, with rights hostile to the pregnant woman. If fetuses are legal persons then a pregnant women who refuses a cesarean section against her doctors' wishes can be treated as a child abuser and forced to undergo surgery that she believe is unnecessary for her and her baby. If fetuses are "legal persons" pregnant women can be arrested and jailed as criminals if any aspect of their lives or health is deemed to pose a risk to fetal health. In South Carolina and across America, low-income pregnant women, particularly those of color, have been targeted for criminal searches and arrest based on the claim that their drug use or other health problems are a form of child abuse.
March with us
IN MEMORY OF Angela Carder - a 27-year-old pregnant woman, who in the name of fetal rights was forced to have a cesarean section that resulted in her death and the death of her fetus.
IN SUPPORT OF Regina McKnight and other African American women who instead of having access to drug treatment and compassionate health care have been targeted for criminal investigation and arrest based on the argument that the fetus is a person and their drug problems during pregnancy -- a form of child abuse
IN DEFENSE OF all families but particularly families of color who in the name of fetal rights are having their children removed at birth based on nothing more than a single unconfirmed positive drug test.
IN CELEBRATION OF childbirth and the rights of women and families to decide for themselves if a
c-section is necessary.
IN HONOR OF mothers, because the majority of women who have abortions also bear and raise children, without compensation or any kind of meaningful state support to ensure the health and wellbeing of their families.
IN TRIBUTE TO all the families who, while our policy makers are wasting precious time and resources dreaming up ever more restrictions on access to abortion and contraceptive services, are struggling to find ways to stay together and survive.