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ISSUE 117 VOL 16 PUBLISHED 4/23/2004

Marching for rights: Pro-choice rally gathers in Washington

By Anonymous
Contributing Writer

Friday, April 23, 2004

More than three decades ago, thousands of women gathered in Washington, D.C. to celebrate the U.S. Supreme Court's monumental ruling that granted women the option of legal abortions. Because the Bush administration is considering overturning Roe v. Wade, many of these same women will return to the nation's capital Apr. 25 to protect this right.

Joining them in the "March for Women's Lives," which may become the largest pro-choice rally ever, will be an entirely new generation of women and men, including a group of 13 St. Olaf students.

The group will leave by bus Saturday morning and drive straight to Washington, D.C..

Marchers are concerned that the future of women's reproductive rights is uncertain. If a Supreme Court justice steps down, President Bush, who opposes abortion, may nominate a new justice, who could also be opposed to keeping abortion legal.

The U.S. Senate, which must approve the nomination, has collected an anti-abortion majority as of the Nov. 2002 election, according to NARAL Pro-Choice America.

A longtime defender of a woman's right to reproductive freedom, St. Olaf organizer Anah Sikorsky '04 emphasized the significance of the march.

"Many women, especially of our generation, think that the right to choose is a given because we've never lived during a time when abortion has been illegal," she said. "Hopefully by marching we'll be waking people up to the fact that our freedom actually is at risk."

Fellow pro-choice advocate and marcher Sarah Podenski '05 agrees.

"Countless thousands all over the country will stand together in solidarity so that the people in Congress and the White House can no longer fool themselves into thinking that those who support choice are a fringe element or a focus group," Podenski said.

Driven by the desire to resist the government's attempts to prohibit choice, Podenski said that she is marching because "the day may come when Roe v. Wade is overturned, and abortions are relegated from the technology of modern hospitals to the coat hangers of dark alleys. Maybe when that day happens I'll have children and if I have to tell my daughter that I stood by and did nothing while they took away our rights I won't be able to forgive myself. I have to take this stand. We owe our future this fight."

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