WASHINGTON – Libby Hamson,Uma Patel and Louise Waterhouse took time from their summer holiday to fly from Sydney,Australia,so they could peacefully support abortion rights Monday.
They were among those opposing the 38th Annual March for Life,held by those who oppose the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision to legalize abortion.
The women opted out of a sunny,72-degree day in Sydney to brave the sunny,30-degree day here.
“It was something we feel quite strongly about,” said Patel,22,a student at Australian National University. She described their 13-hour flight to Los Angeles,followed by flights to New York,then Washington,to attend the rally for the first time.
She gathered in front of the Supreme Court at noon with about 30 other advocates to protest and cheer at the thousands of anti-abortion protesters who walked by.
The abortion-rights advocates at the court chanted,”Pro-life men have got to go,when you get pregnant,let us know.”
The group shivered and held up signs that read “Keep Abortion Legal” and “Abortion and Birth Control for Women Everywhere” as the crowds of anti-abortion walkers grew.
Some abortion protesters stopped to stand across from the abortion rights group on the sidewalk.
The two groups chanted opposing cheers:
“Hey hey,ho ho,Roe v. Wade has got to go.”
“Ho ho,hey hey,Roe v. Wade is here to stay.”
Some protesters on either side were not as peaceful as others.
“You love killing babies,” someone from the anti-abortion crowd shouted.
“It’s not a baby,it’s a fetus,” Patel shouted back.
Before the interaction with the anti-abortion marchers,Patel was adamant in stating that just because someone is “pro-choice” doesn’t mean she thinks an abortion is OK in every situation.
“It’s not even an issue in Australia,” she said. “I’ve never seen anything like this there.”
Patel said getting an abortion in Australia is legal in most states. Women must provide a reason for getting an abortion,but Patel said it is “easy to prove.”
Even if abortion were outlawed in the U.S. eventually,Hamson,22,said she believes women would still try to have abortions illegally,which would be unsafe.
“It’s their body and their future,” she said.
Tom Judd,25,a D.C. resident who works for an abortion-rights hotline,agreed with Hamson.
He said all women should have the option to choose whether to have an abortion,no matter their situation.
“There is a lot of single mothers in this country,” he said. “And not that they don’t all enjoy being mothers,but they have to think about having another mouth to feed.”