Every year, opponents of abortion descend on Washington D.C. for the March for Life near the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court decision that legalized the right to abortion.
This year, Donald Trump became the first sitting president to address the ‘pro-life’ crowds in-person. As a veteran counter-protester to the March for Life, I knew this was only going to make things more intense as we stood outside the Supreme Court. Trump emboldens his base and speaks words of hate toward those who support abortion: ‘Pro-life’ harassment of abortion clinics has gone up during Trump’s presidency,  and during the 2016 presidential campaign he said there must be “some form of punishment” for those who have abortions.  Though he walked back the comment after public outcry, it’s clear he has a deep disdain for basic human rights. 
The ‘pro-life’ movement is one of the few parts of his base that is not only still standing by his side, but uplifting Trump at every turn. They even proclaim him to be the “most pro-life president in history.”  This year, the theme of the March for Life was, “Life Empowers: Pro-Life is Pro-Woman.” Their ‘pro-woman’ model includes celebrating someone who bragged about being a sexual predator, separated migrant families, and is reportedly restricting pregnant migrant and refugee women from entering the country – in the name of denying women access to reproductive care. [5, 6]
Each year at the counter-protest, we are met with anti-abortion crowds that get more packed and chaotic as ‘pro-life’ marchers begin to arrive. The typically hostile scene in front of the Supreme Court during the March for Life was even worse this year, but that did not deter us from peacefully standing up for reproductive justice and holding abortion opponents accountable for the harm they sow.
We showed up with our signs and T-shirts reading, “Stop Prosecuting Abortion,” showcasing the harsh reality that in the U.S., people have been criminalized for self-managed abortion and other pregnancy outcomes. There were many supportive volunteers who showed up to stand in solidarity against the prosecution of abortion in the wake of the ramped-up aggression from opposition. It was truly inspiring.
Actions like this give us the energy we need to continue to advocating to end the criminalization of abortion. No one should face jail time for the outcome of their pregnancy, and everyone should have safe, effective access to the care they need. Learn more and how to help stop the prosecution of abortion here.