Remembering the March for Women’s Lives, Ten Years Later

Alice Cohan was the Director of the 2004 March for Women’s Lives, which happened ten years ago today. 


The March for Women’s Lives! People often ask me, “when are we going to do another one?” And I answer: “You organize it, and I’ll come!” There is quite a difference between attending a march and organizing it – and the main difference is WORK!

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4 ms. tshirts

2 ms. tent early

The March Team worked straight through from the summer of 2003 until the march in April of the next year. Sponsoring organizations assigned staff full or part time to work on building their delegation, and volunteers worked to build the crowd. There is an incredible amount of work, energy, and details involved in planning a march or rally: logistics, negotiations with multiple levels of police, outreach to organizations and activist groups, speaker and entertainment recruitment and scheduling, keeping information updated, coordinating with the metro schedule and bus parking, making arrangements for differently-abled folks, decorating and setting up A/V for the stage, sound, and jumbotrons,volunteer recruitment and training, keeping track of attendee sign-ups, coordinating sign distribution and printing, putting together a rally program, getting set up with a day-of police liaison, and – of course – port-o-potty mapping. You can see that it involves a lot of work across different skill-sets – and you can only imagine how hectic it was to get it all set up!

But we did.

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11 guarding the signs

My favorite moment of the March for Women’s Lives was when it was decided by several of the leaders that I should get up onstage and announce the size of the crowd.  I got up on stage and looked out at a sea of supporters, which reached back as far as the eye could see, and said that we were there in numbers too big to ignore!

March pic-- Washington Post

We were 1.15 million people gathered together on the National Mall. This was the largest March in history – and we all did it together!

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Alice (left) and Kathy Spillar

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Make your voice heard on clinic regulations in Richmond this Friday!

Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli sent the new rules for women’s health centers back to the Board of Health. Make your voice heard at the September 14 meeting! 

On June 15, the Virginia Board of Health voted to amend a key provision of the proposed permanent regulations for women’s health centers– the amendment means that existing women’s health care centers that provide safe, legal first-trimester abortion care will be “grandfathered in,” rather than being subjected to onerous and unnecessary forced building requirements.

On July 16, 2012, Attorney General Cuccinelli stated that his office refused to certify the Board’s vote. Thus, the proposed regulations will go back to the Board of Health for another vote on Friday, September 14. However, the Board can and should continue to vote in favor of medicine, not politics – the Attorney General does not have veto power over their decisions. On September 14, attend the Board of Health vote to demand permanent regulations that protect women’s health!

Date: Friday, September 14, 2012

Where: 9960 Maryland Drive, Perimeter Center, Richmond (Corner of Maryland & Gaskins)

Schedule:

7:30am

Action Presence Prior to Board of Health Meeting
Line the walkway at the Perimeter Center where the Board of Health will meet as Members, Officials, & Press arrive.

8:00am

Sign-up to Speak during Public Comment Period
2 minute statements allowed.

8:30am

Pack the Meeting Room

9:00am

Board of Health Meeting begins

Prior to Lunch

Public Comment Period

Afternoon

Discussion & Vote(s)

You can learn more about the proposed permanent regulations on the Virginia Coalition to Protect Women’s Health’s website.

Make sure to RSVP here to tell the Department of Health to ensure enough room for the public!

 

Image: FMF intern Colleen Osborne at Virginia Board of Health meeting, summer 2012.

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