March for women's rights this Sunday

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Women protest for reproductive rights in a 1992 Guardian archive image. Keep up the tradition Sunday
PHOTO BY JANE PHILOMEN CLELAND

As the war on women rages on, Defend Women's Rights marches will fight back Sunday.

This week started off with Missouri Rep. Todd Akin's comments that seemed to suggest a belief that women who are raped are less likely to get pregnant. This was just one more drop in the bucket, if the bucket is reasons why men who don’t understand how reproduction works shouldn’t get to legislate policy that affects it. Remember when Michigan Rep. Lisa Brown was barred from participating in a House debate after daring to say the word vagina during an abortion debate? As Brown said at the time, "If I can't say the word vagina, why are we legislating vaginas?"

People at the Republican National Convention in Tampa next week who find vaginas “lewd,” and yet work tirelessly to strip away reproductive rights, will surely be offended by some of what protesters are bringing to the convention. People with CODE PINK, for example, will be dressed in giant fluffy vagina costumes.

Women’s rights, of course, is broader than just reproductive rights. And a range of issues, including immigrants right, the pay gap, housing and welfare will be addressed at nationwide protests Sunday.

The Aug. 26 day of action is scheduled to coincide with both the RNC and Women’s Equality Day, which celebrated the passage of the 19th Amendment in 1920. Women fought tooth and nail for rights before, since and after that day, and Women Organized to Resist and Defend (WORD), the group behind the day of action, sees itself as part of that tradition.

“We realized that we really needed to have a group that was ready to fight right now for women's rights,” said Meghann Adams, an organizer with WORD.

For the march’s organizers, the Democratic National Convention happening in Charlotte right after the RNC is just as much reason to march. As they note on their website, “While President Obama is not a right-wing pro-lifer, we cannot count on him or any politician to defend our rights. In fact, in order to reach a budget compromise with Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner in July 2011, President Obama said, "I'll give you abortion in D.C."

“If you can’t make it to protest in Tampa and Charlotte, join or organize a protest in your community,” their statement reads. “There is a long, proud tradition of women in the United States mobilizing and fighting to win equality and respect. Let’s continue this legacy this summer!”

The march will leave from 24th and Mission at noon on Sunday, Aug. 26.

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