Marchers fear erosion of rights
Granted that in an estimated crowd of 300,000-600,000 people each individual's experience will be unique, however my perceptions of the National Organization for Women's March on Washington for Women's Rights differ on several accounts from those of David P. Hamilton ["Pro-choice draws diverse elements," "MIT sends 400 to pro-choice march," April 14].
Many members of the MIT community who are not students, including administrative staff, research staff, and faculty helped organize and attended the march. I am a postdoctoral associate and I attended with my mother, a retired chemist and housewife, and a friend who is an assistant professor at Johns Hopkins University. Secondly, although the majority of the people attending may have political beliefs that are left of center, I saw several women sporting "Republicans for Choice" buttons. Indeed, as the quoted, self-described conservative, columnist William Safire concludes, he supports the status quo and the upholding of Roe v. Wade. Barbara Bush was herself, until quite recently, a strong advocate of Planned Parenthood, leading to one speaker's chant of "Free Barbara Bush" from the Capitol's steps
I was impressed by the caliber and sacrifice of all the marchers I met. These were not people who showed up because they wanted media attention, or to disrupt people's lives, or because they had nothing better to do with their time. I believe many, like me, are afraid that the passive erosion of women's rights that characterized the Reagan years may become an active attack on basic human rights under George Bush's administration. When Bush, during his first day in office, sent both a telegram of support and his vice president to the anti-abortionists (I refuse the hypocrisy of calling any group which prevents women from getting health care, destroys clinics, and has recently resumed pumping bullets into "Jane Roe's" family's car and home, "pro-life") marching on Washington, I remember thinking "What is he going to do tomorrow? Address a rally of the Ku Klux Klan?" Which leads me to what I took home as the central message from Jesse Jackson's speech: an individual absolute right to control over one's body was made constitutional with the abolition of slavery. It is un-American to demand otherwise.