Anti-abortion and abortion-rights groups on campus marked the 36th anniversary of Roe v. Wade Thursday.
Several GW groups commemorated the occasion, holding rallies, celebrations and demonstrations around campus.
The anniversary of Roe v. Wade came during President Barack Obama’s second full day of office. He called the Supreme Court decision a “sensitive and decisive issue,” in which we must work to find “common ground.” This announcement came shortly before a decision to end the abortion gag rule by executive order, which will open U.S. funding to international groups that provide abortions.
“Overall, it’s an issue people feel passionately about. Just because they disagree doesn’t mean it’s less important,” said senior Abbey Marr, co-president of Voices for Choices. “I’m really happy [President Obama] came out in support of reproductive rights.”
Voices for Choices hosted a birthday party in honor of the anniversary, celebrating with cupcakes and T-shirts that said “just wear it” with a picture of a condom. The 10 to 15 people at the party spent time discussing Roe v. Wade, what the Obama administration means for reproductive rights and the global gag rule, Marr said.
“We just want to talk about our own rights and reproductive health in general,” Marr said. “We want to be an information source instead of engaging in a back and forth. I don’t see how that’s productive.”
At University Yard on Friday, the Young America’s Foundation planted 1,100 crosses to represent the 1.1 to 1.3 million abortions that happen each year, YAF President Robert Lockwood said.
The slogan for the event was “A picture is worth a thousand words, a cross is worth a thousand lives, 1,100 crosses times 1,000 lives a piece is 1.1 million. Get our picture?”
Lockwood and other members of YAF stood in University Yard for five hours passing out information.
“We were not there to enforce beliefs, but just trying to provide an educational outlet,” Lockwood said. “If they’re not interested, that’s their prerogative. We were not there to cause problems or be in your face.”
YAF contacted various religious organizations to provide the materials for the demonstration, but a church in New York donated the crosses. Lockwood said it was not a Christian-based project and that their actions elicited vocally positive and negative reactions from observers throughout the day.
On Thursday, 25 College Republicans and members of Colonials for Life also participated in the 36th Annual March for Life on the National Mall, which attracted about 200,000 people. Colonials for Life also hosted a breakfast in the Marvin Center to commemorate the day.
“Each time we participate in the march, our unwavering commitment to the pregnant woman and the unborn is strengthened,” College Republicans Chairman Brand Kroeger said. “There is nothing more important to fight for than the right to life.”