Human Rights

When our daughter’s birth mother was pregnant, she had an appointment at an abortion clinic and  changed her mind, leaving the waiting room. We have ever been grateful for her decision.

Even before that, we were appalled by Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision approving abortion. Our family has always had strong objections to what we consider killing an unborn child. I do believe in a woman’s right to govern her own body, but not at the loss of another human life any more than other circumstances give us the right to take another life.

So when my daughter invited me to go to a United We Stand Sister March in Cincinnati, I debated what to do. I love being included in my daughter’s life and usually go when she invites me to do something.

I understood where she was coming from:  equal rights for all in the United States are at a significant crossroads now as we feel they are threatened by the rhetoric of the new President. She has Muslim students and other students who are refugees; I have Muslim friends; at our church we offer free English lessons and our readers are international students from various religions. We have African-American friends who experience oppression and inequality. We have friends and family who are LGBTQ. We have friends who were able to get health care only through Obamacare and are afraid they will lose it. We have friends whose children have disabilities that need services now provided, and we are afraid those services will be taken away.

So, on the basis of supporting human rights, I went. We met several friends there and listened for an hour to speeches. Some I agreed with; some I did not. The cheering and shouts of approval varied from speaker to speaker. I only applauded or cheered for those I agreed with. I noticed others did the same. An area I hadn’t expected was the support for teachers and concern about the nominee for Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos. From what I’ve read and what was said today, her position on public education could undo all we’ve accomplished over the years. The deaths of mothers and children at the hands of our own troops were recognized as well—a sobering moment.

We made a mile loop near downtown Cincinnati, primarily in an industrial area bordering a black neighborhood.  I was touched to see strollers pushed by young parents, teens, people with walkers or canes, and all ages in between, both men and women.

The peaceful chanting was invigorating. I liked, “THIS is what deMOCracy is all a-bout!” and “Love Trumps Hate!”

The signs were fascinating. Kelsey carried a sign saying, “Justice for ALL” and we passed it around some. One of my favorites was an acrostic with HUMAN RIGHTS. Hope it shows up in the picture.

Overall, it was a good decision. I’ve always felt a bit embarrassed that I was too oblivious to participate in civil rights marches in the sixties, so here was my chance. I became more aware of areas I hadn’t given much thought to. I appreciated their having a Muslim woman speak. I was disappointed that they didn’t have a representative from Right to Life, but not surprised. Maybe by being united on other fronts, respectful discussions about the human rights of unborn children can eventually take place.

After all, last Sunday was “Sanctity of Human Life Sunday,” recognized by most previous presidents since Ronald Reagan began on January 22, 1984. I don’t wait for the third Sunday in January, but I value human life, both here and abroad, every day. I hope today’s march will help all involved and all who know about it to increasingly value human rights as well.

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