I have been to more than my fair share of abortion rallies — for and against — and his impression largely holds.
First of all, I do mean for and against. So many of the “women’s” rallies organized by the most radical of the abortion-rights crowd tend to be both crass and ideologically transparent. Abortion is not a necessary evil to many of those holding signs and even those up on stage. They think it is a good, a liberator, what makes life – ironically and perversely – possible. If most people who are on the fence on the issue saw these scenes, they’d rethink their identification.
Secondly, I took the New York City subway to high school. I’ve heard the f-word, believe me, but never more frequently than at a “women’s rights” rally. I wrote a piece here years ago after I attended one that I titled “We’re F*****’ Feminists!,” because that’s what so many told me, what their signs said, and what some screamed from the mainstage (in one case, as I recall, while she removed her top to prove her bra-lessness).
I’ve had some interesting run-ins over the years with graphic anti-abortion displays, which I don’t think are always the best opening to conversations, in part because so many women have had abortions that you really have to lead with a great reserve of love. But even the graphic-image displays do not tend to be motivated by anger or hatred but love for lives lost and an appropriate zeal to end this atrocity. And in recent years, in particular, when I worried people might despair or harden on account of all the politics about abortion, I’ve seen such peace and joy at pro-life rallies.