NEW YORK — The largest pro-choice rally in this city’s history Aug. 28 helped kick off a week of protest against the Bush administration’s anti-women policies. The rally, called the March for Women’s Lives NYC, drew well over 25,000 women and men in a trek over the Brooklyn Bridge to a rally at City Hall Park.

“I’m so delighted to see all of you out here,” Rita Haley, president of the New York City chapter of NOW, told the marchers. “We’re rallying for choice and for control of our own bodies. We all know that Roe vs. Wade has been undermined by the far right wing. We also know that the same group has been making abortions more and more necessary by limiting access to contraceptives and sex education.”

Presidential candidate John Kerry’s sister, Peg, addressed the rally, saying that anyone who could, should vote, and if they were too young, should organize others to vote.

“The issue of choice,” she said, “depends on us.”

The event followed on the heels of another march over the Brooklyn Bridge, organized by a group called Mothers Opposing Bush. Women’s rights advocates are planning to continue to come out in full force, holding demonstrations and joining in others, until the Republican National Convention adjourns. They hope to send a clear message to the Bush administration that they won’t tolerate its anti-choice, anti-women positions any longer.

Virtually all of the main women’s rights organizations have come out to protest during the RNC — Planned Parenthood, Naral Pro-Choice USA, in addition to NOW and many others.

At press time, NOW was gearing up for another huge demonstration, which could be even larger than the others. According to NOW, the rally, called “Code Red: Stop the Bush Agenda,” will formally declare a “state of emergency” in this country until the Bush agenda is defeated.

While NOW is focusing primarily on women’s issues, they have been supporting all those affected by the Bush agenda. Kim Gandy, NOW national president, spoke at the massive United for Peace and Justice demonstration Aug. 26. The Code Red rally will protest, according to NOW, “the Bush administration’s war on women, workers and people of color, LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered], disabled, poor, and immigrant peoples, the environment, and our Bill of Rights.”

The author can be reached at dmargolis@pww.org

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