What is the purpose of showing up to a protest, especially if there is little chance your presence will make a difference?
Eleanor Pierson is the President of the Gordon College Life Coalition and for her, this was a difficult question. Last week she traveled to Boston with a group of Gordon students to counter-protest the Boston Women’s March.
“Activities like this are very difficult for me,” she said, “yet my thought is, if I can love one person today, if I can point one person to the truth of who they are and who Jesus is, it makes anything worth it.”
Pierson and those with her showed up to stand for the pre-born.
“It is hard,” she said, “people scream at you and get in your face and make you feel horrible, but being with other people with strong convictions and reminds yourself that standing for the “least of these” is the goal makes the un-comfortability worth it.”
THE WOMEN’S MARCH
The Life Coalition was wildly outnumbered at the Boston Women’s March that Saturday afternoon.
“[We] rage together and fight together against the oppression that we’re seeing at the local, state, national, and global level,” said Samantha Jandl, one of the organizers of the March.
“I want to remind you today and every day moving forward that we are all here today in support of each other.”
The Women’s March was created to “harness the political power of diverse women and their communities to create transformative social change.” After the decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, they have “raged all summer” and are in the “Fall of Reckoning,” taking the form of a national, as well as local marches. The Boston Women’s March set out to “protect, defend, and expand access to abortion for everyone, no matter what.”
Attendees told the Gordon Review they marched in “solidarity with women in other states” and were motivated to attend because of their belief that women “should have the right to choose their own bodies and to be able to make decisions for themselves instead of the government.”
“I’m here because it’s not okay for old men to tell women what they can do with their bodies and make laws about it based on religion,” said Stella, a thirteen year old attendee.
Stella’s mom said she was proud of her daughter and told us that part of their reason for attending was to “eliminate all legislation about abortion procedures.”
“Women’s March is about equity for all Americans to live their full lives with autonomy and equal protection,” she said.
THE PRO-LIFE PRESENCE
However, the Women’s March did not remain unopposed. The presence of Students for Life at the event provided a steady effort to represent the pro-life side. The Life Coalition was joined by students from Harvard, Boston University, and MIT.
“We are here to first let women know about the life affirming alternatives, that there are all supportive services that exists to help women choose life,” said Stephanie Luiz, New England Regional Coordinator of Students for Life, “but also to let people know that abortion is wrong. Because it intentionally and directly ends an innocent human life.”
Other counter-protestors, such as Kewana Gooden (‘24), said her ultimate goal was to “support life and the unborn baby,” and to hopefully “change someone’s mind.”
Alaynah Raymond (‘24) told the Gordon Review she attended the march because of her conviction that “each baby has a soul at conception and is worthy of being protected, advocated for, and valued and is made in the image of God.”
While many attended as part of Students for Life, another organization was present to represent the pro-life cause.
Sonja Morin of the Progressive Anti-Abortion Uprising (PAAU) attended the counter-protest as part of a group that had been “largely underrepresented by the mainstream pro-life movement, including people who are leftist, who are non-Christian, and who are queer.”
“What a lot of people don’t realize,” she explained, “is that abortion being used as a panacea for all ills when it comes to unexpected pregnancy is something that is pretty old.”
Abortion was originally enforced by men who “wanted to not only evade responsibility when it comes to any pregnancies that they contributed to, but also to eradicate populations that they didn’t want existing.”
Morin stands in contrast to Jandl, who encouraged the crowd to channel their inner “feminist spirit” and demand change with a “sense of both super powerful comradery but also unbounded rage against the anti-choice and anti-woman politicians.”
“Being a feminist doesn’t inherently mean that you have to be pro-choice and that feminism at its root understands that you can’t oppress other people to empower yourself.”
After marching through Quincy Market, the Women’s March made their way back to the State House and confronted the Students for Life counter-protestors.
Students for Life shouted, “Pro-choice is a lie, babies never choose to die,” while pro-abortion activists chanted “abortion is a human right” and “my body, my choice” in response.
Several of March attendees stood to the left of the pro-life group. Dozens on the right moved closer to the Students for Life members with signs and posters.
Other than the responsive chants and a few individual conversations, no further confrontation occurred.
PRO-LIFE AT GORDON COLLEGE
Being at the protest is “an act of confrontation, and an act of displaying what is true,” said Eleanor Pierson, “but a good portion of why attending events like this is important is because not only do we stand for truth, we do so in love.”
The Life Coalition plans to do more events on and off campus in the future.
“This isn’t all we’re going to do,” Pierson said, “we are not just an organization that launches constant protests and education. We want to walk the walk that we’re talking, and so we are working to find ways that we can support women, and walk alongside people to love and serve them well.”
Gordon students can join the Life Coalition by emailing Pierson or requesting membership via Gordon 360.
Categories: Student Life