(CNSNews.com) - Sunday's abortion rights march has morphed into a voter registration effort -- to round up more people who will vote against President Bush.
NARAL Pro-Choice America, which describes itself as the leading national advocate for personal privacy and a woman's right to choose, has announced plans for "a series of efforts to turn the March's passion into grassroots action to protect reproductive freedom."
Those efforts include a "major new voter registration effort." Forms were handed out to busloads of people leaving the march on Sunday.
On Monday, on-line activists will get emails "urging them to recruit 10 new activists who might have been inspired by the March," NARAL Pro-Choice America said.
And in the next two weeks, the abortion rights group said it would launch a grassroots effort to support the Patient Privacy Protection Act being introduced in Congress by New York Democrats Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Rep. Jerrold Nadler.
The bill would clarify that the doctor-patient privilege is protected under federal law. It stems from the Justice Department's recent subpoena of medical records of women who had partial-birth abortions at several hospitals.
Kate Michelman, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, said those who gathered in Washington over the weekend demonstrated their concern "for the direction of our nation."
And as they left, Michelman said the marchers will "carry this inspiration out of Washington, back to our homes to continue the spirit of the day."
Betsy Cavendish, who will become NARAL Pro-Choice America's interim president on May 1, called the weekend march "an incredible outpouring of energy, concern and dedication -- which must harnessed to beat back the growing attack on our fundamental freedoms.
"Over the next few months, we'll be working to sign up 250,000 pro-choice precinct captains to make our grassroots presence more vital and powerful than ever. And throughout the next few years, we'll be working in Congress and in the states to promote our pro-active agenda of expanded access to birth control, emergency contraception, honest sex education and all the other tools to prevent unintended pregnancies and reduce the need for abortion."
Not just abortion
Several pro-life groups said that attendance at the weekend march (the estimates vary widely) was not as high as organizers hoped it would be. They said march organizers invited other liberal groups to participate, simply to swell the crowd.
For example, members of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force attended the march. The group says it has considered reproductive freedom a 'gay' issue for nearly 30 years.
"The enemies of reproductive freedom are the very same people we battle every day in trying to win equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people," said Matt Foreman, the executive director of the GLBT Task Force.
"Our right to have private, consensual sex -- won in last summer's U.S. Supreme Court Lawrence v. Texas decision -- will be lost if Roe v. Wade falls under the right's persistent onslaught," Foreman said in a statement issued before Sunday's march.
Foreman said the Bush administration's "war on gay America" -- including President Bush's support for a federal marriage amendment - "is inextricably tied to the administration's assault on reproductive freedom."
Foreman mentioned 'abstinence only' programs, 'marriage promotion' plans, and Bush's 'every child deserves a mother and a father' mantra as examples of the administration's "assault on reproductive freedom."
According to some estimates, several thousand pro-life demonstrators also turned up at the march to counter the liberals' message.
Pro-life groups such as Concerned Women for America say polls show more Americans are becoming pro-life -- and feminists know that, and worry about it.
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