Speak Out on a Woman's Right to Choose
From interviews conducted by Marianne
Schnall at the March for Women's Lives
in Washington, D.C. in 1992. Excerpts from these interviews originally appeared in Us: The Entertainment Magazine.
lot of us remember the days when abortion
wasn't legal. It didn't mean there weren't
abortions. It meant that women who were
wealthy could go to the various places in
the world where you could get safe, legal
abortions, and the rest of the women risked
their lives for the right to decide whether
to have children or not. The people who
are saying we don't have the right to choose,
the government should interfere with our
womb, are not people who believe in helping
mothers who are poor or psychologically
or emotionally unfit or unable to have children
- to take care of those children, to raise
them healthily and safely. It's as though
all they care about is unborn babies, and
they don't care anything about mothers or
the babies once they are born into a world
that can't receive them properly."
to force your politicians, your local elected
leaders, your Congressional and Senate leaders,
force them on the issue of Choice from where
they stand. It's important to be an active
participant in the process. It's a responsibility
and it's a gift that Americans have, whether
they are right or wrong, good or bad, black
or white, gender it doesn't matter.
I have faith in people and numbers. And
I think, most importantly, people have to
vote to pressure their elected officials
and ask them where they stand on issues
that matter to them. Take control of your
life and your destiny because to leave it
up to the highest court of the land will
take it away."
Sarah Jessica Parker
feel it's very serious and we should all
step up and defend our rights. This is basically
unconstitutional. This is an attack on our
freedoms. We lose this, then we start losing
other things. I wish that people really
understood the issue. It is sort of a scary
thing. It's an attack on our fundamental
rights. Freedom of religion is guaranteed
to us and basically that is what this attack
is against. And we also have a right to
I think that our adversaries, the anti-equality
folks, have two tactics. One is to get their
people to vote and the other is to make
our people feel they can't make a difference.
And that was a conscious tactic during the
Nixon era, during the Reagan era, and during
the Bush era .. . Though change doesn't
start an electoral system, it's obviously
like a house - you build a revolution from
the bottom up. And that's exactly what's
been happening. Because we have a huge majority
of this country. In fact, if you ask the
question the way it ought to be asked, which
is who makes the decisions, the women in
our position or the government, 90% of Americans
say it should not be the government. So
we are the overwhelming majority of the
country. We ought to have a march or a demonstration
at least once every couple of months just
to keep our circulation going."
like to know that my daughters would have
the freedom if they find themselves in situations.
No government is going to jump in and make
decisions for them. It's outrageous. They
have no place in that position. There is
no question, it should be a woman's choice.
It is not a religious thing, it's not a
political thing, it's very simpleit's
just a right, so don't f--k with it. "
often feel myself that the government is
this huge, untouchable thing, and it is.
It's daunting. But they do things, because
they are about to take away a woman's right
to choose. I really believe they are. They
have power and it's time to say something
if you don't agree. It's time to act."
lost a friend in high school who died from
a self-administered abortion attempt and
I grew up in a day and age when abortion
was illegal, and I just don't even know
what to say to people who don't understand
how important it is that abortion be available
to women, that women do have that choice.
. . Being a woman in that situation in a
society that doesn't offer medical assistancethat's
truly more terrifying than any movie Hollywood
could make. And you've got to feel compassion
for these millions of women, and you've
got to come back here and demand, beg, whatever
it takes to get the government to be sympathetic
to that, to stop treating women like second
of all, where would we be not even
born without women. They are the other best
and wonderful half of our existence, forever
and ever. I have a daughter. My daughter
will have a daughter. And essentially it's
less an abortion issue for me and more an
equality issue. That's the large thing we
are working at here. And this is a step
towards full equality for women. And that's
very important to every man in the world."
think that this issue is one that doesn't
really belong in the hand of government.
It belongs in the hands of women and their
physicians...I mean, to me, Thelma and
Louise was not just a movie about two
women on a crime spree, and it wasn't just
a movie about liberation, it was a movie
about a very tenuous relationship we have
with a normal life. And I think that we
are experiencing that right now. And I wanted
to write an outlaw movie because our government
is about to turn a lot of women into outlaws.
And they are going to turn a lot of doctors
into outlaws. And so the analogy is not
that far off, because you know, you narrow
people's options, you force people who are
otherwise God-fearing, law abiding people
to do things that in normal circumstances
they wouldn't do."
(Oscar-winning screenwriter of Thelma
think everyone who is of voting age should
take seriously what is facing this nation.
And I think it's ridiculous we even have
to march, frankly. I mean, it's such a fundamental
right. It's such a basic, simple, fundamental
right that we're being threatened with,
being denied that right. It's very simple."
Mary Stuart Masterson
Americans, our respect for people's private
lives, where folks make their most profound
and intimate decisions, must never be superceded
by the moralists in government."
I'll tell you whatthere are a lot
of men here, but I will tell you the reason
why a lot of us are here, because basically
it boils down to the government or legislative
body telling me what I can and cannot do
in planning my own family. So, if you are
going to tell a woman what to do, that woman
may be my wife, that woman may be my girlfriend.
That doesn't sit well with me to tell them
and to tell me what I can't do with my family.
So, in a nut shell, that's basically why
I'm here, and that's why it's important
for most of us men to be here. Because,
you can't live in this world, obviously,
without coming into contact with women.
I mean, a woman is my mother, gave me life,
gave me sisters. I have a girlfriend I love
dearly. All of that comes into play. It's
not about abortion being right or wrong.
It's about having that choice to decide
what a person should do with their own body."
©Marianne Schnall. No portion of these quotes may be reprinted without permission of Marianne Schnall .
Marianne Schnall is a widely published writer and interviewer.
whose writings and interviews have appeared in a variety of media outlets including O, The Oprah Magazine, CNN.com, EW.com, the Women's Media Center and many others. Marianne is a featured blogger at The Huffington Post and a contributor to the nationally syndicated NPR radio show, 51 percent The Women's Perspective. She is also the co-founder and executive director of the women's website and non-profit organization Feminist.com and What Will It Take Movements. She is the author of Daring to Be Ourselves: Influential Women Share Insights on Courage, Happiness and Finding Your Own Voice based on her interviews with a variety of well-known women. Marianne's new book is What Will it Take to Make a Woman President? Conversations About Women, Leadership, and Power. You can visit her website at www.marianneschnall.com.
Follow Marianne on Twitter @marianneschnall
More interviews by Marianne Schnall