Annual anti-abortion march met with protest, dialogue

As a chilly Saturday morning aged into the afternoon, a ringing chant could be heard in the south end of Concord’s downtown.

“My body!” Dalia Vidunas, the director of Equality Health Center, shouted. Across the sidewalk, dozens of pro-abortion rights supporters answered, “My choice!”

“Her body!” Vidunas cried. “Her choice!” the crowd answered.

Making their way down Main Street to the St. John the Evangelist Activity Center were dozens of equally passionate anti-abortion marchers, their leader bearing a small, white coffin. Some sang as they passed in front of the abortion rights supporters; others urged their ideological opponents to join them. More simply prayed.

The scene was not unusual for anyone who has lived in Concord for some time. N.H. Right to Life’s annual March for Life has been ongoing for more than 30 years, and is always held in the days before the anniversary of the passage of Roe v. Wade.

The Equality Health Center’s counter protest has been around since 2011. Since then, the two sides have traded places several times, at least physically. In some years, the pro-abortion rights faction is allowed on the sidewalk – other times, they must stay on the health center’s lawn.

But despite this yearly back-and-forth on protest positions, members of both groups say they fear an increasingly-divided nation is keeping people from having a real conversation about a topic as emotional as

abortion. And 11 days before Roe v. Wade turns 45, some took the time to remember why they were so involved in the cause – and why it’s important to keep talking about it. ‘Women shouldn’t be judged’

Nancy Greenwood, 63, of Concord, remembers pooling money with four of her high school friends to buy a one-way bus ticket to New York City. But it wasn’t a trip for her – it was for her 16-year-old friend, who was pregnant. Her friend’s family was deeply religious, Greenwood said, and she was afraid of what would happen if they found out about her situation.

So, armed with a phone number and $125, Greenwood said her friend traveled to NYC, alone, and had an illegal abortion.

That memory still stands out to Greenwood as to why she rallies women’s abortion rights. “Each situation is very personal,” she said. “Reproductive choice is incredibly important to a woman; without it, you can control a woman’s heath, her well being, her financial situation.”

Lisa Spring, 58, who works at an abortion provider in the state, has…

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