This morning the annual March and Love for Life, organized by March for Life Wisconsin was met by a counter-protest organized by the Madison Abortion Defense.

These marches mark the 46th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, which for Dayna Long of the Madison Abortion Defense represents a day to demonstrate the strength of the abortion rights movement.

“The story of the abortion rights movement since Roe v. Wade I think has been one of defeat and retreat and so we are here asserting that we are no longer retreating, that we are going to confront attacks on our rights head-on,” Long said.

For the Rev. Jim Murphy, a participant in the March for Life, this day is an opportunity to highlight the importance of adoption as well as recognize the increased accessibility of abortion.

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In light of the recent reports of March for Life participants harassing Omaha tribe elder Nathan Phillips in Washington, D.C., the Madison Abortion Defense also took a moment to acknowledge the Ho-Chunk land Madison is built on. Long also explained the intersection of Native struggles and abortion rights.

“In fact, Native Americans have faced particular infringements on their right to bodily autonomy represented both in what kinds of health services are available to them on reservations and that includes restrictions on birth control and abortion,” Long said.

The March for Life collected diaper donations for children in need at the Capitol and then proceeded to visit legislative offices and urged legislators to support a state adoption tax credit that would make adoption more affordable and accessible.

Murphy said that he attended the pro-life march because wants people to “respect all of life” explaining that he is not only concerned about abortion but also the death penalty, treatment within prisons and nuclear war.

With regards to the harassment of the Native elder last Friday, Murphy said that while we may not know the whole story yet he would never defend behavior that is not respectful.

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State Rep. André Jacque, R-Green Bay, stressed his view that a shift cultural attitudes towards abortion is necessary.

“The law exists to protect the weak from the strong, but the weakness of our society is that we have become acclimated and desensitized to reverse cultural norms, the legalized murder of children,” Jacque said.

Jacque’s comparison of abortion to murder stems from a commonly held belief in the anti-abortion community that life begins at conception. In Wisconsin, pro-life activists have pointed to legal restrictions which limit abortion availability to before 21 weeks of a pregnancy in response to claims like Jacque’s.

Aside from one man telling the pro-choice activists they would burn in hell, both marches proceeded largely without incident.

The peaceful marches concluded inside the capitol where pro-life activists congregated on the second-floor balcony collecting diaper donations and chanting down to the pro-choice activists who were gathered on the ground floor also chanting.

“Not the church, not the state, women will decide their fate,” pro-choice activists shouted.