Churchgoers heading to Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Monday were greeted with jeers from boisterous pro-choice protesters who decried their defense of laws outlawing abortion in America.
A group of reproductive rights supporters expressed their wrath at the Catholic Church for what they say is their efforts to drive anti-abortion rhetoric through the word of God.
According to NYC for Abortion Rights – an organization committed to protecting the right to choose – several members of Basilica of Old St. Pat’s were attending the service, conservative religious parishioners who themselves protest a Lower-Manhattan Planned Parenthood on the first Saturday of each month.
This service kicked off “40 Days for Life,” an anti-abortion campaign which the Archdiocese of New York describes as “a peaceful initiative consisting of 40 days of prayer and fasting, peaceful vigil at abortion facilities, and educational outreach with the goal of protecting mothers and their children from abortion.”
For those attempting to fight for women’s rights, Monday’s demonstration was about taking the fight to anti-abortion advocates whom they see as lead oppressors as the walls of safe, legal access to abortion care begins to close in around the country.
Demonstrators created a picket line around the entrance of the Cathedral, brandishing signs and chanting so loud they hoped it would overshadow the prayer.
The protest was dubbed an abortion carnival, which, according to organizers, was inspired by the Catholic season of Lent, which falls in the late winter and spring every year.
Despite their anger, demonstrators attempted to maintain a party attitude by giving out free food and using noisemakers. And with members of Basilica of Old St. Pat’s gearing up for another protest of their own, NYC for Abortion Rights used the old religious adage “An eye for an eye” by hosting their own protest.
“Inside the Catholic Church tonight, there’s going to be a meeting that’s kicking off 40 days of anti-choice that’s organized by the Catholic Church. And so while we have a lot of respect for people’s rights to practice whatever religion they want, unfortunately, they’ve crossed the political line again and again. We’re here tonight in a peaceful, loving way to support a woman’s right to choose,” protester Caitlin McKoy told amNewYork Metro.
Outside of St. Patrick’s Cathedral protesters hold an abortion carnival chanting: “F*ck the church, F*ck the state. The people must decide our fate.” pic.twitter.com/kC9Yno6itt
— Dean_Moses (@Dean_Moses) September 26, 2022
McKoy showed her dissatisfaction with the religious establishment by dressing as the pope, carrying a large cross and a sign while others also dressed up with shirts and posters reading, “I will aid and abet abortion.”
Things became heated as the evening wore on and worshipers began to leave the service. The opposing sides engaged in a war of words while others attempted to flee while covering their faces amidst a deluge of heckles and surrounding signs.