Abortion rights will take center stage in Santa Monica this weekend. In response to the Unite for Life Festival, an event put on by the anti-abortion organization Live Action set to take place on the Pier Saturday, local activists have announced plans for a “peaceful counter-gathering” in protest of the event. 

The gathering, titled “Reproductive Justice is Life, is being co-sponsored by the Santa Monica Area Interfaith Council and Church in Ocean Park, with other local partners. It will take place at Palisades Park, adjacent to the Pier and at the same time as the Unite for Life Festival. The gathering is free, open to all and will feature speakers from Jewish, Islamic, Christian, Native, Hindu, Humanist, Unitarian Universalist and other traditions. Among these speakers are Janet McKeithen of the Church in Ocean Park, Omar Haroon, Rabbi Diane Rose and Deaconess Jeanne Roe Smith. They are expected to touch on topics including “how their faith supports belief in the morality of reproductive choice,” according to a press release about the gathering.

The Unite for Life Festival will feature speakers including conservative commentator Allie Beth Stuckey, as well as performances from country singer RaeLynn and hip-hop artist Wande, among others. Tickets cost between $10 to $150. The event’s web page describes it as “a chance for pro-lifers around the nation to gather in celebration of life.” 

“When we are united, we can empower mothers, fathers, and families to embrace LIFE and ensure every child in every state is completely protected,” it reads. “Together, we will end abortion in Los Angeles and our nation.” 

The Reproductive Justice is Life gathering aims to counter that message. 

“Rallying in support of Reproductive Justice on a day when other voices will be speaking a dangerous message. Spreading love and justice,” their event page says. “Help us show the community that we stand for Reproductive Justice and Human Rights.” 

Santa Monica has seen multiple protests in recent months from activists on both sides of the abortion debate, following the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, which eliminated the federal right to an abortion. This weekend’s events come just over 100 days after the reversal, which went into effect on June 24. 

Both events are scheduled to start at 4 p.m. Saturday Oct. 8. More information about Unite for Life can be found at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/unite-for-life-festival-featuring-lila-rose-raelynn-many-more-tickets-377513502047. More details on the Reproductive Justice is Life Gathering are available here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/reproductive-justice-is-life-tickets-428736230607

grace@smdp.com