The recent marches in Washington remind us of the various causes and passions that motivate people to put their opinions into action. It is commendable that so many citizens hold these passions, expressing them in various ways, including bumper stickers, postings on Facebook, and marches. But I want to know the answer to just one question: Why do so many of these committed people feel the need to impose their will — based on their opinions — on others?

I respond specifically to the Jan. 27 column by Renée Schafer Horton, in which she declares her desire to “pitch her tent” with so-called pro-life feminists and “hope they eventually run the world.” First, why exactly should what Ms. Horton thinks influence the lives of other women? And secondly, why is it allegedly good that the people she admires should “run the world”?

With those thoughts in mind, I limit myself to the issue of abortion. I’m a Baby Boomer who listened to every possible argument on every possible side of this issue during the years leading up to the passage of Roe v. Wade. I was delighted when that law passed, not just because it personally rescued several women I knew, but because I naively believed that the passage would end the seemingly endless argument. Not so, as we see.

All I want to ask of those self-righteous souls who so passionately defend the “rights of the unborn” is, does your opinion, your activism, actually affect you personally? Have you had an abortion, or considered one? Have you ever considered what happens to the woman who desperately seeks an abortion but is denied one, because of your enforced opinion? Have you ever followed up to learn what happens to the child of a woman who, for myriad reasons, did not want to have that child but was forced to do so? Have you ever offered money, support, and education for any of those children?

People will have sex, no matter what proscriptions are out there. Birth control and sex education should come first. But life happens, and sometimes it shouldn’t. Roe v. Wade is the law of the land. To those who think they have the right to tell desperate women that they must have that unwanted baby just because the self-righteous few think they must, I say, back off and shut up. It really is not your business.

You do not know the details of the situation, and you’re never going to be there to help. All you will do is force an already desperate, distraught woman to have a baby she does not want and cannot support. Congratulations. It seems that only the baby matters, and that once that baby grows up to become a woman who makes her own decisions, then the welfare of that woman no longer matters.

I’m so very tired of this debate. Celebrate your opinions, but let others celebrate, and act upon, theirs without your interference. Just because you believe something, no matter how passionately, you do not have the right to impose that belief on other people. Leave them in peace to make their own decisions.

Kendra Gaines is a university educator.