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Into the Belly of the Beast
The Men's March
by Edward Boches
Published December 2023
“We’re going into the belly of the beast,” claimed one pro-life marcher, knowing that Boston remains among the most pro-choice cities in the country.
The 2022 Men’s March, organized by the Catholic radio host Jim Havens, brought 200 mostly white men to one of the country’s most liberal cities to spread their message that life begins at conception and that the Constitution must protect all “persons.” The event overlapped with the 40 Days for Life vigils, which run every spring and fall and were still being held outside the Boston Planned Parenthood where the Men’s March began.
According to the National Catholic Register, The Men’s March is based on the idea that men have a role to play in the pro-life movement by acknowledging that many women who contemplate abortion have been driven to it by the actions or inactions of men. Some of that was apparent in the many speeches delivered on the sidewalks outside of Planned Parenthood. Local leaders of the group spoke about the responsibilities they shirked, admitted their own sins, and called on all men to take action in the fight to end abortion.
Holding rosaries and crosses the men listened and prayed. And then took to the streets in a parade that was flanked front and back by Boston Police on both motorcycles and bicycles.
While the speakers’ words expressed how much they cared about life, the unborn, and the women who might bear them, the tone of their voices seemed more fueled by rage and anger than by love. In fact one pro-lifer admitted openly that his primary goal was to make sure the birth rate in America did not fall behind that of Muslim nations or “there would be more of them and less of us.”
While the majority of America remains pro-choice, evident in the most recent elections where voters chose to protect abortion rights in the five states that had the question on the ballot, the pro-life movement is organized, energized and determined to ban abortion nationwide. One can see it in the continued growth of the 40 Days vigils and the well-organized grassroots efforts that have changed the judiciary and the Supreme Court.
Edward Boches is a Boston-based documentary photographer with a keen interest in how people live, work, play, and struggle.
In recent years Boches has sought out subcultures that bring people together, photographing community centers, inner city boxing gyms, protests and rallies, and most recently the agricultural community of outer Cape Cod.
In the spring of 2020, he curated and produced the site PandemicBoston.com, six projects that collectively capture how the pandemic transformed Boston’s landscape, forced behavior change, and triggered anxiety. The Boston Globe, GBH and BU Today, among others, covered the online gallery and Panopticon Gallery in Boston featured the work in a two-month-long physical exhibit in the winter of 2020/21.
In 2018, his project Seeking Glory, celebrating the courage and strength it takes to be a fighter, was exhibited as a solo show at the Griffin Museum of Photography, juried into the Social Documentary Network’s 10th Anniversary presentation at the Bronx Documentary Center, and featured in Stand Magazine.
That same year, Slowly at First, a series that captured his mother’s last month, was exhibited at the Griffin Museum of Photography, featured as a highlight of the month by the Social Documentary Network, and awarded two honorable mentions at The LA Photo Curator’s Confronting Mortality competition.
Boches believes strongly that a photographer has a responsibility to give back to the communities whose stories he tells. As such he supports local journalism by donating his services as a contributing photographer with the Provincetown Independent. Every year he recruits a team of photographers to volunteer their services in documenting the Boston Book Festival. And beginning in 2020, in partnership with Digital Silver Imaging, he is donating images from a project called By the Tide to Wellfleet SPAT, with all proceeds from sales going to SPAT’s shell fishermen relief fund.