Regardless of ethnicity, background, political ideology, religion or other circumstances, women are inherently women with various struggles and joys that are undercurrents interwoven into the common human experience.
Yet for some women, it seems their participation in the Women’s March in Washington, D.C. or at affiliated satellite marches throughout the nation this past weekend has been overshadowed by a prevailing mindset that “being pro-life is incompatible with feminism,” College Reform reports.
The news outlet went to the march and interviewed a number of women there, asking whether women can be pro-life and feminists. Many said no.
“After speaking with over 50 participants, the overall consensus was that Trump threatened women’s ‘reproductive rights’—i.e. abortion—and talks about women in a way that encourages ‘rape culture,’” according to the report.
“I don’t believe that being anti-choice is a feminist position,” one woman told Campus Reform. She refused to use the term “pro-life.”
Another woman said, “I think pro-life women can be feminists as long as they don’t try to tell me what to do with my body.”
Watch the video of the interviews here.
The march took a decidedly pro-abortion turn a couple weeks ago after initially touting itself as inclusive and inter-sectional. It even welcomed several pro-life groups as partners, including New Wave Feminists, Abby Johnson’s And Then There Were None and Stanton Healthcare. Just days later, abortion advocates learned about the partnership and made a huge fuss on social media. The march organizers caved to abortion activists’ pressure and kicked out the pro-life groups.
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In the midst of the debacle, the march organizers released an official platform that supported abortion. Then, it highlighted the abortion business Planned Parenthood as a premier partner and announced that CEO Cecile Richards was a guest speaker.
Yet this didn’t stop some pro-life women from participating.
According to Breitbart, Kristan Hawkins, President of Students for Life of America, posted on Facebook, “Yeah so they wouldn’t let us in their march so we just ran ahead and got in the front.”
The Women’s March, co-sponsored by Planned Parenthood, NARAL Pro-Choice America, and other pro-abortion organizations, was based on the premises that “women’s rights are human rights”; its purpose also was to speak out for the rights that women believed would be undermined by the new presidential administration, according to Vox.
“We will not sit by as Planned Parenthood, our nation’s abortion Goliath and a sponsor of this March, betrays women into thinking abortion is their only choice,” Hawkins continued.
“We are anti-abortion, but we’re also pro-woman,” Kristina Hernandez, Director of Communications for the Students for Life of America, stated to Vox. “We want to be compassionate and open to dialogue on the other side.”
“Abortion Betrays Women” signs at the event garnered mixed reactions.
“Pro-life women have been the backbone of the grassroots advocacy, pregnancy centers and post abortive ministries for decades,” Meg McDonald said in a report by America Magazine. “And there is diversity of opinion among women about what it means to be a feminist.”
Destiny Herndon-De La Rosa, president of New Wave Feminists, a Texas-based pro-life group, said the Women’s March embraced a version of inclusiveness that did not include all women or feminists.
“It’s a very specific type of diversity, which does not include everyone,” she said in a Fox News interview. “Any time women come together, exciting things happen, so we definitely wanted to be there with the pro-life contingent of that.”
Herndon-De La Rosa continued: “We just believe in protecting life from the womb to the tomb…Obviously being pro-life is a different take on feminism. Since women were viewed as property for a huge chunk of history, we don’t think it’s OK to view children as property, especially since they are the most vulnerable among us.”
However, other women have expressed different views.
“I see the anti-choice movement — I’ll call it ‘anti-choice,’ because I don’t think it’s even very ‘pro-life’ — as the very opposite of that core of feminism,” Jess Mulvihill told Vox.
“I think [feminism] should accept a whole bunch of different people from diverse viewpoints. But as soon as you start trying to restrict people’s freedoms, then you are going against feminism. And hopefully, if [the people who are doing that] are meeting opposition, they will try to educate themselves about why they are meeting that opposition.”
“Women’s March,” is a bit of a misnomer, implying an umbrella of various women’s issues, but to boil women’s issues down to abortion overlooks other issues where women could unite and speak their voices.
In a statement according to Breitbart, Hawkins stated: “Instead of a march to promote those worthy values and truly be inclusive, the event has turned into a rallying cry for the radical abortion industry to save their own baby: taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood.”