Note to the women’s movement: It is possible to be both pro-life and a feminist. In fact, it is possible to be pro-life and a feminist and opposed to President-elect Donald Trump. It’s too bad the organizers of the Women’s March on Washington refuse to accept this fact. This week march organizers indicated that women like me are not welcome in their ranks.
When the Atlantic reported that the Women’s March had approved New Wave Feminists, a pro-life feminist group, as an official partner, Twitter exploded with the rage of a thousand pro-choice feminists. They insisted that being pro-life and feminist is impossible, and that New Wave Feminists is “anti-woman,” “misogynist,” “nauseating” and worse.
You can guess what happened next. The Women’s March leadership caved to the pressure and removed New Wave Feminists from their website. Afterward, they released a statement declaring that their “platform is pro-choice and has been from day one” and that “the anti-choice organization in question is not a partner. . . . We apologize for this error.”
This was no error. The march was billed as a “women-led movement bringing together people of all genders, ages, races, cultures, political affiliations and backgrounds.” Event co-chair Bob Bland even affirmed the inclusion of New Wave Feminists in the Atlantic article. But it turns out that the meaning of “political affiliations and backgrounds” is limited. Still, we’re going to go.
Pro-life feminists come from all walks of life, span many different racial and socio-economic backgrounds, and include lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals, Muslims, atheists and Christians. We share one commonality beneath all our diversity: We uphold the life and dignity of each and every human being. As such, we stand for equality, nondiscrimination and nonviolence. Living nonviolence means that we oppose abortion, because it is the intentional killing of the smallest members of our human family.
Like most feminists, we pro-life feminists at Life Matters Journal were troubled by Trump’s election. His hateful rhetoric, xenophobic policies and misogynistic behavior indicate a terrifying disregard for the inherent dignity of human beings – women especially. Our foundational philosophy is the intrinsic value of humanity, regardless of gender, circumstance, age, ability, sexuality, race, religion. We wanted to make clear that Trump doesn’t speak for us: He is not and should not be the face of the pro-life movement.
So, most of us were already set on protesting Trump’s inauguration. When the Women’s March was announced in November, we affirmed its core statement: “Women’s rights are human rights.” We just take human rights a step further than most modern feminists: We affirm the rights of pre-born children to their own lives, to their own bodies. We stand for nonviolence toward women and their children.
Yet it has become clear that our feminism isn’t wanted. First, the march added Planned Parenthood and NARAL as cosponsors. Then, a whole docket of celebrity speakers who have been vocal supporters of abortion. Today, their list of “Unity Principles” has been amended to include “open access to safe, legal, affordable abortion.” This section falls right underneath “Ending Violence” on their list, indicating either blatant hypocrisy or a stunning lack of self-awareness.
And this week, they have explicitly rejected the partnership of pro-life feminists like us. At Life Matters Journal, we have applied to be event partners and have offered help in connecting the leaders with other #NeverTrump feminists. But with the rejection of New Wave Feminists, we get the message: “You are unwanted. You are not welcome. We will not acknowledge your presence.”
But we will go. We will march. Planned Parenthood does not own women’s rights. The first-wave feminists understood that abortion is killing and that it is a tool of the patriarchy. We stand by the example of Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Alice Paul and many others who upheld the dignity of pre-born children and fought discrimination against women.
We will fight against the modern popular feminist paradigm that says that to support women’s rights, we must support the violent act that is abortion. We will fight against the culture that understands pregnancy as a disease condition and sees children not for their inherent dignity, but for how wanted and able they are. We will stand up against misogyny, rape culture, sexual assault, sexism, racism, ageism, ableism and all discrimination. And yes, because of that, we will stand up against abortion.
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Murphy is founder of Life Matters Journal.