12122019What's Hot:

More on Forced Birthers and the Women’s March

Is there a place at the Women’s March for women who are politically opposed to abortion?

When the video leaked of President-elect Donald Trump bragging about grabbing women’s genitals without their permission, Brandi Swindell was horrified. That video offended her sense of how she believed women should be treated, and caused her to question her support for Trump. But on Nov. 8 Swindell, a 40-year-old antiabortion advocate from Idaho, cast her ballot for Trump anyway.

This weekend, she’ll be participating in Idaho’s sister march of the Women’s March on Washington. The Washington event is a high-profile demonstration in front of the U.S. Capitol the day after the inauguration, with women from all over the country rebuking Trump’s remarks and demanding equal rights for women on his first day in office.

About 250,000 women and men are expected to attend the Women’s March on Washington, which has become a galvanizing event for Hillary Clinton supporters after the bitter election. Tens of thousands more are expected to attend smaller, sister marches throughout the country.

[It started with a retiree. Now the Women’s March could be the biggest inauguration demonstration.]

But conservative women who are politically against abortion — many of whom say they reluctantly voted for Trump on the basis of his vow to nominate an antiabortion Supreme Court justice — also plan to attend to ensure that during talks of feminism and womanhood in a Trump era, their voices of dissent are also heard. They may disagree with Democrats on abortion, but say they, too, have goals such as equal pay, more progressive child-care policies and generous maternity leave.

But is there a place for them at events that are being held to protest the remarks and policy proposals of the man that many of them helped elect? And can a march with a political agenda be one that includes everyone? Fresh energy was injected into the debate this week when march organizers dropped an antiabortion group as a partner.

“I have some very serious concerns about Trump,” said Swindell, who started Stanton Healthcare, a women’s health facility with multiple locations that does not offer contraception or abortions. “I am a feminist.”

The Women’s March has a folksy origin story tracing back to a grandmother in Hawaii who launched the concept as a Facebook event as soon as the unexpected election results were announced. As the march has grown in prominence, it has highlighted long-existing racial, socioeconomic and political rifts in the feminist movement.

The march was originally unfocused in its mission, but in recent weeks has been more and more defined by a progressively liberal agenda. Planned Parenthood is the biggest sponsor of the march, and groups including Emily’s List and the Natural Resources Defense Council are partners.

Last week, the march’s organizers released a platform and list of principles calling for “open access to safe, legal, affordable abortion and birth control for all people, regardless of income, location or education.”

[Here’s what’s happening in D.C. on (and around) inauguration.]

Many women argue that by tying the march to reproductive issues, its organizers squandered an opportunity to unite women en masse. There’s enough to unite behind ahead of the new administration, they argue, that they didn’t need to bring a divisive issue into play.

“It further proves that this is what the abortion industry does,” said Kristan Hawkins, the president of Students for Life. “They have taken over any talk of feminism in the country to point out that if you are antiabortion, you are accused of being anti-woman.”

Linda Sarsour, one of the main organizers of the march and the director of the Arab American Association of New York, said the platform is deliberately broad — it includes sections on disability, and workers and immigrant rights — and the march is open to everyone, even if they don’t agree with every part of its mission.

“We don’t believe a quarter million people will see themselves in every platform,” Sarsour said. “We are not a pro-abortion march, we are a pro-women march.”

Still, when the Atlantic magazine reported this week that an antiabortion group, New Wave Feminists, was an official partner of the march, the backlash was strong. The march organizers quickly dropped the group and apologized, writing in a statement that “we look forward to marching on behalf of individuals who share the view that women deserve the right to make their own reproductive decisions.”

[Abortion falls to lowest level since Roe v. Wade]

Abby Johnson, an antiabortion activist from Texas, thinks that Planned Parenthood, with its political muscle, has tied abortion to feminism, and she decided to attend the march to ensure that the antiabortion voice is included. Johnson is a former Planned Parenthood employee who founded “And Then There Were None,” a group that helps abortion clinic workers leave their jobs.

Like many of the antiabortion women planning to attend, Johnson says she will participate in the march, and not protest it, but will still carry signs making her stance known. They say they want to start dialogue with people about the issue.

“I think it’s important that a pro-life feminist voice is there. I am not going to protest, I am going to join in solidarity,” Johnson said. “And to be honest, abortion is not the only issue I’m concerned about. I’m concerned about the pay gap. I’m concerned about the lack of women in the political arena. There are a lot of things that are important to me.”

Although organizers say antiabortion women are welcome to attend the Women’s March, their inclusion in what the event represents could become more complicated if the platform laid out by the organizers is a sign of the feminist movement in the Trump era. Elizabeth Velez, a professor of women and gender studies at Georgetown University, said that feminism is a political term and that the idea that women should be able to choose what they do with their bodies is fundamental to feminism.

One reason for this, Velez said, is that history shows that abortions will still be carried out if they become illegal, and proponents of reproductive rights think that those opposing abortion are denying women safe access to these procedures.

“Feminism is more than finding personal satisfactions in your life; it’s a political movement, and if you are not part of the political movement, you can’t be a feminist,” Velez said. “If you are pro-life, you are certainly not looking at the struggles across all of us.”

The week after inauguration weekend, tens of thousands of women are expected to come to the nation’s capital for the annual March for Life — the largest antiabortion rally in the country. Jeanne Mancini, the head of the March for Life, had originally intended to attend the Women’s March, but once organizers released the platform, she changed her mind. She said it did not feel right to attend a march that had a message that explicitly ran counter to the one she was hosting.

“I would have wanted to march because I’m pro-women, I’m 100 percent pro-women. I want little girls to be empowered to know that they can be anything they want to be,” she said. “I have never felt left out from the feminist movement. I feel more misunderstood and frustrated.”

Source: WaPo

These Pro-Lifers Are Headed to the Women’s March on Washington

Pro-life women are headed to D.C. Yes, they’ll turn out for the annual March for Life, which is coming up on January 27. But one week earlier, as many as a few hundred pro-lifers are planning to attend the Women’s March on Washington, which has been billed as feminist counter-programming to the inauguration.

With organizations like Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice America co-sponsoring the event, pro-life marchers have found themselves in a somewhat awkward position. What’s their place at an event that claims to speak for all women, but has aligned itself with pro-choice groups? With roughly a week to go before the march, organizers also released a set of “unity principles,” and one of them is “open access to safe, legal, affordable abortion and birth control for all people.”

Some pro-lifers say they’ll protest. A delegation from Students for Life of America will be there to march against the influence of “the abortion industry” in the women’s movement, said Kristan Hawkins, the organization’s president. And Jeanne Mancini, the president of March for Life, said she was planning to attend but doesn’t know if she can now that the march’s policy platform includes support for abortion.

But others are looking for solidarity. Many pro-life women felt just as outraged as pro-choice women about Donald Trump’s conduct and comments, including the revelation that he once bragged about groping women without their permission. For their part, the organizers say pro-lifers will be welcome to march on January 21st. A pro-life group based in Texas, New Wave Feminists, was granted partnership status on Friday. “Intersectional feminism is the future of feminism and of this movement,” said Bob Bland, one of the event’s co-chairs. “We must not just talk about feminism as one issue, like access to reproductive care.” (On Monday afternoon, after the publication of this article, the Women’s March organizers removed the New Wave Feminists from their website and list of partners. “The Women’s March’s platform is pro-choice and that has been our stance from day one,” the organizers said in a statement. “The anti-choice organization in question is not a partner of the Women’s March on Washington. We apologize for this error.”)

The pro-life movement is changing. Many young activists identify as feminists or atheists and reject a uniform alignment with the Republican Party, unlike their Phyllis Schlafly-style predecessors. Perhaps the Women’s March on Washington is a sign that feminism is changing, too, ever so slightly: a first gathering of a truly “intersectional” movement which makes room for women with diverse convictions, including a moral opposition to abortion.

Some of the pro-life women going to the march are looking for solace in the wake of the election. “I was very concerned about the fact that in 2017, our presidential candidate was such a diehard misogynist,” said Destiny Herndon-De La Rosa, the Texas-based president of a group called New Wave Feminists. “I get that he applied this pro-life label, but I don’t know very many people who genuinely believe he’s pro-life.”

While the organizers say the march is not an anti-Trump protest, the fact that it’s happening the day after inauguration is not a coincidence. The stated purpose is broad—to “send a bold message … that women’s rights are human rights”—but Trump is clearly the context. In some ways, the march is not just about women; it’s an affirmation of diversity. Bland gave a laundry list of groups whose voices will be at the center of the march, including people of color, those with disabilities, Muslims and “those of all diverse religious faiths,” undocumented immigrants, and LGBT folks. “They have been particularly targeted during the election cycle, and now, there’s a real concern that their rights will be stripped away,” Bland said. “We’re marching to say that we support them, and all women.”

Nothing about this mission is incompatible with a pro-life viewpoint. In fact, some pro-lifers would argue that their work is explicitly focused on promoting the dignity of all people, including folks who don’t fit a straight, white, conservative mold. A small group of marchers associated with the pro-life publication Life Matters Journal will be there to support “this actual affirmation of peace and human rights, not just for women, but for all people of any or no gender, ethnicity, religion, immigration status, age, or disability,” said Rosemary Geraghty, a 20-year-old University of Pittsburgh student who works as the publication’s the social-media coordinator. The only difference between her list and Bland’s is that hers includes “the pre-born.”

Other pro-life activists are attracted to the message of women’s empowerment, but they’re not interested in opposing the incoming president. “I’m not going to protest Trump’s presidency. It’s done. It’s over,” said Abby Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood clinic director who started an organization to help anti-abortion health-care workers find jobs that line up with their views. “But I do think he needs women to hold him accountable.” She listed workplace inequality, the pay gap, and women’s lack of access to health care as issues she wants to see highlighted under the next administration. “I’m just planning to go and join the march,” she said. “I have no desire to protest or anything like that.” Catherine Glenn Foster, a D.C.-area lawyer who also works as a senior fellow at the Charlotte Lozier Institute—the research arm of the pro-life advocacy group Susan B. Anthony List—said she’s going neither to protest nor to stand in solidarity. “I would rather express that I’m committed to the march’s ideals and would hold all of us to a greater realization of those ideals of non-violence for all,” she said.

Some groups seem more interested in spinning up controversy than actually participating, though. Students for Life of America has invited hundreds of women to attend on Facebook, proclaiming that “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, who served in the Bush administration before taking the top job in the campus-based group, complained that Students for Life applied to be a partner in the march and never heard back, although they did receive an email encouraging all students to attend, she said. Bland said she was skeptical that any group would be rejected or ignored outright. The march has largely been put together by volunteers, many with little or no organizing experience, she said, and as a result, it’s been a little chaotic.

Hawkins also objected to the high-profile pro-choice partners. The march originally had nothing to do with abortion, she said, but “they’ve allowed themselves to do is be bought out by big abortion.” [OP: Christ Almighty, could you possibly be more insulting to the pro-choice community? I don’t usually interject comments into the middle of articles like this, but fuck this, and fuck the person who said it.] Some of the other pro-life women who are going expressly disagreed with this combative attitude, though. “Optics-wise, it looks terrible that any pro-life group would go out and protest women,” Herndon-De La Rosa said.

While the pro-lifers I spoke with saw the pro-choice partnerships as a mistake, involving Planned Parenthood “was a no-brainer for us,” said Bland. Especially with a fight over the Affordable Care Act ahead, “one of the challenges facing women in this incoming administration is access to reproductive care,” she said. While pro-lifers might object to the organization’s abortion services, 97 percent of what Planned Parenthood “offers are reproductive-health services that are desperately needed by women all over this country.”

Source: The Atlantic

OP: Two things…

1) If you voted for Drumpf, you can stay the hell home, afaic, especially if you’re “not interested in opposing him.” I mean, how very dare you show up at this march that was triggered by and started out as a protest against his being elected if YOU are one of those who helped make that happen?

2) If anti-choicers want to march, I have no objection as long as they can leave their obnoxious anti-choice slogans at home, along with their condescending holier-than-thou attitudes. Unfortunately, I don’t trust most of them to be able to do that. As since I will be there, carrying a sign that will include a pro-choice message (among several other messages), people like that Students for Life of America group are making me a little nervous with their talk of showing up to “march against the influence of ‘the abortion industry’ in the women’s movement.” [Whatever the fuck they’re even fucking talking about.] I just hope the first birthers are a tiny enough minority that I don’t run into any obvious ones–or that if I do, they’re at least reasonably civil.

I expect this will be my last actual post until I get home after the march, although I plan on reading and commenting between now and then. I am incredibly excited, thrilled, and nervous to be taking part in this. I promise to report back on my experiences, possibly with a post on my LJ. So long for now!

Source: ONTD_Political

comments powered by HyperComments

More on the topic