A pro-life women's group planning to participate in the Women's March on Washington Saturday following Friday's inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump has been removed from the march's sponsorship list after notable feminists decried their inclusion.
"It appears that the [Women's March on Washington] only wants to include a 'diverse' array of women who think exactly like them," said Destiny Herndon-De La Rosa of New Wave Feminists, the Texas-based pro-life feminist group that was removed from the event's sponsor list, according to a LifeSite News report Monday. "That's unfortunate, but we will not be deterred," she said.
According to its website, the Women's March on Washington is billed as a solidarity event for marginalized people to "send a bold message to our new government on their first day in office, and to the world that women's rights are human rights," motivated by a bitterly contentious election cycle where they say they felt "insulted, demonized, and threatened."
The event's page outlining its mission and vision prominently features a quote by civil rights activist and poet Audre Lorde which reads: "It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences."
Yet the march is refusing to recognize, accept, and celebrate the slightest difference on the abortion issue, even as many women, including some who identify as feminists, hold pro-life convictions.
Writing in the Atlantic Monday, Emma Green noted the willingness of the march's organizers to partner with a pro-life group at first only to reverse its decision in light of strenuous objections from left-wing feminists who argued that the march must only represent unwavering support of abortion rights.
Citing "intersectional feminism" — the idea that not all feminists have the same views — as "the future of feminism and of this movement," Co-Chair Bob Bland said "[w]e must not just talk about feminism as one issue, like access to reproductive care," even as the "unity principles" for the event articulate staunch support of abortion.
But including NWF "horrified" other feminists like Guardian columnist Jessica Valenti who took to Twitter to pressure the event's organizers to reconsider.
We need to stop the myth that feminism is simply 'anything a woman does.' Feminism is a movement for justice - abortion access is central.— Jessica Valenti (@JessicaValenti) January 16, 2017
"We need to stop the myth that feminism is simply 'anything a woman does.' Feminism is a movement for justice — abortion access is central," Valenti said.
By Monday afternoon organizers said that the march's platform has always strongly supported abortion rights and that "the anti-choice organization in question is not a partner of the Women's March on Washington. We apologize for this error."
Such a reversal no doubt reaffirms the thinking among other groups who are planning on attending in part to protest how wedded the march is to abortion. Strongly pro-choice organizations Planned Parenthood, NARAL Pro-Choice America Foundation, #VOTEPROCHOICE, The Center for Reproductive Rights, Catholics for Choice, and EMILY'S List, are all listed as partner organizations for the march.
Students for Life of America wrote on their Facebook page on Jan. 7 that "We will not sit by as the abortion giant, Planned Parenthood, a sponsor of this march, betrays women into thinking abortion is the only choice." SFLA plans to attend Saturday's march with signs that read "Abortion Betrays Women" and will march at the upcoming annual March for Life on Jan. 27.
"I know people want to say we don't exist, or we're an oxymoron," Herndon-De La Rosa said. "But we do exist, and we are true feminists. We're not just pro-lifers who are also feminists. We're feminists first and foremost."
Pew data from April 2016 reveals that approximately 40 percent of American women believe that abortion should be illegal in all or most cases.