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Pro-life feminists, activists unfazed at cold shoulder from Women’s March on Washington

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A sign from New Wave Feminists
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A sign Created Equal is bringing to the women's march.

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 12, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – A diverse lineup of individuals and groups will be spreading the pro-life message at a national feminist anti-Trump rally the day after the president-elect's inauguration. 

Ranging from "consistent-life-ethic feminists" to students to activists bringing images of abortion victims, the pro-life participants in and protestors of the "Women's March on Washington" seek to spread the message that Planned Parenthood doesn't speak for women, not all feminists are pro-abortion, and the right to life is a basic human right.

"It's been quite interesting watching the Women's March evolve from first an anti-Trump protest planned in the wake of the election, to a women-centric event dedicated to diversity, to now an event overrun by pro-abortion-rights co-sponsors and endorsers," Aimee Murphy, executive director of Life Matters Journal, told LifeSiteNews.

Murphy said she finds it confusing that the event organizers promote abortion even though their website states, "We stand together, recognizing that defending the most marginalized among us is defending all of us. We support the advocacy and resistance movements that reflect our multiple and intersecting identities. We call on all defenders of human rights to join us. ... We work peacefully while recognizing there is no true peace without justice and equity for all. ... women's rights are human rights, regardless of ... age or disability." 

"And then they added the cherry on top: the Kingian principles of non-violence," said Murphy. 

However, "when it became clear that the women's March on Washington was going to have major 1 percent-er corporate co-sponsors the likes of Planned Parenthood, NARAL, and Emily's List, I was frankly confused," Murphy explained. "These organizations are inconsistent with true adherence to non-violence due merely to the way that they promote the violent act of abortion. Despite these abortion-promoting organizations becoming official partners, we believe that pro-life feminist voices absolutely must be represented at this event. The term 'women's rights' is already synonymous with access to abortion in our culture."

"But the pro-abortion side does not own women's rights. It is vital that our voices be counted, and that our holistic perspective in support of human rights for all human beings be included," Murphy continued. "It is necessary both for pro-life women to be represented, but also that we point out the inconsistency of this position that touts non-violence on the one hand but promotes abortion on the other. As pro-life feminists, we embrace non-violence, knowing that true peace cannot be attained through the oppression of any members of our human family. We believe that our movement is the future of an honest and holistic feminism."

Planned Parenthood is using the event to try to shore up support for the tax dollars it currently receives. Congress may redirect half of its income to women's centers that don't commit abortions.

Organizers ignore pro-life women's groups

Life Matters Journal, New Wave Feminists, and Students for Life of America (SFLA) all reached out to the event organizers about co-sponsoring it, but none received a reply.

"I'm pro-life because I'm pro-woman and I believe abortion is the ultimate form of oppression," Destiny Herndon-De La Rosa of New Wave Feminists told LifeSiteNews. "For far too long women were treated as property and for some bizarre reason now we are fighting for the right to treat our children in the same way. I am participating because I refuse to let the abortion lobby co-opt this march for women. Not all feminists support abortion, and we must be there to represent the vast and growing number of pro-life feminists."

"I mean, are we really shocked that a feminist rally only wants to include abortion activists?" asked Herndon-De La Rosa. "I'm not. They're trapped in this old school way of thinking that says, in order to be a feminist you must be pro-choice. All the more reason for us to be out there showing them otherwise."

Michele Hendrickson, SFLA's Eastern Regional director, is leading a group at the march "to educate the women who are there about the ultimate act of violence – abortion," she said. "We care deeply about women and families, their rights as human beings, and we want to be a voice in defense of all human rights, including the most vulnerable and innocent in society, the preborn. Women’s rights do not automatically equally abortion-on-demand."

"Students for Life of America has asked to sponsor [the event] several times, even before Planned Parenthood became involved, and we have received no acknowledgement of our desire to join the women’s march," said Hendrickson. "Planned Parenthood and the abortion lobby have once again taken over an event centered on the women’s movement, just like they did in the 1960s. ... They are bulldozing their message of free abortion-on-demand for any reason at any time over other, valid messages that women want to talk about." 

"Telling women that they need abortion to succeed in life is the opposite of empowerment" and is "insulting, demeaning, and deceptive," she said.

Created Equal is sending a contingent of interns, former Justice Riders, and staffers to the march to display images of women and children killed by abortion.

Upon hearing of the event, "we immediately decided we were coming," Created Equal's National Director Mark Harrington told LifeSiteNews. "Our message is women and children first. ... Abortion kills children, and because abortion kills children, abortion harms women. We wanna make the connection between the act of abortion and how that harms or betrays women."

Harrington said it's possible Created Equal will set up a jumbotron showing the victims. The Created Equal team are all trained in pro-life apologetics. 

"We cannot cede the moral, philosophical and scientific high ground just because some women are now shouting their abortions," said Sarah Jimenez, communications director of Created Equal.

'Abortion isn’t feminist at all'

"Originally, I wanted to participate to remind President-elect Trump that even though he won, we were still watching and still hoping that he would treat women, minorities, the disabled, and those of other religions with the respect due to all humans," pro-life attorney and activist Deanna Wallace told LifeSiteNews. "Now, I’m participating in order to show that pro-choice extremist groups like Planned Parenthood and NARAL do not represent all women. I’m proud to be a pro-life feminist, and I won’t be quiet about it."

"I was so disappointed to have this unifying experience marred by partnering with a group like Planned Parenthood that profits off scared and desperate women experiencing unplanned pregnancies," she continued. "I’m participating in the Women’s March on Washington in order to spread the message that abortion isn’t feminist at all."

Wallace said abortion is anti-woman because it treats women's bodies and fertility like they are "the problem" instead of accommodating "our inherent feminine qualities, such as our tremendous power to create life."

Jeanne Marie Hathway, a Catholic University of America student, is firmly anti-Trump and identifies herself as a "consistent-life ethic feminist." She said that even though she opposes Trump and much of what he stands for, she hopes he will keep his promise to defund Planned Parenthood and that the money will be redirected to federally-qualified community health centers.

"Planned Parenthood and the abortion lobby do not speak on my behalf simply because I am a woman," she told LifeSiteNews. "I feel that this makes my participation [in the march] that much more imperative."

Wallace was "part of the Never Trump movement" but hopes he will "prove us wrong" by promoting a culture of life. She said she hopes the new administration will "continue to support diverting federal funding away from Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider, and sending it instead to the thousands of Federally Qualified Health Centers that provide low or no cost health care to millions of patients every year."

"Prepare for the worst, but hope for the best," said Herndon-De La Rosa.

"We are hoping that, despite differences during the campaign, pro-lifers from all views can come together to make abortion unthinkable," said Hendrickson. "This is our moment, right now. Planned Parenthood is on their heels, still reeling from the Center for Medical Progress videos and having been referred for criminal prosecution by both the House and the Senate. Millennials are trending more anti-abortion than previous generations. This is a generation that believes in social justice and helping others, which we see every day on college campuses from our pro-life students."

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