The “Women’s March on Washington” took place this last Saturday. Though the main event was in Washington D.C., the march’s website says that 673 sister marches took place around the world, with millions of participants in total.
One point of conflict among pro-lifers and Catholics in general has been whether the Women’s March was pro-abortion or not.
“This was not a pro-abortion anti-life march,” one commenter said of the march on Facebook. “This was to protest Trump and his gang and the politicians that are attacking our rights and undermining our United States.”
“If you think today’s marches were about abortion,” said another, “you’re mistaken.” Many others have echoed these sentiments.
While individual participants may have viewed their own participation this way, as either neutral on abortion or as pro-life, one thing is clear: the organizers of the march were explicit that the march was pro-abortion and the event itself celebrated abortion.
The purpose of the Women’s March was not hidden or vague; the event’s website has a page explaining the purpose of the event. While several issues are listed, the promotion of abortion is clearly stated. Under the title “Reproductive Rights,” it reads:
“We believe in Reproductive Freedom. We do not accept any federal, state or local rollbacks, cuts or restrictions on our ability to access quality reproductive healthcare services, birth control, HIV/AIDS care and prevention, or medically accurate sexuality education. This means open access to safe, legal, affordable abortion and birth control for all people, regardless of income, location or education.”
Notice that the march was also pro-contraception, the use of which the Catholic Church teaches is gravely immoral.
The march also identified itself as in support of “LGBTQIA Rights,” saying they hoped to “uplift, expand and protect the rights of our gay, lesbian, bi, queer, trans or gender non-conforming brothers, sisters and siblings. We must have the power to control our bodies and be free from gender norms, expectations and stereotypes.”
Nonetheless, the pro-life group New Wave Feminists sought to make their voices heard as well and signed on to be a march partner.
However, after word got out that a pro-life organization was a partner of the event, there was a backlash. For example, self-described “feminist author” Jessica Valenti wrote on Twitter:
“Horrified that the @womensmarch has partnered w/an anti-choice org. Plse reconsider – inclusivity is not about bolstering those who harm us.”
She later added: “We need to stop the myth that feminism is simply ‘anything a woman does.’ Feminism is a movement for justice – abortion access is central.”
Later that day, the Women’s March officially removed the pro-life group as a partner and issued this statement:
“The Women’s March’s platform is pro-choice and that has been our stance from day one. We want to assure all of our partners, as well as participants, that we are pro-choice as clearly stated in our Unity Principles. We look forward to marching on behalf of individuals who share the view that women deserve the right to make their own reproductive decisions. The anti-choice organization in question is not a partner of the Women’s March on Washington. We apologize for this error.”
The remaining sponsors and partners listed on their website fit their pro-abortion viewpoint. Planned Parenthood is listed as the biggest sponsor of the event, with pro-abortion organizations Emily’s List and NARAL Pro-Choice America listed as “Social Justice Partners.”
Their list of partners also includes groups like #VOTEPROCHOICE, National Abortion Federation, and Catholics for Choice. (Note that they also had partners like Free the Nipple, GLAAD, and Transgender Law Center.)
Their speakers were also pro-abortion. Cecil Richards (president of Planned Parenthood) and Gloria Steinem (pro-choice activist) both spoke.
One speaker, Kierra Johnson, who leads the pro-choice organization URGE and was introduced by Richards, even wore a shirt covered with the word “abortion” and hearts. She proclaimed she was “unapologetically abortion positive” and received a loud cheer from the crowd.
Some pro-lifers and Catholics may have chosen to still participate in the march for various reasons, e.g. because they agreed with some of the other purposes of the march (e.g. to end violence against women, standing up for the rights of those with disabilities, etc), or because they wanted to be a countervailing witness to those present.
But there should be no doubt that the Women’s March was officially pro-abortion and celebrated abortion at the event.
[See also: 5 Feminist Pioneers Who Were Against Abortion]