The March for Life and the Women’s March: Can we walk on Common Ground?
January 13, 2017 | Published first in Crux
At first glance, it might seem that the thousands of women who will descend on Washington, D.C., for the Women’s March on January 21 and the thousands of women who will travel there on January 27 for the 44th March for Life (the largest annual pro-life event in the world) wouldn’t have much in common.
After all, the Women’s March counts the nation’s largest abortion providers, Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice America as its partners. Its goal is to protest the election of Donald J. Trump.
In this very moment, thousands of attendees are busily knitting “pussy hats” (yes, you read that correctly) to wear to the Women’s March, in order to “reclaim” this reference to the female sexual organs as a “means of empowerment.”
And yet. The stated goal of the March for Life is “a world where every human life is valued and protected.”
The vision statement (summarized here) of the Women’s March pledges a commitment to nonviolent solutions, noting that there is “no true peace without justice and equity for all.”
Furthermore, even though the women who are organizing the Women’s March had only two months to put their event together, they have created a diverse, enthusiastic and eager community.
Pro-life women can work with that. Over the past nearly 50 years, hundreds of thousands of women have participated in the March for Life, because they too oppose violence as a solution to problems.
They march to witness against not only the act of abortion itself – the destruction of another person – but also its violence against women and the common good.
Note Kermit Gosnell, the abortion provider now serving a life sentence for violence against women and children so horrific some jurors in his trial said they would need counseling. Note the cavalier attitudes of Planned Parenthood’s doctors as they casually discuss the post-abortion sale of the human remains.
Women in the pro-life movement yearn for a world where the law treats all people, but especially the most vulnerable, with the same respect and protection.
It is the pro-life March that calls for a radical inclusion of everyone, extending care and concern to those waiting to be born, and to their mothers who sometimes find themselves in difficult circumstances.
As St. John Paul II pointed out, being pro-life requires “radical solidarity with the woman – it is not right to leave her alone.”
The pro-life community has stepped up to the plate, providing housing, medical care and most of all, emotional and spiritual support to women facing pregnancies alone. This same community also offers those who have been involved in abortion with the compassion and care they need, never dismissing the procedure as inconsequential (as actress/activist Lena Dunham did last month when she remarked that she wished she’d had one!).
It’s interesting that both the Women’s March on Washington and the March for Life were founded by – and are run by – women. It is part of the “feminine genius” to see a problem and bring in others to help solve it.
While it might seem to the casual observer that participants in the Women’s March on Washington don’t have much in common with the March for Life, it’s almost too bad we won’t be there at the same time. I think we’d have a lot to talk about.
Mary Hallan FioRito is an attorney, the Cardinal Francis George Visiting Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C. and a representative of WomenSpeakforThemselves.com.