“Feminism is dead. The movement is absolutely dead. There’s no room for dissent.” — Camille Paglia
The Women’s March on Washington scheduled this Saturday at our nation’s capitol is a kind of feminist response to the inauguration of Donald Trump and a precursor to the Right to Life March, which is the following Friday.
The march’s website claims their mission is to “stand together in solidarity with our partners and children for the protection of our rights, our safety, our health, and our families” and their goal is to send a message to the new administration that “women’s rights are human rights.” Except, as this article at The Atlantic inadvertently fished out, rights for all the unborn babies.
Like the prevailing mindset behind the ideology of the modern feminist movement, which seeks to repress the rights of many while claiming to expand the rights of women, the Women’s March is no more truly feminist than it is protective of families’ rights.
Can a Woman’s March Be Pro-Life?
In her report at The Atlantic, Emma Green writes “the pro-life movement is changing” and “[p]erhaps 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.”
As proof, Green quoted the founder and president of New Wave Feminists, Destiny Herndon-De La Rosa, because the organization bills itself as both feminist and pro-life. When I spoke to Herndon-De La Rosa Monday evening, she confirmed as of 10 a.m. that morning New Wave Feminists had been listed on the Women’s March website as partners. After she filled out the requisite form, a response from the Women’s March described how thrilled they were to partner with her organization. Until they found out New Wave Feminists are pro-life.
Feminists weren’t happy to see such a partnership. Columnist and ardent feminist Jessica Valenti called the group out and tweeted:
Horrified that the @womensmarch has partnered w/an anti-choice org. Plse reconsider – inclusivity is not about bolstering those who harm us.
— Jessica Valenti (@JessicaValenti) January 16, 2017
Curiously but not unsurprisingly, several hours later the Women’s March on Washington sent a press release stating “we are pro-choice” and always had been, and the “anti-choice organization in question is not a partner.”
Our statement regarding press today: pic.twitter.com/z1y9cfFFvY
— Women's March (@womensmarch) January 16, 2017
Rights for Some, Not for All
The press release was news to Herndon-De La Rosa as it was to anyone else. When I spoke with her, she had not heard from the Women’s March about this decision.
“When I received the response saying they were thrilled to partner with us, I assumed they had vetted us. I was clear that our group was pro-life, although we also stand for many other women’s issues, such as violence against women,” she said. Unlike many pro-life advocates, she doesn’t even want to make abortion illegal. “I want to make it such an abhorrent thought that it doesn’t happen. We want to create a culture of life.”
After calling out the Women’s March for including the “anti-choice” organization in the first place, Valenti tweeted:
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
Here is the crux of where Valenti, the Women’s March, and modern feminism as an ideology fail to make a compelling case for their own movement. This is a march touting themselves as a group that aims to protect families’ rights but refuses, even eradicates a partnership with, a group that also wants to protect families’ rights.
When it first began, feminism was a movement for justice. The fact that women were unable to vote was an injustice that took decades to reform. The first wave of feminism granted rights to women to add to society, to contribute in a way that made it better. Unfortunately, modern feminism and their rabid, illogical, unscientific support of abortion is one of the many aspects that has dragged the movement down.
Whereas decades ago dissent among feminists was encouraged, even common, now it’s discouraged, even silenced. Nothing has so clearly demonstrated this as a march supporting women’s rights banishing another women’s rights group just because they are pro-life. This reinforces the myth that abortion, as Valenti said, needs to be “central” to feminism.
As Herndon-De La Rosa, who still plans on marching with a group of supporters from New Wave Feminists, told me, the message the march sent with this decision is: “This is a pro-abortion march, not a march about women. Basically the March for Women is saying, ‘Women can be whatever they want to be—except pro-life.’”
Herein lies the rub: If women’s rights are human rights, aren’t babies’ rights human rights, too? And who best to fight for tiny humans than the women who carry them? True first-wave feminists became outraged over injustice and spawned a movement over inequality. Yet the feminists of today are outraged over quibbles and pro-life groups, and attempt to spin a fledgling movement based on excluding some from the rights they claim to support.