Where do I begin?
First of all I never believed I would be put in a position where anyone would actually listen to me. I mean, I don’t feel I’m doing anything that any normal person with a half a brain would do.
Let me tell you about my experiences at the Women’s March on Washington and The March for Life.
The WMoW was amazing. I felt out of place in a way because there was much going on around me that made my “ultra-conservative” roots shake its head. But then there was this absolute amazement that we all were so darn different and yet we could march in solidarity with each other. So many are living under the delusion that the WMoW was about abortion.
Let me make some things clear here. Yes, I marched with New Wave Feminists. Yes, we applied to be partners with the WMOW and were listed as a partner. Yes, they rescinded on that partnership once leaders within the feminist movement complained about it. Were we banned from marching? NO.
Indigenous tribes were marching to protect their land and for clean water, FLINT(without clean water for over 1000 days btw) trans lives, women’s healthcare, black lives, refugees, equal pay, and the list goes and on and on. Just a couple on this list should move you right?
Initially, I was a little nervous about pulling out our “I am a pro-life feminist” signs. Why? Because we were surrounded by Planned Parenthood supporters and I know that hurt comes packaged in anger. But you know what? We did it anyway. I had one person tell me that I didn’t exist and I kept smiling. I had many many women staring at me out of curiosity, I knew they wanted to talk to me but they hesitated. After a while of hanging with the rest of the pro-life advocates who maintain a consistent life ethic I decided to separate myself from the crew. I heard whispers… “those are the pro-lifers” ….”ugh, I don’t want to be anywhere near them”……As much as there seems to be safety in numbers I felt the only way I was going to actually engage with people was by maintaining a smile, a welcoming persona and separating myself a bit from the intimidating nature of a pro-life group.
This is when something amazing happened…..
A woman, who had been hanging near me for a while approached me. She looked like she had a very hard life, I rubbed her the wrong way and most of all she was pissed.
She asked me “What is this all about?” (meaning my sign). I then explained to her what we were all about. That we have much more in common than we do apart. That we believe in the consistent life ethic, that all people are valuable from the womb to the tomb. That we must first see to the needs of the mother (that being psychological, financial, physical, emotional etc). Once we see to these needs our hope is that they will choose life for their babies. She asked me if I believe in birth control. I said yes and did not get a chance to elaborate. She was still pissed. Btw I believe she was post-abortive. I continued and explained the Help Assist Her app. and ended by sharing that we are trying to make abortion unthinkable not illegal. That we must unpack the reasons why women choose to abort in the first place. We must change the culture. She paused then said……”I can get behind that” then walked off.
This was the highlight of my day. Nevermind hearing the legend Angela Davis speak, the heartfelt chants led by Janelle Monet leading the mothers of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown and Eric Garner. No, someone who had her guard up heard me and although we walk on two different paths of advocacy we found common ground. It’s that common ground that will change lives.
The March for Life
The MFL was great! I was surrounded by people who maintain the consistent life ethic that I am so passionate about. It was beautiful to see so many people that are passionate about the unborn and marching on their behalf. I feel I must make things clear before my words are twisted. These are my personal thoughts on the differences in the marches and my PERSONAL opinions on how I felt at each march. Please don’t pick me apart and please do not assume that whatever is written is about you.
I knew that when I went to the MFL that my goal was to engage. The march was great but in order for people to listen to you, you have to get to a place where they can hear you. I tried. It was hard. Between the police barricade and the lack of eye contact from the “other side” it was difficult. There was a moment where I felt like time stood still and I just cried. I was witnessing very large white men holding up a huge Students for Life(I give them cool points fo zeal but that’s it) banner squeezing in behind the protestors. From my vantage point it looked like they were bulldozing them. My internal thoughts where “how is this helping anyone?”. Same goes for all the aborted baby imagery. That was disgusting and shameful in my opinion.
I squeezed my way through their “wall” seeking to find someone from the “other side” to talk to. The only one I could safely speak with was a man who was boldly standing in front of them with his sign of opposition. He listened to me and he agreed with our message and in return he thanked me.
Now I say all of this because it’s clear I had two very different experiences and both were wonderful but I do strongly believe that if our pro-life brothers and sisters went in a direction of understanding the reasons why women choose abortion to begin with we would make some major steps toward change. Criminalizing women instead of meeting their needs will only add to the problem. Bulldozing hurting women to prove a point does nothing but infuriate them.
I’m thankful that Life Matters Journal granted me an opportunity to share my heart on the matter of intersectionality within the pro-life movement. If the pro-life movement wants to break through to the opposition then we must, let me repeat WE MUST recognize that to be pro-life we must first be human. Humans care about women and their ability to care for their families. Humans care about equality, humans care about the marginalized and humans care about the refugee crisis going on RIGHT NOW. We must get past the signs and the movement and feel the other person’s plight. Only then will there be a bridge built between two very different platforms. Until then all the opposition will see are pro-birthers who, bulldoze hurting women, force you to see aborted babies and don’t really care about the many additional lives that are affected by abortion.
So with all that said. I did have a better time at the WMoW because it was clearly intersectional. They may have held a pro-choice platform but I can work with that because when it’s all said and done, common ground is where change happens.
Last note, to all my pro-life advocates who are hitting the pavements and are doing what needs to be done in this movement….kudos to you. Just remember that on the outside all they see is the stereotype. You must work diligently to break it.