Abortion advocates are attempting to hijack the entire concept of feminism. We can't let that happen.
The Women’s March on Washington, slated for this Saturday, has called for “all defenders of human rights” to “join in diversity” and advocate “our multiple and intersecting identities.” The event will march through the nation’s capital to show that “our vibrant and diverse communities are the strength of our country.”
There’s just one little caveat. “All defenders of human rights” actually means only those who defend a woman’s right to choose abortion. “Diversity” doesn’t mean diversity of beliefs regarding life. And “multiple and intersecting identities” doesn’t include anyone who identifies as a pro-life feminist.
At least, that’s the message that the Women’s March is sending with their latest announcement, which has booted the pro-life non-profit New Wave Feminists from its list of partners.
Pro-Life Feminists Welcome! Wait, Never mind.
It happened on Monday after The Atlantic published an article about pro-life women who intend to join the march. “Is there room in the movement for people who morally object to abortion?” the subtitle asked.
The article quoted Women’s March co-chair Bob Bland: “Intersectional feminism is the future of feminism and of this movement. We must not just talk about feminism as one issue, like access to reproductive care.”
But open-mindedness toward feminists who also happen to be pro-life didn’t sit well with some on Twitter.
Author Roxane Gay suggested that the idea of a pro-life feminist — someone who stands for women’s equality and also for the human dignity of the unborn — isn’t possible. She tweeted, “Intersectional feminism does not include a pro-life agenda. That’s not how it works! The right to choose is a fundamental part of feminism.”
Intersectional feminism does not include a pro-life agenda. That's not how it works! The right to choose is a fundamental part of feminism.
— roxane gay (@rgay) January 16, 2017
Guardian columnist Jessica Valenti tweeted that she was “horrified” to hear that the march had partnered with New Wave Feminists.
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
She followed that up saying, “We need to stop the myth that feminism is simply ‘anything a woman does.’ Feminism is a movement for justice — abortion access is central.”
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
Within hours, the Women’s March tweeted a statement calling the partnership with New Wave Feminists an “error.”
Our statement regarding press today: pic.twitter.com/z1y9cfFFvY
— Women's March (@womensmarch) January 16, 2017
“The Women’s March’s platform is pro-choice and that has been our stance from day one,” the statement said. “We look forward to marching on behalf of individuals who share the view that women deserve the right to make their own reproductive choices.”
Their Responses Are Revealing
There are specific parts of two of these tweets that are worth honing in on, as they reveal particularly deep flaws with modern mainstream feminism.
The first is Valenti’s tweet attacking the “myth that feminism is simply ‘anything a woman does.'”
According to Valenti, there is now a liberal standard for who qualifies as a feminist — and women who use their own brains and hearts to conclude for themselves that abortion is wrong don’t deserve that title.
The direct implications of this statement are extremely troubling. Because actually, that’s exactly what feminism is, right? Isn’t the point of feminism for a women be whatever she wants to be and do whatever she wants to do with her life? That’s why women who choose to quit their jobs and home school their children or travel the world should receive the same praise and respect as women who climb the corporate ladder, right?
There are many women who adhere to this line of thinking who also believe — for religious, personal, scientific or other reasons — that life inside the womb deserves the same rights as life outside the womb, and that it should be illegal to end that life with abortion.
But according to Valenti, there is now a liberal standard for who qualifies as a feminist — and women who use their own brains and hearts to conclude for themselves that abortion is wrong don’t deserve that title. What other kinds of women, because of their personal beliefs and life choices, don’t deserve the title of “feminist” in Valenti’s estimation?
The second response worth examining is the Women’s March’s official statement — particularly this sentence, in response to outrage such as Valenti’s:
We look forward to marching on behalf of individuals who share the view that women deserve the right to make their own reproductive decisions.
There you have it. For all their talk of “diversity,” “intersecting identities” and “solidarity,” the event leaders have publicly admitted that they’re really only marching on behalf of those with the exact same political preferences. This despite the fact that earlier that day, Bland was quoted in The Atlantic as saying that “We’ve had some really interesting discussions with conservative folks and folks who identify as pro-life.” This despite the fact that, as The Atlantic pointed out, many pro-life feminists share with the Women’s March concerns over “cultural misogyny, the state of education and health care, and a desire for their own daughters to be able to lead.”
Don’t Cave to the Left’s Attempt to Redefine Feminism
The New Wave Feminists still plan to march on Saturday, despite the public snub. Unlike the Women’s March on Washington, they are determined to stick to their convictions and carry out their plan, regardless of those who disagree (on Twitter or elsewhere).
In a Facebook post on Monday, the non-profit responded to the Women’s March’s backtracking with a video of the Boyz II Men song “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday,” writing, “we understand not everyone’s strong enough to stand up to the haters.”
Others who consider themselves to be pro-life and feminist should follow New Wave Feminists’ lead. Not necessarily by supporting the march on Saturday — other pro-life groups like Students for Life of America will be protesting the march since organizations like Planned Parenthood are official partners — but by refusing to let people like Valenti control the narrative.
Many on the Left are attempting to hijack a term and coin for it a new definition that strictly represents their own interests.
While the words of Valenti, Gay and others who tweeted their outrage over the concept of pro-life feminism are troubling, they will only have as much power as they are granted. They, along with many on the Left, are attempting to hijack a term and coin for it a new definition that strictly represents their own interests. Conservatives have let this happen for too long.
To me and to the Oxford English Dictionary, “feminism” means “the advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes.” And that equality extends to those who haven’t yet been born. As New Wave Feminists posted on Facebook, “Women are never property, even in the womb.”