Not welcome but we came anyway

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When we heard about the Women’s March in Washington, DC back in November, we knew we wanted to go to be a voice for women betrayed by the abortion industry, for the most innocent and vulnerable preborn babies killed every day, and for the marginalized in our society that are overlooked because they have a disability.

Pro-Lifers Not Welcome

Originally the Women’s March never said a word about abortion on their website or Facebook page but instead promoted worthy goals of protecting women and families and defending those who couldn’t defend themselves, all in the spirit of unity, love and compassion – none of which we disagreed with! SFLA emailed the organizers multiple times in November and December trying to figure out a way to work together but never received an answer about sponsorship.

But then Planned Parenthood got their hooks into the march as it started growing in IMG_9324interest. Their sponsorship led to a total overhaul of the principles, changing the event website to proclaim support for “reproductive rights” (aka abortion rights) and explicitly stating they support abortion, the pro-choice agenda, and that there was no room for pro-life groups – kicking out a pro-life group they had originally accepted, and never returning multiple inquiries from SFLA to sponsor.

Even so, we were always going to attend. Who else would lend a voice to the pro-life position, to a position that many women – including Millennials – who hold the view that abortion is morally wrong, that it should be illegal in most circumstances? We needed to be there to speak the truth, to be witnesses to the travesty of abortion and the destruction the abortion industry causes to preborn babies, their mothers, and countless families.

So we went.

Supreme Court

Initially we gathered at the U.S. Supreme Court, holding ourIMG_9299 “abortion betrays women” signs and gathering our students together. We encountered some protestors but not many. Mainly, an older woman ranted on about free speech and the Supreme Court and petitioned others for hugs (she didn’t get many).

We then split up into groups: one went to the March to hand out signs, another went to the route to assemble our large banners and another went to try to get to the press risers for scheduled interviews (that group never got through the crowds).

Into the March

It was wall-to-wall people everywhere and very difficult to get where we wanted to be. But as we carried our signs through the throngs of people, some jeered at us and yelled “my body, my choice” but others thanked us for being there.

We think there were many more pro-life women in the crowd than anyone would let on – but why would they want to expose themselves to a hostile group of women who were anything but inclusive?IMG_9343

Since we had trouble getting anywhere, our team tried to reassemble along the march route to set up our banners. We wanted to be heard in this March of women who claimed love and sisterhood for everyone except anti-abortion women.

There were tons of people and many started marching before the official program ended with all the speakers. Since we were along the route, we decided to move to display our banners, which read “Abortion Betrays Women” and “We Don’t Need Planned Parenthood” – we had three banners total. They were big and needed five people each to hold them lengthwise.

Leading the March

The front of the March was 200 feet away when we unfurled the banners and ran out in front of the March to lead it – we were leading the march! There was no violence. We weren’t laying down in the street or blocking the March. We were walking and we were leading with our message that women deserve better than abortion. Video here!

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It didn’t last too long because once the marchers discovered our apparently hateful speech, they ran ahead of our banners. Some walked directly in front of them, trying to block them from view. Others pulled up strollers with their small children in front of our banners. Other women pushed the women who were holding the banners, trying to loosen their grip.

Harassed and Spit Upon

As the March turned the corner, we moved to position our banners on the curve of the road so the marchers could see our messages. That’s when many marchers started screaming at us. Two girls were vocal about them wanting to fight us. One person stood in front of us holding up her middle finger.IMG_9451

We said nothing. This was the welcome we were shown.

One of our banners was stolen by marchers so we moved the other two to the curb on the side of the march and hoisted one up on cardboard poles. Our students and team held smaller “abortion betrays women” signs and the marchers weren’t happy.

Volunteer marshals from the march had to form a barrier between the marchers and our banner because we were being harassed. People spit at us. Others ripped up our signs. Abby Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood director who now runs And Then There Were None and who is visibly pregnant with twins, was pushed by marchers.

Our Western Regional Director, Reagan Barklage, got video of people ripping up our signs.

It was brutal and disheartening but we stayed. We were able to have civil conversations with some participants of the March.IMG_9488

One group of young women who were holding opposing signs shouted at us “we still love you” and were full of smiles. They were a bright spot in the midst of such harsh conditions.

So what did we accomplish?

We went to be witnesses for women hurt by abortion and for the babies torn apart and callously discarded by the abortion industry. We went to show that there are anti-abortion women who don’t buy into the lies of Planned Parenthood, that you can be pro-life and pro-woman.

We were encouraged by some of the marchers yet jeered at by others – including many men ironically.IMG_9542

But we were successful in showing that the women’s march was really a pro-abortion march, a demonstration dead set against including women with any other opinions about abortion. The Women’s March wasn’t a march for women: it was a march only for select women who held a pro-abortion point of view.

Women – all women – deserve better than that.

Anna Allgaier, SFLA’s Great Lakes Regional Coordinator, was at the Women’s March with us yesterday and she summed it up perfectly:

I was in DC yesterday for the Women’s March. I’ve been thinking about what I IMG_9533would say since yesterday evening. I think all I want to say is that if yesterday’s march was about modern feminism, than I want no part of it. The Washington march was nothing for women to be proud of. It was the nastiest, most vulgar, hateful display of “resistance” that I have ever seen. I was shoved, spit on, and told that I “wasn’t welcome” as a woman standing up for the dignity of human life inside and outside of the womb. Yesterday’s demonstration was overwhelmingly sad and quite frankly embarrassing for American Women. The message on the Women’s March website ended with a battle cry: HEAR OUR VOICE. It’s hard for a women’s voice to be heard when it’s being stifled by fellow women. Participants marched under the banners of “unity” “tolerance” “love” and “kindness” while simultaneously stifling our voices through crudeness, hate, and exclusion. The irony and hypocrisy flowing through this march was striking. Pro-Life women were not welcome at the Women’s March- but we went anyway. We chanted anyway. We publicly rejected abortion anyway, and we stood up for equal human rights anyway.