Group marches for rights of 'pre-born women,' women exploited by abortion

IMAGE: CNS photo/Bob Roller

By Julie Asher

College senior Colleen McCrum stood with fellow pro-lifers in front of the
steps of the U.S. Supreme Court early Jan. 21 holding a sign that said, “PROLIFE,

McCrum, 21, who attends
Christendom College, a Catholic school in Front Royal, Virginia, joined a group
organized by Students for Life of America to participate in the Women’s March
on Washington.

The pro-life organization
was shut out of being an official sponsoring partner for the giant march, but the
group’s leaders said nothing prevented them from taking part and marching on
behalf of women exploited by abortion and for the rights of “pre-born women.”

President Donald J. Trump
“has made a lot of promises to the pro-life movement and I want to hold him to
his promises,” McCrum told Catholic News Service. She also felt it was
important to have the pro-life presence at the march because she feels the
media makes it look like there are more “pro-choice people” out there than
there are.

Mary Solitario, 21, a
classmate of McCrum from Christendom College, told CNS it was upsetting
pro-life groups were not officially recognized by march organizers. She said
she wanted to join the march to show solidarity with women.

“All of us are for
women’s rights and human rights,” she added, holding a sign that said: “Defending
the most marginalized is defending ALL of us.” Under an outline of a pregnant
woman were the words #ProtectThemBoth. Pro-Woman Pro-Life.”

Students for Life of
America officials said what was billed as an inclusive march ended up having a “radical
abortion agenda” once Planned Parenthood signed on as a key partner in late
December and “bulldozed” over pro-life groups that wanted to be partners.

“We were ignored. Our application
(to be a partner) was ignored completely. Other pro-life groups were kicked out as partners,” said Michele
Hendrickson, Eastern regional director of the Virginia-based Students for Life
of America. “Pro-life is pro-woman. … What was originally portrayed as
inclusive is excluding pro-life.”

Texas-based New Wave Feminists was initially accepted as a march sponsor
then rejected; its members still marched in Washington. Another group snubbed
by march organizers was And Then There Were None, a nonprofit organization that
helps abortion clinic workers leave the abortion industry.

Organizers of the huge march,
which drew an estimated 500,000 participants to Washington, said the purpose of
the event was “to promote women’s equality and defend other marginalized
groups.” Among many issues highlighted were immigration, education, equal pay,
women’s health care and “reproductive rights.” Marches were held simultaneously
in New York, Boston, Atlanta, Denver, Los Angeles, Phoenix, in St. Paul, Minnesota,
and Key West, Florida, and in several cities around the world.

In Washington, thousands of the marchers
wore pink, magenta or rainbow-colored hats and most carried signs. Some read: “Orange
is the New Quack,” apparently a reference to Trump’s hair color; “Keep Your God
Out of my Bod”; “I Can Nazi How His Cabinet Picks Are Smart”; “Girls Just Want
to Have Fun-Da-Mental Rights”; and “Respect Existence or Expect Resistance.”

Kristan Hawkins,
president of Students for Life, told CNS she reached out to the march
organizers about applying to be a march sponsor and they never responded, as Hendrickson indicated. Hawkins
said the abortion industry has “taken over any discussion of women’s rights.”

“Pre-born women’s rights
are human rights. Their voice counts, our voice counts,” she added.

As the pro-life group
gathered near the steps prior to the big march, Hawkins used a bullhorn to
highlight their message to people heading to join the throngs of marchers: “Abortion
betrays women. Women deserve better. Abortion betrays women. Women deserve
better,” she chanted.

Her comments prompted a
few expletives from march participants as they walked passed the court toward
the U.S. Capitol to join the huge march. Marchers went around the U.S. Capitol to
Independence Avenue and on to the National Mall, where later in the day they
heard a lineup of celebrity and other speakers, who included singer Madonna and
actresses Scarlett Johansson and Ashley Judd.

As the start of the big
march drew near, Hendrickson had some words of caution for the pro-lifers who
were carrying their own signs and banners. “They have excluded our voices at
this inclusive march. By taking a radical abortion stance, they are excluding
women in the womb,” she told them. “We’re here to take a stand against that. ‘
They’re not going to like our message today.”

She urged the pro-lifers
to check their emotions and not be silent, but not to yell back at anyone who
shouted at them.

At another march location
members of the New Wave Feminists were gathered. That group’s Destiny
Herndon-De La Rosa told CNS they were prepared for confrontation “and instead
were supported by so many women.” “They kept coming up and telling us
how glad they were that we were there and how, even though they didn’t
necessarily agree on the abortion issue, they thought it wrong that we were
removed as partners,” she said.

The Students for Life
group did not receive the same kind of welcome. A video posted later in the day
to the organization’s Facebook page shows marchers taunting some of the pro-lifers and ripping up their signs, which read: “Abortion Betrays Women.”

– – –

Follow Asher on Twitter: @jlasher.


– – –

Copyright © 2017 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at

Original Article