Though snubbed by Women's March, pro-life groups will still participate

By Rhina Guidos

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Like many concerned about what Donald
Trump has said about women and his various and changing positions on abortion,
Destiny Herndon-De La Rosa decided she wanted to take part in the Jan. 21 Women’s
March on Washington, protesting the new president on the day after his
inauguration as the country’s 45th leader.

She and about 50 others from the New Wave Feminists, a pro-life
group against abortion, war, the death penalty and other issues, had planned to
join the crowd to make their voices heard and even wanted to be listed as
partners in the march’s official roster.

“We were going to send a message that we were going to be
holding Trump accountable,” Herndon-De La Rosa said in a Jan. 19 interview with
Catholic News Service.

While officials with the Women’s March, a conglomeration of
groups dealing with issues ranging from equal pay for women, against sex
discrimination and violence against women, said they would march to defend the
marginalized, Herndon-De La Rosa said her group felt marginalized after they were
accepted, then kicked off the roster of partner organizations, along with other
pro-life groups.

No one contacted them to give them the news, she said, but
they found out after a flurry of stories announced pro-life groups like hers
were taken off the roster as partners by officials. The groups And Then There
Were None and Students for Life of America also were denied or taken off the
Women’s March roster.

“We don’t want to be opposing the (Women’s March),”
Herndon-De La Rosa said. “We’re not trying to make them look bad.”

In fact, many members of her New Wave Feminists still plan
to participate in the event. Pro-life groups like hers still have
legitimate concerns, which they share with others who are marching, Herndon-De
La Rosa said.

Trump’s past, which includes periods in which he has said he
supports abortion, then says he doesn’t, makes the New Wave Feminists, based in Texas,
worry. They want to let him know they’ll be watching his position on abortion,
on the death penalty, on other issues involving war and violence, she said.

“Information leads us to be he truly doesn’t believe in the
value and dignity of all human beings,” Herndon-De La Rosa said.

The Women’s March website lists a “statement of Inclusivity”
and says it’s heard about some concerns others have voiced. “We seek to address these divisions and stand together in
the face of injustice,” it says. “Together, we will raise our voices in the service of all

In a news release, Students for Life of America president
Kristan Hawkins said that while she still plans to attend, organizers have a
ways to go when it comes to including all.

“They are excluding the majority of American women who find
abortion to be morally wrong and believe in protecting families, defending the
marginalized, and achieving social justice,” Hawkins said.

Abby Johnson and her group, And Then There
Were None, also said they would still attend.

“To silence our experiences is
detrimental to women and our rights,” she said in a statement issued late
Jan. 19.

The organization of former
abortion clinic workers “who can attest to the corruption of the abortion
industry” may be seen as “a direct threat” to several of the other march
partners, such Planned Parenthood, Johnson added. “But no matter what — we will be there on
Saturday morning, making sure that our voices are heard.”

Herndon-De La Rosa said that she can’t be too angry with
what happened. All the publicity has helped her group gain more members. She
has recently done interviews with the BBC, Rolling Stone magazine and other
major media outlets. It has helped advance the Texas-based group’s agenda about a
consistent life ethic, she said.

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Follow Guidos on Twitter: @CNS_Rhina.

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