Woman Enough to March?

On November 2, 2016 I joined Pantsuit Nation, an online community of Hillary supporters.  The group, now almost four million strong, comprised people of many different backgrounds and beliefs, united by our support of Hillary and fear of a Trump presidency.

I posted an introduction after joining, which you can read here.  And I was overwhelmed and overjoyed by the welcome I received.  Over 3,600 people liked my post, and there were 412 comments.  Many people asked for permission to share what I had said elsewhere.  I was showered with love and affirmation, not only from fellow pro-life Catholics but from people of every imaginable ideological stripe, including many, many pro-choice women.  After a year of feeling adrift and alone, it was a heady sensation.

Too bad it didn’t last.

It turned out that without Hillary to hold us together this great movement of women is breaking down along tired and predictable lines, and those of us who are both pro-life and progressive are left out in the cold once more.  The New Wave Feminists, erstwhile official partners of the upcoming Women’s March on Washington, are now officially NOT.  Pantsuit Nation now overflows with post after post of women sharing their positive experience with abortion.

I felt this backlash coming and it’s one reason I’ve mostly only lurked on the pages of the state and local offshoots of Pantsuit Nation.  I’m so tired of being marginalized for one reason or another.  I am sick at heart over the notion that there is only one kind of feminist–our pro-life feminist foremothers be damned!–that the right to unlimited abortion apparently trumps all and that some of us are not woman enough to participate in a Women’s March!  As I posted on Facebook, “It’s like you are not an actual woman if you are not pro-choice.”

Rebecca Bratton Weiss makes an excellent case for why the feminist movement needs to embrace pro-life feminists.  This resonated with me especially:  “We have risked personal and professional relationships in our staunch opposition to Donald Trump, our refusal to accept him as representative of anything remotely pro-life. I personally lost a business associate when I spoke out against his boasts of sexual assault, and the latent misogyny in those who dismissed this as ‘locker room talk.’ I’ve been spied on and screen-shotted by right-wingers who seem more interested in controlling women than in saving lives.

I, too, was attacked for my constant opposition to Donald Trump.  As I wrote days before the election:  “Already today I’ve received tweets hashtagged hypocrite, babykiller, and cafeteriaCatholic.  It’s just another day in an election season during which I’ve been unfriended by an actual family member, deemed excommunicated by the friend of a friend, and attacked in a public Facebook post by someone I thought was a friend, all because I shared political articles that they didn’t agree with.

Alice Paul, author of the original Equal Rights Amendment, said that abortion is “the ultimate exploitation of women.”  For pro-life feminists who risked a lot to vote for and publicly support Hillary, it’s adding insult to injury to not only end up with Trump as President but also to be sidelined by those who should accept us as allies.

Note:  I am happy to report that the Knoxville Women’s March has chosen not to officially adopt the national march’s platform and is aiming for an event that is unifying and non-partisan.

0 thoughts on “Woman Enough to March?

  1. pwcamy

    Alice Paul, author of the original Equal Rights Amendment, said that abortion is “the ultimate exploitation of women.” This is why I could not support Hillary – she was so supportive of abortion. I pray she has a change of heart. The fact that Pro-life women are NOT welcome on a Woman’s march is ridiculous – and will probably (and hopefully) gain those of us who are Pro-Life Women more respect. This is a topic that is very close to my heart. I can only read so much about it – because I try to stay positive and not be judgmental. I am sure you understand what I mean!

  2. I find politics all so confusing and overwhelming! I do my best to pray for our country, inform my conscience to the best of my ability, and leave the fighting to those who understand the system. Being very pro-life, it’s disturbing to me when people think I’m anti-woman… I AM a woman, soo….??? So frustrating!

  3. everydaythoughtsbybrittany

    I’ll be honest, when it comes to the political arena we disagree on a lot, however, I continue to read your blog. I will continue to support you as a woman and a human being. I’ve found the partisanship, the separation, the marginalization, and the stereotypes surrounding this election disgraceful. We are all children of God, with free will, and we all deserve respect regardless of our differences. I’m sorry you feel sidelined by those who once embraced you. I find it so encouraging that regardless, you continue to hold strong to your convictions as a voter, feminist, pro-lifer and Hillary supporter.

  4. I am not marching, but admire those who do march for their beliefs. Feminism is not a one size fits all label- it is much murkier than that. I supported Hillary and joined Pantsuit nation, but left due to the overwhelming number of posts. I want equality for women, but am anti-abortion. My protest is through intelligent conversations, and sometimes, through writing. It would be nice if marching changed things, but I have a limited belief that it can. I find myself advocating against Betsy Devoss these days- my way of protesting.

  5. Beth Carroll Hunley

    Leslie, as your mother, I want to say once more how proud I am of you for standing up so strongly for your beliefs and for standing so strong for the rights of all human beings, and for going to such depth to express you views with fairness and acceptance of others with different views. You have such a deep understanding of the common humanity of all people. I was at the March on Saturday, and when I saw you, my first born daughter, and Emily, my first born granddaughter, my heart swelled as you marched by in solidarity with the women of our community for the rights and dignity of all.

  6. I am an outsider looking on so the emotional stress does not affect me so much. It seems to me the sexual abuse that Trump is accused of pales beside the abuse that has gone on in the Clinton household while they help office in the Whitehouse. Just before the election, I saw Hilary hinting toward not just abortion that she wholeheartedly supports but also full term abortion. How could anyone who has held a newborn baby vote for that? It seems that many of you are between a rock and a hard place. I wish the US well, and will I wait and see what your new President is really like.

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