WASHINGTON — The pro-life feminist organization New Wave Feminists has been removed from the official list of sponsors of the “Women’s March on Washington 2017.” Support of abortion as a fundamental principle of the upcoming January march has been cited as grounds.
“I can only assume it’s because there was a lot of pressure not to affiliate with pro-lifers, which is unfortunate,” Destiny Herndon-De La Rosa, president of New Wave Feminists, said about the decision.
In a Jan. 16 video statement on Facebook, Herndon-De La Rosa explained that the group had been removed, speculating it was because of negative media backlash after an article on their participation appeared in The Atlantic. The feminist protest had previously listed New Wave Feminists as a partner, but by Monday afternoon, it had removed links to the Texan pro-life group from the event’s website.
Earlier that day, The Atlantic featured a piece on pro-life participants in the Women’s March on Washington, highlighting New Wave Feminists as well as several other pro-life groups’ decision to participate in the march. The pro-life organization’s decision attracted attention after the Women’s March released a list of guiding principles in early January, which included “open access to safe, legal, affordable abortion and birth control for all people.”
According to The Atlantic, organizers do not see the march specifically as an anti-Trump protest. But the date of the protest, the day after Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration, is meant to “send a bold message,” Women’s March co-chair, Bob Bland, told The Atlantic. Bland continued, saying the march is meant to support a wide variety of people, but particularly those criticized during the 2016 election cycle. “We’re marching to say that we support them and all women,” Bland told The Atlantic.
The march is expected to draw between several thousand to as many as several hundred thousand participants from around the country.
More than 100 organizations, including pro-abortion organizations such as Planned Parenthood, have applied for “partnership” in supporting the march.
Bland told The Atlantic that including Planned Parenthood “was a no-brainer for us” because of its support of the Affordable Care Act. Furthermore, Bland stated, “one of the challenges facing women in this incoming administration is access to reproductive care.”
Before rescinding New Wave Feminists’ partnership, Bland told The Atlantic that women of all beliefs and backgrounds were welcome, particularly “voices that have previously been either marginalized or silenced,” telling the publication that the intersectional nature of the event and inclusion of different perspectives on feminism were valuable to the “future” of the feminist movement. “We must not just talk about feminism as one issue, like access to reproductive care.”
After revoking New Wave Feminists’ partnership, the Women’s March issued a statement saying that the event it pro-abortion and that the organizers “look forward to marching on behalf of individuals who share the view that women have the right to make their own reproductive choices.”
“The anti-choice organization in question is not a partner of the Women’s March on Washington. We apologize for this error,” the statement added.
The removal of New Wave Feminist’s partnership status, while disappointing, Herndon-De La Rosa said the Women’s March’s decision does not change either their pro-life beliefs or their identification as feminists, or their plans: “We will be there whether we are official partners or not.”