Pro-Choice Recast As Pro-Life
It was a march for women's lives. And it was wildly successful — hundreds of thousands of people were willing to march for women's lives.
Only a fraction of that number have ever marched for abortion.
The Washington Post said the march's leaders deliberately took the focus off abortion in order to get as many participants as possible.
“Organizers sought to transcend the polarizing issue of abortion,” the paper reported, “portraying the event as the work of a coalition of groups that want to improve women's access to reproductive education and health care worldwide.”
“Many people defined their own agendas,” it said, then asked some women in the crowd what they were marching for.
The paper quoted a 53-year-old activist saying what she was marching for: “I want ‘pro-choice, pro-child.’” The paper said she was busy trying to modify the sign she'd been given so it would have a pro-child statement.
Another activist, a 27-year-old, said: “It's important to look past focusing on abortion rights. You have to put abortion in the context of women's reproductive freedom,” which she said included “reproductive education.” Organizers had at long last broadened the agenda, she said — and the people followed.
Women's lives. “Reproductive education.” Better health care. Odd, these are the same things pro-lifers were marching for that day.
Groups like Silent No More were on hand, women with heart-rending stories about how abortion was a dead end for them and the children they lost.
Feminists for Life, which promotes a full pro-woman agenda, was on hand with its signature message that women need health care support for their children — not just a brutal, easy answer like abortion to make their “problems” go away.
What about “reproductive education”?
Well, that was the big abortion story on the other side of the Atlantic. A documentary called “My Fetus” aired on British television a few days before the march. The half-hour program dared to do what no one has dared do in the United States: It showed an actual abortion.
The program showed an abortion by vacuum pump at a Marie Stopes clinic on a four-week pregnant woman. The remains of the aborted child were then put in a petri dish — abortion doctors have to do this in order to make sure they get all the body parts.
The show itself tried to pretty up abortion.
“Yes, an abortion was shown; but, for obvious presentational reasons, it was one carried out at four weeks' gestation — a point at which many women do not even realize they are pregnant,” said the Scottish Guardian newspaper. “When it came to showing babies aborted at nine, 12, 18 and 23 weeks — all unmistakably human infants — still photography was employed as the more discreet medium.”
Even though it was showing the most common surgical procedure performed on women under 40 — and even though it was presented with a pro-abortion slant — abortion advocates wanted to keep it off the air.
To this day, no such television presentation has been aired in the United States, though pro-life groups have asked that it be. Will the march organizers promote such a show in America in the interest of education? We doubt it.
At any rate, the massive weekend march is good news and bad news for the pro-life movement.
The bad news is, a pro-abortion march on Washington dwarfed the size of pro-life marches.
The good news is, it only did so by calling itself a march for life — not abortion.
For decades, pro-lifers felt the momentum would be forever against us, because we had lost the battle of the rhetoric. They wanted to talk about choice; we wanted to talk about lives. Well, at long last, the rhetorical battle is swinging our way.
But don't take it from us. Take it from yet another activist quoted in the Washington Post. She conceded that, yes, she supposed the march's main reason was abortion.
“It seems a pity that it comes down to this,” she said with a sigh.
The pro-life movement's next task is to answer her concern. We can help women in 1,000 ways. It doesn't have to come down to this.
- May 2-8, 2004