WASHINGTON — Pro-abortion messages were common Saturday, Jan. 21, as activists inundated the city for the “Women’s March on Washington 2017.”
But pro-life marchers were not hard to find in the mix, including those who took offense to the removal of New Wave Feminists from the official list of event sponsors and the abundance of signs and shirts emphasizing abortion rights.
Pro-lifers interviewed by the Register were there to make clear that feminism should not be about killing the unborn. They were there to emphasize how abortion disproportionately threatens the lives of girls in many cultures around the world.
Corrine Muldoon McKinney, a 70-year-old social worker from Finger Lakes, New York, slowly worked her way to the march with the help of a walker. She last marched in Washington 45 years ago, in opposition to the Vietnam War. She loves fighting for women and social justice. Doing so, she told the Register, includes opposing abortion.
“I just passed a sign back there [on Capitol Hill] that said, ‘We’re killing unborn women.’ You know, that’s exactly true,” she said. “We need to stop killing babies. We need to stop killing girl babies and boy babies.”
McKinney, a parishioner of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Canandaigua, Rhode Island, said she would unapologetically defend babies against abortion, regardless of what other marchers thought about it.
“This is America,” McKinney said. “Why would you disavow any woman or feminist organization for opposing abortion? That is a form of bigotry, and bigotry is what we are supposedly here to oppose. I’m afraid Planned Parenthood has a little too much influence over what is supposed to be a march in favor of women.”
McKinney had two children late in life. Though her Catholic faith has always led her to oppose abortion, pregnancy strengthened her pro-life resolve.
“I felt each of my babies flutter,” she said. “It was like in the Bible: When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby jumped (leaped) in her womb (Luke 1:41). I experienced that. I don’t know how any woman who has experience the flutter of an unborn baby could then kill a baby. We can’t kill babies. All babies are beautiful, regardless of color, condition or disability.”
McKinney said she would like to participate in the Jan. 27 March for Life in Washington, if she can afford another trip.
Eccentric Pro-Life Catholics
As McKinney spoke to the Register, she gave the thumbs-up to a trio of three participants in the march who walked by her wearing overtly Catholic garb.
Anne Armstrong marched with fellow members of The Healing Church in Rhode Island, which is known for advocating for the use of marijuana to treat “those in need of physical and/or spiritual healing,” including post-traumatic stress syndrome associated with participation in abortion. The three looked like throwbacks to the ’60s, dressed in long gowns and playing musical ox horns.
“We’re here to tell people no matter what they have done, their mother still loves them, and it’s not too late for them to turn it around,” Armstrong said.
Alan Gordon, of The Healing Church, said his group supports better access to health care and the “sharing” of health care.
“But the killing of a human being with a soul is not legitimate health care, so we cannot support federal funding or even private funding for the killing of people,” Gordon said. “It’s unchristian.”
The group’s gowns were emblazoned with Our Lady of Guadalupe.
“I’ve participated in abortion,” said Gordon, 47, who says he is the canon of The Healing Church. “I am a serial killer. I have taken friends to abortion clinics, and I have killed my own children.”
Gordon said he participated in abortions in his 30s and long ago repented and begged forgiveness of God in the confessional, after undergoing therapy that included prayer, Scripture readings and what he calls “responsible, Catholic use of marijuana.”
“God might forgive me (for the abortions), but the children might not,” Gordon said. “Should I be so fortunate that I could get to a place I could ask their forgiveness, that’s kind of up to them whether I receive it. Now all I can do is try to stop others from putting themselves in my shoes, and that’s why I’m here.”
Members of The Healing Church said their pro-life message had been accepted by most other marchers, in part because of their non-traditional appearance.
“The others seem to see our inherent feminism, and they are on our side,” Gordon said.
Outnumbered by Pro-Abortion Marchers
Karen Ganzert, who traveled to the march from Connecticut, marched with her daughter and a friend to advocate equal pay for equal work. She opposes abortion.
“This young woman is my daughter,” she said, introducing the Register to 16-year-old Mariah Ganzert. “I’m very glad she is here, and I can’t imagine ever having taken her life for any reason.”
Though pro-life activists were not uncommon among marchers, they were outnumbered by men and women with signs boldly advocating abortion.
Deshon Hamilton, who lives in the District, stood outside Union Station selling pink shirts that said, “My Body, My Choice; Her Body, Her Choice.” A variety of hats, t-shirts, signs and other marketing products contained pro-abortion messages too vulgar to publish.
“Look, abortion is a hard decision to make,” Hamilton said. “I don’t think they should allow anti-abortion protesters to march. Like I said, abortion is a tough decision, and people should not have to be harassed by anyone for making it.”
But for Corrine Muldoon McKinney, nothing about defending the unborn should be considered harassment. It is, she said, fundamental to defending the rights of women and girls.
Wayne Laugesen filed this report from Washington.