This Sunday, hundreds of thousands of women across the country will storm the streets in the second annual March for Women. Last year, the first Women’s March took place the day after Donald Trump’s inauguration, in a display of wrath against the new Republican administration. This year’s march promises much of the same sentiment.
But all people who truly want to empower American women should turn their attention elsewhere, to an event that receives much less media acclaim: the March for Life, which will mark its 45th anniversary this morning on the National Mall. It is this march, not the Women’s, that presents a unified, pro-woman message, instead of a narrow agenda driven by identity politics.
The March for Women, in spite of its title, is defined not by what it stands for but by what it stands against — more specifically, who it’s against. It’s a direct response to the fact that millions of Americans elected Trump, and these women and their male allies are driven by animus against him, whom they view as the leader of an oppressive system that robs women of rights.
Maybe they’re correct, maybe not.
But a movement fueled primarily by what it’s against is not a movement that will last. The problems they lament existed long before Donald Trump, and yet there were no pink-knitted p***y hats marching en masse until his election. And while their concerns will outlast Trump, too, the Women’s March has already proven itself to be just another means by which the Left expresses the rage of the current moment. Its leadership and platform discourage broad cultural support. And, just one year into its existence, its internal fractures are already showing.
The March for Life, in contrast, has existed in exactly the same form and has gathered for exactly the same reason since it began, back in 1974. It was then and is now a witness to just one thing: the inherent dignity and value of human life. Defending that value is a mission open to every American, regardless of what other views he or she might hold.
Those who march for life are united around one goal: putting an end to the killing of unborn children. And, no matter their identities, they all have the same grievance: For the last half century, the U.S. government has enshrined a woman’s right to intentionally do away with her unborn child.
The Women’s March, meanwhile, explicitly defines itself not by any unified concept of life’s value but by a cobbled-together wish list for unrelated interest groups, wishes that can be granted only through increased government control. Those who participate in the March for Women show up, at least in part, because they want something — many things, in fact — for themselves and their political allies. Give us more.
Strikingly, those who participate in the March for Life ask for nothing for themselves. The change they wish to see won’t benefit them at all, at least not tangibly. They show up for those who cannot represent themselves. Give them more.
This contrast is obvious in the groups’ mission statements. The March for Life’s purpose is beautifully simple: “to provide all Americans with a place to testify to the beauty of life and the dignity of each human person.”
The Women’s March, though, puts forth unity principles that in fact illustrate the group’s internal incoherence. Far from representing the needs of all women, each of the many demands represents the disparate desires of special-interest groups that have been compressed under the umbrella of the broader progressive movement. They are principles of disunity, a laundry list of the radical Left’s increasingly expansive objectives.
The group offers a six-page statement of guidelines for participants that boils down to something like, “Give our coalition of unrelated minority groups more free stuff.” Their policy goals must be met, of course, by a massive state that advances progressive action items such as equal pay, a higher minimum wage, government-funded abortion on demand, unlimited immigration, “gender-responsive programming,” and an end to police brutality.
Maybe these issues are worth government attention, maybe they’re not. But they are surely not a serious representation of the needs of every American woman. These “unity principles” prove that the Women’s March is just the latest cultural vehicle for identity politics, the increasingly insular and disjointed left-wing agenda. An authentic women’s-rights movement would not look like this, a jumbled mass of interest groups roped together.
A real women’s-rights movement looks like the March for Life, unified around a simple, coherent, positive goal. To participate, there is just one qualification: Do you believe that life, at all its stages, has intrinsic value? If so, step right up, join us. Its slogan? “We are for women. We are for children. We are for life.” It is only at this march that women are told they don’t need to have the option to kill their children in order to be free.
The Women’s March, in contrast, is internally fractured and defined by its exclusivity. If you’re a woman who refuses to drink the Kool-Aid, you had better stay home. Don’t support the unmitigated right to dispose of unwanted unborn children? Take off that p***y hat. You vote Republican? None of that here, please. And, God forbid, you supported Donald Trump? You’re a traitor to your gender.
If it were truly a women’s march, all women would be welcome — even those who are conservative or pro-life. But it isn’t a March for Women at all. It’s a march for women who subscribe to progressive dogma. Its insularity robs it of power and guarantees that it will rise and fall with the radical Left.
The March for Life is both bipartisan and non-partisan.
The March for Life, meanwhile, is both bipartisan and non-partisan. It is a movement with political goals, but with an agenda that goes beyond legislative action. It demands no ideological conformity beyond a desire to care both for unborn children and for their mothers. On the Mall today, there will be atheists and feminists, Republicans and Democrats. This event is about more than convincing the government to end abortion. It is about creating a world so full of authentic love for women and their children that abortion becomes unthinkable.
Will the March for Women still exist in 45 years? Only if American progressivism still has a foothold in popular culture. Only if identity politics doesn’t devour the movement from within. Only if the Left can continue to find political enemies frightening enough to require swarming the streets.
If the March for Life doesn’t exist a half century from now, it will be because the pro-child, pro-woman view of life’s inherent dignity has become so widespread that we no longer need to march to defend it.