Organizers of the national March for Life announced Tuesday the theme of January’s gathering in Washington — “Pro-Life Is Pro-Woman” — signaling a shift in the messaging strategy for anti-abortion efforts.
A panel of pro-life activists on Capitol Hill sought Tuesday to wrest the term “pro-woman” from progressives, who the activists said have distorted the legacy of women’s suffrage and the 19th Amendment.
“I’m a feminist, and I’m not sure if you like that word or not,” Serrin M. Foster, president of Feminists for Life, told the crowded room. “The same women who fought for the slaves to be freed also fought for our children to be here and mothers to be supported.”
Gloria Purvis, host of the TV series “Authentically Free at Last” on the EWTN Catholic network, said she is furious over how “the pro-choice movement has pimped the image of the African American woman. It’s really just a mask for unjust discrimination.”
The 47th annual March for Life will be held Jan. 24 in the nation’s capital. It protests the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, which legalized abortion.
Jeanne Mancini, president of the March for Life Education and Defense Fund, told supporters that a conference linked to the march will feature a slate of speakers who tie abortion restrictions to women’s rights.
“Courageous suffragists like Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton who fought for women’s right to vote also opposed abortion,” Ms. Mancini said in a statement. “Pro-lifers should be inspired by the early suffragists, who understood the true dignity of women and that every person, born and unborn, deserves equal rights and protections under the law.”
The annual march comes as the conservative-majority Supreme Court hears abortion-related cases. The court will consider the constitutionality of a Louisiana law that requires abortion doctors to maintain admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the women’s clinic. Three years ago, a 5-4 liberal-majority court struck down a similar law in Texas.
The court also will review an Indiana law requiring an ultrasound at least 18 hours before an abortion and a Chicago ordinance bars protesters from coming within eight feet of anyone entering or exiting an abortion clinic.
At Tuesday’s announcement, Victoria Cobb, president of The Family Foundation of Virginia, criticized the Equal Rights Amendment, a proposal that has gained support since its inception in the 1980s and that Virginia’s legislature likely would approve if Democrats take control in November.
The proposed amendment promises equal rights to all Americans regardless of sex, including access to health care, housing and employment. But Ms. Cobb cited opinion research suggesting that support for the ERA in Virginia drops when survey-takers are informed the amendment would write abortion protections into the Constitution.
” ‘Pro-woman.’ Have we ever stopped to think what this claim is?” she said. “When a woman gets pregnant, the people who are saying she must take the life of her child in order to continue school or have a thriving career are the people who are supposed to be on the side of pro-woman.”
The pro-choice group Reproaction criticized the March for Life theme in a tweet: “There is absolutely nothing ‘pro-woman’ about a movement that restricts bodily autonomy and refuses to #StopProsecutingAbortion.”