But others are looking for solidarity. Many pro-life women felt just as outraged as pro-choice women about Donald Trump’s conduct and comments, including the revelation that he once bragged about groping women without their permission. For their part, the organizers say pro-lifers will be welcome to march on January 21st. A pro-life group based in Texas, New Wave Feminists, was granted partnership status on Friday. “Intersectional feminism is the future of feminism and of this movement,” said Bob Bland, one of the event’s co-chairs. “We must not just talk about feminism as one issue, like access to reproductive care.” (On Monday afternoon, after the publication of this article, the Women’s March organizers removed the New Wave Feminists from their website and list of partners. “The Women’s March’s platform is pro-choice and that has been our stance from day one,” the organizers said in a statement. “The anti-choice organization in question is not a partner of the Women's March on Washington. We apologize for this error.”)
The pro-life movement is changing. Many young activists identify as feminists or atheists and reject a uniform alignment with the Republican Party, unlike their Phyllis Schlafly-style predecessors. Perhaps the Women’s March on Washington is a sign that feminism is changing, too, ever so slightly: a first gathering of a truly “intersectional” movement which makes room for women with diverse convictions, including a moral opposition to abortion.
Some of the pro-life women going to the march are looking for solace in the wake of the election. “I was very concerned about the fact that in 2017, our presidential candidate was such a diehard misogynist,” said Destiny Herndon-De La Rosa, the Texas-based president of a group called New Wave Feminists. “I get that he applied this pro-life label, but I don’t know very many people who genuinely believe he’s pro-life.”
While the organizers say the march is not an anti-Trump protest, the fact that it’s happening the day after inauguration is not a coincidence. The stated purpose is broad—to “send a bold message … that women’s rights are human rights”—but Trump is clearly the context. In some ways, the march is not just about women; it’s an affirmation of diversity. Bland gave a laundry list of groups whose voices will be at the center of the march, including people of color, those with disabilities, Muslims and “those of all diverse religious faiths,” undocumented immigrants, and LGBT folks. “They have been particularly targeted during the election cycle, and now, there’s a real concern that their rights will be stripped away,” Bland said. “We’re marching to say that we support them, and all women.”
Nothing about this mission is incompatible with a pro-life viewpoint. In fact, some pro-lifers would argue that their work is explicitly focused on promoting the dignity of all people, including folks who don’t fit a straight, white, conservative mold. A small group of marchers associated with the pro-life publication Life Matters Journal will be there to support “this actual affirmation of peace and human rights, not just for women, but for all people of any or no gender, ethnicity, religion, immigration status, age, or disability,” said Rosemary Geraghty, a 20-year-old University of Pittsburgh student who works as the publication’s the social-media coordinator. The only difference between her list and Bland’s is that hers includes “the pre-born.”