The news feeds and timelines on my various social media accounts spill over with photos of (and acclaim for) Saturday’s Women’s March on Washington, or L.A., or San Francisco, or Boston, or wherever.
These marches clearly moved and affected many women I respect and love. Yet I wrestle with feelings of ambivalence toward this movement.
Abortion “is the greatest destroyer of peace today … because it is a direct war, a direct killing, direct murder by the mother herself.”
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I remain unclear about what these patriots were marching for, exactly. It is clear enough what they marched against: Donald Trump. The crude display of vagina costumes and “pussy” signage made that jarringly evident. (As an aside, I continue to maintain that any Christian who marched against Trump’s distasteful words of many years ago has abrogated the obligation of Christians to allow people to grow, change, and repent; it is a sin to take this possibility away from anyone, including Donald Trump.)
And yet, seeing those signs and costumes left me unmoved: What are you people marching for?
My ambivalence is heightened further by the stark rejection by event organizers of feminist organizations desiring to march but who happened to be pro-life — as was the case for Feminists for Life, who were at first given a platform to march that was later retracted.
One protester explained the organization’s rebuff this way (in a tweet): “Intersectional feminism does not include a pro-life agenda. That’s not how it works! The right to choose is a fundamental part of feminism.”
Marching to save the lives of the unborn is something to rally around. Marching in order to wear a vagina costume in the name of intersectional feminism borders on the ridiculous. Women are better than that.
But the Women’s March of last weekend was not about saving the unborn. That event happens today, Friday, Jan. 27, when the March for Life protests the Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion in 1973. Since that time, 53 million unborn lives have been ended — and only God knows how many of those lives have been female.
I’ll resist the temptation to get lost in statistics about how many women have had abortions who later regret doing so, or how many suffer depression and guilt as a result. (These numbers are easily found for the interested inquirer.)
Even some defenders of abortion recognize that it is a tragedy and nothing to celebrate, as was noted when poor Lena Dunham blithely suggested she wished she’d had an abortion as a rite of passage to earn rank among feminists — and was decisively rebuked for making light of it.
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Abortion, at its core, is bad for women and more journalists ought to note that in their reporting. Apart from the physical and psychological harm that underlies this tragedy, the worst comes in the spiritual death that must take place for a mother to assume the prerogative to kill her own offspring. The women marching all over the country last week rejected feminists who refused to cross that line. In doing so, they kept front-and-center the demand for legal license for a mother to assume that prerogative.
Saint (Mother) Teresa of Calcutta wrote in a letter that abortion “is the greatest destroyer of peace today … because it is a direct war, a direct killing, direct murder by the mother herself.” And if mothers demand the right to kill their own offspring, she continues, “what is left [but] for me to kill you and you to kill me? There is nothing between.”
Yet on they march, donning costumes and waving banners — all while turning a blind eye to the corrosive force woven into their mission that evokes the worst of what humans can do to one another.
If women won’t defend the lives of their own offspring, there is nothing we won’t do to one another.
Wendy Murray served as regional correspondent for TIME magazine in Honduras in the early 1990s, and later as associate editor and senior writer at Christianity Today. She is the author of 10 nonfiction books and a novel. This article has been updated.