Women's March - Fertile Ground for Dialogue on Abortion

A panel on JFA's new "Stop and Think" Exhibit. The text reads: "Embrace"..."the Future of Feminism."

A panel on JFA's new "Stop and Think" Exhibit. The text reads: "Embrace"..."the Future of Feminism."

"Women's Rights are Human Rights, and Human Rights are Women's Rights."  This is the motto for which millions gathered in solidarity, this past Saturday, at Women’s March events around the globe.  However, one particular demographic that is passionate about that message of equality was officially ostracized from the events: pro-life advocates. 

The official Unity Principles of the Women’s March on Washington (and affiliated “sister marches”) includes this statement:  

We believe in Reproductive Freedom… This means open access to safe, legal, affordable abortion…for all people, regardless of income, location or education.[1]

In the days leading up to the march, many pro-life women spoke out about a contradiction within the principles of the Women’s March on Washington.  Rebecca Weiss, who calls herself a “pro-life feminist,” wrote in her Jan. 16 Patheos blog post:

I would like to say this to my pro-choice sisters:
We who are pro-life can not be excluded from feminism simply because we believe that the life of the unborn human is worthy of protection. We agree with you that women are driven to abortion because of social injustices, that these social injustices need to be eradicated, that women do deserve to have access to health care and bodily autonomy, that we need to work hard to oppose rape culture, and that women ought to have access to a variety of choices. We differ only on the question of when the life of [a] developing human must be protected from violence. It should be appreciated that, when we draw a circle around “which lives deserve protection” – we are the ones who are drawing the widest, most generous circle. [emphasis added]

JFA Trainer Rebecca Haschke talks to a UCLA student (May 2016) in front of one JFA poll table asking: "Can feminists be pro-choice?"  The poll question's unexpected phrasing prompts many conversations about human equality and the pro-life position.

JFA Trainer Rebecca Haschke talks to a UCLA student (May 2016) in front of one JFA poll table asking: "Can feminists be pro-choice?"  The poll question's unexpected phrasing prompts many conversations about human equality and the pro-life position.

In this statement, Rebecca did a great job of modeling one of the Three Essential Skills we teach at every JFA training event–finding common ground.  In fact, she focused on one of the central pieces of common ground between pro-life and pro-choice advocates – the belief that all humans, male and female, should be treated equally.  From there, she could make her case for the protection of the unborn based on the same foundation: their common humanity.  Many pro-choice advocates have never seen the pro-life worldview in this light, as the position most concerned with the inclusion of vulnerable.

Justice for All trains pro-life advocates to share this message of equality using what we call “The Equal Rights Argument.”  With the recent buzz surrounding the Women’s March on Washington, you have a powerful opportunity to create heart-changing dialogue about abortion.  We're here to help you get started.

Resources:  Creating Dialogue on Equal Rights