Women have a long history of leading the way in calling for an end to the many injustices in the world. We have marched with the abolitionists. We have marched for the right to vote. We have marched with the great civil rights leaders. We have marched for an end to violence against women.
And, just like we have done every year since the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision we march for life.
We gather in at state capitols, cities and towns across the U.S, including in Washington, DC to protest abortion and to advocate for a world in which women have life-affirming choices that do not involve destroying our children. While those that advocate for abortion will call us anti-woman and anti-choice, we know that there is no better way to advance the cause of women than to protect our unborn children.
Those demanding a woman’s right to abortion are bolstering the notion that this will forever be a world dictated by the needs of men. If we do not need to accommodate pregnancy, then we do not need to provide health care to pregnant women, we do not need to find ways to care for our children, we do not need to create changes that will allow a woman to succeed as a mother. When abortion is offered as a “solution” to pregnancy, the needs of women and children are pushed aside.
Planned Parenthood itself has fallen prey to putting this philosophy into action. In a New York Times article, pregnant women came forward to share their stories of how Planned Parenthood discriminated against them when they were pregnant.
Women who worked at Planned Parenthood reported that Planned Parenthood would not accommodate their need for additional breaks that were recommended by their health care providers; Planned Parenthood was accused of making hiring and employment decisions based on pregnancy; and pregnant workers said that Planned Parenthood created an environment that was hostile to pregnant women—some of whom were afraid to even announce their pregnancy at work because of the repercussions.
The NY Times interviewed Ta’Lisa Hairston, a medical assistant who had wanted to work at Planned Parenthood because she believed in Planned Parenthood’s mission and wanted to help women have autonomy over their bodies. Hairston expected that “there would be no better place to work than a clinic that dealt with expecting mothers every day.” Yet, she was wrong. When Hairston provided notes from her nurse recommending additional breaks because her high blood pressure was threatening her pregnancy, Planned Parenthood managers ignored the notes. “I had to hold back tears talking to pregnant women, telling them to take care of their pregnancies when I couldn’t take care of mine,” said Hairston.
While Hairston’s story is sad, it is not surprising. As an abortion provider Planned Parenthood sees pregnancy as a barrier to be removed, not a life to be embraced. According to the 2016-2017 Planned Parenthood Federation of America, PPFA performed 321,384 abortion procedures (a number which does not include the over 730,000 emergency contraception kits provided by PPFA). Yet, PPFA only provided prenatal services to 7,762 women and adoption referrals were only provided to 3,889 women. These numbers make it clear that the only choice Planned Parenthood wants to offer women is the choice to abort their children.
What would have happened if those 321,384 children were not aborted? What if Planned Parenthood had instead worked with those women to address the underlying problems that were bringing them to their doors looking to end the lives of their unborn children? Would we have started to tackle problems associated with the poverty that single mothers face? Would we have tried to figure out ways to portray the women who place their children in adoptive homes as heroes and address the legal and financial barriers to adoption that exist? And, how much more beauty and wonder could those 321,384 children have brought to this world?
As pro-life women we know that we cannot make gains for ourselves while aborting our children. We will continue to march against abortion and for women. We will continue to shout out against the injustice that says decrees that a pregnancy is a problem to be terminated. And we will not stand for a women’s movement based on the premise that our children must be sacrificed to advance women’s equality.