Here’s a cheering thought about 2017: It’s gonna be a banner year for comedians.
It’s also shaping up to be a surprisingly good year for pro-lifers. Not because Trump has done anything whatsoever to help save babies or protect women. Maybe he’ll take the trouble to reinstate the largely symbolic Mexico City policy, maybe he won’t; but so far, his pro-life credentials are exactly zero, if you’re generous. [ETA: Shortly after I wrote this, Trump reinstated the Mexico City policy. Credit where it’s due.]
But never mind him, because people who are actually pro-life aren’t waiting for him to remember there’s such a thing as us. Women in seven continents turned out for the Women’s March, to protest his election and to support causes dear to women — causes like education, healthcare, racial justice, protection and respect for the disabled, and, well, everything else. Women are interested in all kinds of things; and even progressive women have more on their mind than abortion abortion abortion. That’s the nice thing about a protest: You show up and say what you want to say (even if you can’t even talk yet).
Yeah, the protest was organized and funded by pro-choicers. Yeah, “abortion rights” became one of the planks of their platform, after a stink was raised in some quarters. But tons of pro-life women showed up anyway, because pro-life is a feminist cause ne plus ultra. As the giant banner said — the banner that led the march, because Students For Life decided to run right out in front — “ABORTION BETRAYS WOMEN.”
So there were pro-life feminists there. In some venues, they were attacked and screamed at; in some venues, they were greeted with respect and support, even from women who didn’t agree with them. These are the reports from the women I know who were actually there.
Even more heartening than this reception is what happened on Saturday Night Life. You can see the entire segment here, but here’s the money part:
Did you catch that? The man just told his audience that pro-lifers are feminists, and that they absolutely belong in a pro-woman march, because a feminist is simply a reasonable person. He used the phrase “pro-life,” not “anti-choice” or “anti-abortion rights.”
Here’s the transcript of this segment:
It was an amazing show of support for feminism, but some feminist groups were asked not to march because of their pro-life views, which raises the question: “What makes a feminist a feminist?” It’s confusing.
My mother raised seven kids by herself and she’s the strongest woman I know, so I asked her if she was a feminist, and she said, “Boy, God made Adam and EVE,” I was like, “That’s not what that means.”
A feminist is really just someone who believes in rights for women, and that’s easy to get behind. Until you get behind a feminist wearing a uterus hat and then you’re like, “There are levels to this.”
I just think it’s weird to have a special name for just being a reasonable person, because that’s all it is. Believing in equality just means you’re not a dick, and for me, that enough.
Folks, Donald Trump is a dick. Not because he claims to be anti-abortion, but because he treats women and children, and anyone else who seems vulnerable, like dirt to be trampled under his feet.
Shall I tell you what I want, as a feminist?
I want no girl, teenager, or woman to feel that she has to have a sexual relationship she doesn’t want.
I want no girl, teenager, or woman to feel pressured to act out the porn that’s shaped the desires of a generation.
I want no girl, teenager, or woman to be mocked, pressured, or chided by her friends, her boyfriend, her doctor, or the culture at large for deciding not to have sex with someone.
I want every woman to know that, if she gets pregnant unintentionally, the father of the child will behave like an adult — not just ponying up a few hundred dollars and a ride to the abortion clinic to erase his mistake, but taking on real, shared, self-giving responsibility. I want women to know that the pregnancy is not just her problem.
I want rape victims to be treated with dignity and respect, not suspicion and blame and aggression from schools, from the legal system, and from their neighbors.
I want unplanned pregnancies to stop meaning stigma, shame, and horror.
I want unplanned pregnancies to stop meaning that a woman’s education must end.
I want unplanned pregnancies to stop meaning that a woman is doomed to poverty.
I want unplanned pregnancies to stop meaning the end of a career.
I want women carrying a disabled unborn baby to know that her child has a shot at being treated with dignity by the world, if she’s allowed to be born.
I want women carrying a black unborn baby to know that her child has a shot at being treated with dignity by the world, if she’s allowed to be born.
I want women carrying an unborn girl to know that her child has a shot at being treated with dignity by the world, if she’s allowed to be born.
I want a world where it doesn’t even occur to people to consider abortion, because there are so many, many alternatives. Pro-lifers and pro-choicers can work together to provide these alternatives. And that’s what we have in common.
If pro-choice feminists agree with even part of this, then you’re damn right we are sisters. You’re damn right we belong marching together.
Don’t underestimate the power of popular culture to change hearts and minds. It’s already becoming more acceptable to be pro-life. It’s already becoming more evident that there is more to us than “no, no, no.” Today’s young adults are looking around at the cultural wasteland left behind after the sexual revolution, and they’re thinking, “Well, that didn’t work. What else can we try?”
Some of them are trying on pro-life feminism. I think it looks pretty good on them — and apparently, so does Saturday Night Live.
So, you folks who are stamping your feet and huffing and puffing over the scandal of pro-lifers turning up at a pro-choice march? You Catholics who are up in arms over pro-life women inflating the numbers of the march, and giving aid and comfort to our ideological enemies? Check it out:
Pro-life feminists who marched got Saturday Night Live to utter the phrase “pro-life,” and to call them reasonable people, to admit that they are feminists, too. Tell me how you were planning to achieve that by sitting at home in your MAGA hat, annotating your list of Catholics We Find Upsetting.
While you were busy taking incriminating screenshots of your neighbor to send to your priest, pro-lifers feminists were bringing their message home. And they’re changing the culture.
Keep marching, sisters.