There are reasons that people tend to have a knee-jerk association of “pro-life” with “right wing”. One is certainly that abortion supporters promote this stereotype in an effort to both fire up their base and marginalize their opponents.
But another is that the right wing wants it that way. Certain elements of the right, particularly the Christian right, see the pro-life movement as their property and work hard to keep it that way. The near-total suppression of support for contraception among pro-life groups (see below) is one manifestation of this. The annual March for Life in Washington, DC is another.
The March is the largest single anti-abortion event of the year, and is therefore an important public face of the pro-life movement. Yet it isn’t representative of pro-lifers in America, and doesn’t try to be. March organizer Nellie Gray is avowedly anti-feminism. She doesn’t “do outreach” to minorities. For several years she threatened members of the Pro-Life Alliance of Gays and Lesbians with arrest if they dared march with their banner. In 2002, she followed through on that threat. She has also tried to discourage participation by Feminists for Life, and by a group of non-stereotypical pro-lifers who gathered to march in 1997 to show the diversity of the pro-life movement.
Now, Kristen Day of Democrats for Life of America reports that Nellie Gray called her this morning and told her that DFL was not to bring its banners to next month’s March.
Some have argued that Gray has a right to ask that people not promote their own particular groups at what is supposed to be an event focused on the pro-life cause. That might be a fair point, except that the March is in fact filled with people displaying signs and banners proclaiming marchers’ religious and political affiliations. It’s just that most of those are conservative and Christian, and therefore apparently meet with Gray’s approval.
Please contact the March for Life and ask them to allow all signs promoting a peaceful pro-life message, no matter their ideological affiliation. If you are planning to attend the March, please consider standing with DFL and other groups that the people who consider themselves the owners of the pro-life movement are trying to push out. Democrats for Life will be meeting at the Hotel Washington at 15th and Pennsylvania at 11:30 am to walk over to the March as a group. PLAGAL is planning to meet them at the hotel and walk over with them; this might be a good place for other supporters to gather.