The Politics of Choice
Beth Vest
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The Politics of Choice

How the Women's March took a Wrong Left Turn

On January 21, 2017, women took to the streets of Washington D.C. in what organizers described as the largest Intersectional Feminist protest event to date, suddenly having found grave offense in a boorish man who had not yet been president of the United States for 48 hours. Protests are (or should be) demands for redress for some offense, but what redress are they seeking, exactly?

If it is misogyny and locker room talk they are protesting, these same women have been oddly silent on similar topics, and much worse behavior, while supporting their favored candidate, Hillary Clinton. Not one word of protest was heard about Clinton and her tacit approval of misogyny when it was committed by her husband, Bill Clinton. Clinton continued to support her husband, and in some cases was reportedly involved in attacks on the character of his accusers. Not one march was held on that count.

Not one of these women protested during the eight years Barack Obama spent drone-bombing innocent women and children in other countries, sent taxpayer billions to countries that routinely jail and kill rape victims, sent aid to countries that summarily execute gay men and women, and continued the drug war and increased mass incarceration of our own citizens at unprecedented rates. Those voices you hear in the streets of Washington D.C. today were notably silent during the last administration.

True to their core beliefs, the five founders of today's march have made it clear that this is not a march in support of all women. The five founders of the Women's March on Washington are not lacking in progressive credentials; Theresa Shook, the original Facebook Poster where the idea originated; Tamika Mallory, an activist, writer, and consultant living in New York City; Carmen Perez, executive director of the Gathering for Justice; Linda Sarsour, known as“Homegirl in a Hijab”, and a Palestinian-American-Muslim mother of three and executive director of the Arab American Association of New York; and fashion designer Bob Bland creator of the “Nasty Woman” T-Shirts One might expect diversity and inclusion to be central to their mission.

However, on their way to the March, they by-passed a few intersections; namely those with women who are pro-life, or hold more traditional values. These are the opinions which the founders of this movement have decided have no place in their movement at all. By mid-week before the March, pro-life woman's groups had been uninvited to participate as sponsors. Despite being agreeable on all major, universal feminist issues like equal pay, equal access to jobs and preventing sexual harassment, this one item alone kept them from the ranks of sponsor. These pro-life groups were willing to commit to sponsorship despite the founder's vehement support of abortion. The March's founders weren't quite as accommodating.

This exclusion leaves out a significant portion of the female population. According to a study by the Pew Research Center about 40 percent of women in the U.S. hold pro-life values. One might assume that the largest intersectional women's event to date simply did not consider that “those” kinds of women, women without the correct views, might show up.

Questioning the authenticity of pro-choice feminists, Guardian columnist Jessica Valenti tweeted earlier in the week;  “We need to stop the myth that feminism is simply anything a women does.” Feminism is a movement for justice – abortion access is central.” This presupposes that of the two available choices; pro-life and pro-choice, only one of those things is an actual choice. Isn't the option to believe that abortion is murder a choice? Do women not have a right to that choice? Quite the conundrum for a group who claims choice is central to their tenets.

To offer up a similar view regarding conservative and Republican women, it is likely that in the months to come we will see authoritarian attempts to curtail abortion,defund Planned Parenthood and generally shore up whatever is favorable to the pro-life crowd.

What lies at the root of so much rancor between progressives and conservatives in the pro-life/pro choice debate has less to do with diverse opinions, then it does with each side's perception of the other in regards to who can best leverage the government to impose their beliefs on society at large. And rest assured, each side has an agenda and designs on your tax dollars to bring it about.

Libertarian women do not always agree on this topic, but they do agree that the free market of ideas should be enough to convince a women to have an abortion or not, and in no case should we demand the labor of our fellow citizens as tribute to the state to fund abortion, birth control or healthcare of any kind. Women deserve the liberty to honor their conscious in all of these matters and the freedom of self-ownership without fear of interference from the state or fellow citizens.

The pro-choice women marched today, having ironically uninvited other women for their choices. Libertarian women will be standing by wondering why either side is so willing to throw liberty and free thought overboard for their stake in forcing their views on the rest of us through the government patriarchy.

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