The Women’s March Encompasses More Than One Issue
Photos by Danielle Dorsey.
At Minnesota State Capitol, the Twin Cities Women’s March took place on January 19, 2019. According to the Star Tribune around 4,000 people gathered to advocate for women’s rights.
The Women’s March is a contentious annual event that sparks heavy discussion surrounding a variety of political planks. Their platform desires that women achieve a place of equality with men – something that the organizers and participants of the Women’s March currently don’t believe they have. In the midst of the Me Too movement, rape culture and toxic masculinity are two major portions of the Women’s March platform. Equal pay and opportunity for men and women is another portion of the platform, along with sexual identities and orientations.
However, the most controversial topic of the Women’s March is certainly abortion. For the past few weeks, everywhere I’ve looked on social media, whether it be an Instagram story or a tweet, there has been discussion on the legality and morality of abortion. Fueled by the recent passing of the New York State Senate Bill, S2796, which allows abortion of a fetus up to term, the debate between pro-choice and pro-life camps has grown even more prolific. Being involved in the Women’s March has been equated to being pro-choice and immoral in Christian spheres. Despite this, I wholly support the Women’s March, recognizing the good that the Women’s March intends to bring to fruition through common sense policy and the empowering of women and other minority groups.
Utilizing common sense policy to lower abortion rates and provide safe avenues for women to receive healthcare are the primary reasons to support “pro-choice” policies. According to the Guttmacher Institute, pro-choice policies lower the rate of abortions. Restricting abortion leads to desperate measures and unsafe procedures, which can make an already unstable or dangerous pregnancy potentially deadly. The majority of abortions occur in developing countries, where healthcare and medical procedures are already more dangerous here.
The World Health Organization says that 830 women die every day due to preventable complications during pregnancy and childbirth. Additionally, maternal mortality is higher in places with high poverty, and restrictions on abortion and other necessary procedures acts as a barrier to poor women, which can lead them to undergo dangerous procedures in an attempt to save their own lives. Ultimately, “late-term” abortions are often about the life and health of the woman. If life has inherent value (I believe it does), forcing women to have children when medical professionals say it will kill them is a devaluing contradiction which devoids women of their inherent right to life.
In the midst of the Me Too movement, the devaluation of female life became more apparent than ever before. That’s not to say women weren’t already aware of the demeaning, dehumanizing treatment that they were receiving in the workplace. However, the Me Too movement was the first time where men and women were made aware that sexual harassment and assault was happening to people everywhere, regardless of gender or status. High-profile celebrities such as Terry Crews or Angelina Jolie came forward with accusations or stories about inappropriate encounters with producers and agents. The world began to realize that sexual assault could happen to anyone, no matter their status. In a post Me Too movement world, fatigue is setting in regarding claims of a sexual harassment. According to a YouGov poll performed on behalf of the Economist, people have become more skeptical in regards to claims of sexual harassment. It’s more important now than ever before to amplify and listen to voices that are speaking out on injustice and equality.
The voice of the Women’s March is one that does just that – amplify those voices that are speaking out on injustice and equality. Historically, suffragists and abolitionists have been at odds despite similar values. In a sense, the Women’s March and Black Lives Matter are extensions of those two centuries old movements, and the inclusion of the Black Lives Matter platform into the Women’s March is empowering and historically significant. The Women’s March includes not only the voices of prominent movements such as BLM, but of all minorities, whether they be ethnic, political, or social minorities. This inclusiveness is an important part of the Women’s March that not only increases its sphere of influence but also the validity of its claims.
The Women’s March was a valuable way to spend a few hours in the subzero January temperatures. Despite the controversy around certain aspects of their beliefs, the Women’s March is holistically working to improve the world we live in for victims of injustice and inequality, and despite its flaws, is worthy of the support and fanfare that it receives.