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A pro-choice rally clad with pink pussy hats and white feminism

Reflecting on Saturday’s Rally for Reproductive Justice

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A pro-choice rally clad with pink pussy hats and white feminism

Demonstrators hold signs during the Women's Rights March in Seattle, October 2.

On Saturday’s Women’s March Day of Action, people from all over the United States rallied for abortion rights. Here in Seattle, a crowd of people gathered at Westlake Park for the Rally for Reproductive Justice in support of reproductive rights and to fight against the current bans on abortion in states like Texas.

A lot of us are fed up with abortion still being considered taboo rather than being seen as just another part of healthcare — especially in the pro-life eyes of the Republican Party and Sen. Joe Manchin

All over the country, people with uteruses are affected by bans and attacks on abortion rights, and despite the autonomy-seizing mission to end abortions, the practice will persist even as bans become widespread.

“Everyone should be allowed the right to decide when ... they don’t want to have a child, and this ban is definitely taking us back in time, and puts women in the position to have to go the sketchy route,” senior Mila Guity said. “They could have a potentially fatal abortion, or they could continue to have a child, not knowing whether or not they could take care of it.”

The pro-life — pro-birth, really — crowd is also interesting because the crusade against abortion and the “killing” of fetuses and embryos is very clearly a front. Otherwise, conservatives would do a whole lot more for children in the foster system and people who unwillingly give birth to children.

“I know my mom wasn’t necessarily the most prepared when she had me, and I don’t think that necessarily giving birth to children means setting them up for a good life,” fourth-year Eliza Patenio said. “There’s too many kids in the foster system, and that doesn’t mean that they’re going to have a good quality life, so we shouldn’t necessarily force women to give birth to those kids.”

It is very relevant to consider that when abortion bans happen, Black people and other people of color are disproportionately affected, as systemic racism permeates all aspects of life.

To top it off, the Women’s March, at least at the national level, is not known for its inclusivity. Even by just looking at Saturday’s crowd, “liberal” Seattle isn’t too much better.

Many signs referenced a woman’s right to choose — despite abortion affecting anyone who could become pregnant, like transgender men and nonbinary people. There were also swarms of white women wearing pink pussy hats. You bet your a-- there were also a handful of white folks playing out their dystopian fantasy through “Handmaid’s Tale” attire. Not to mention, a sign comparing the GOP to the Taliban, giving me some lowkey Islamophobic vibes.

Shelby Sanders, an attendee of the rally, referenced these issues regarding inclusivity through their sign which read, “Listen to Black & Indigenous Women + Trans & Non-Binary people. Defend ICWA. We wouldn’t be in this position if we listened to women of color.”

“It’s the final fight that’s been going on for so long that white women are just jumping on and I feel that not enough white people here are going to respect the fight where it’s been coming from for so long,” Sanders said. “People are taking pictures of signs and ignoring mine, but that’s fine, because some people look at it and it makes them think about why they’re here, maybe.”

In many movements, we like to slap a white person’s face on the cover of the story. We like to put Greta Thunberg as a face of the climate movement. We frequently elevate the voices of white women in the feminist movement. There’s the privilege of white gay representation during Pride and in how queer people are generally represented.

This was very much reflected in the crowd at Seattle’s rally this past weekend. I mostly enjoyed the rally and its speakers, but there is still something to be desired. 

We have issues with white feminism when it comes to reproductive justice, even just considering that the Seattle chapter is called the “Womxn’s March,” using terminology that can be transphobic. This is truly a perfect example of white feminism trying to fight the patriarchy while instead being hard to pronounce and not doing anything good for trans people.

The pro-choice, pro-abortion fight is an important one. The GOP is creating future and present irreperable harm through abortion bans in attempting to overturn Roe v. Wade and trying to take control over the bodies of pregnant people. But let’s stop with the whitewashing of it all.

Reach Opinion Editor Deborah Kwon at opinion@dailyuw.com. Twitter: @scoobydeeby

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(4) comments

More Inclusive than Thou

For 99.9% of US there is really no such thing as either "Pro-choice" or "Pro-Life"

99.9% of us are horrified by a zero restriction that protects a baby in the womb from being killed that has reached a time and stage of development in which healthy babies are born to willing mothers following non-emergency/perfectly normal medical procedure of elective C-section.

And 99.9% of us are perfectly horrified by the idea that a 13 year old girl raped by a total stranger could possibly be denied the morning after pill.

Currently there really are several states in which a baby perfectly eligible for C-section delivery following best medical practice can instead be killed by an abortion.

Currently there 0 states in which a 13 year old girl that was raped can not get the morning after pill.

The only honest question in this for an incredibly high majority of us is when to draw the line.

We had made some progress as far as the honesty of the thing recently in actually calling the debate the abortion rights Vs the anti-abortion people.

Now apparently we are calling the abortion debate a debate about reproductive rights among people with uteruses.

That is truly asinine. When have those people with those uteruses ever been denied the right to have a baby?

Folks you are not going to solve anything that you are not even able to name with any accuracy.

Red2Envy

I’m a 54 year old white woman and my reproductive magic came under fire when I was 15 when my mother went with me to planned parenthood to terminate a pregnancy. Together we walked through the picketing lines of angry people intent on making this even harder - forty years after I can still recall the mental pain and physical agony of the days and weeks surrounding that appointment. It’s clear I need to re engage for the basic right of controlling my uterus even now. …. So many years later. My point? I’m begging you to try and find the similar bonds that draw us together instead of insisting on further opportunities to divide. We are women of various walks of life, different colors and shapes and super powers. Let’s do what we can to work through this together - allow us the chance to begin to heal together. It’s painful but it feels like some people need to step out in faith towards a more civil future. Others will follow. I have to believe this. “STILL parenting by CHOICE not by chance”…. Forty years later.

MERFtildeath

"People with uteruses"[sic]...gross. You are so concerned with inclusiveness and fairness, yet have no compunction about (unironically)ejecting women from the English language, either by distorting the definition of the word to include both sexes or obstinately refusing to use it altogether (unless referring to men who "identify" as such). The cognitive dissonance is striking.

Victor Simoes

Great article!

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