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Identifying as Christian and pro-choice

| Thursday, February 2, 2017

As a college freshman, my religious beliefs motivated me to attend the March for Life sponsored by Saint Mary’s College. As a junior, I attended the Women’s March in D.C. to fight for social, political and economic equality of women and men. From experience, the two marches cannot rival each other, yet there has been social media, news coverage and campus climate arguing otherwise.

In early December, my co-marcher asked Saint Mary’s faculty if they could offer funds for students to go to the Women’s March as they do for the March for Life. Our all women’s college turned her down, claiming the Women’s March was too political. The college’s opposition seemed unfair because our United States Constitution outlines the separation of church and state, and I have only known the anti-abortion cohort as led by the church. I understand abortion is against Catholic doctrine, but denying funds for the Women’s March for political reasons seems hypocritical, as the March for Life also carries a strong political agenda.

The Women’s March mission states, “We will not rest until women have parity and equity at all levels of leadership in society.” The Saint Mary’s purpose statement reads, “In preparing women for roles of leadership and action, Saint Mary’s pays particular attention to the rights and responsibilities of women in the worlds of work, church, community and family.” We, the female students, cannot fulfill the purpose of the College in a nation where women still fall far behind the leadership curve.

As pro-choice ideals claimed a fraction of the Women’s March’s theme, I expected to encounter anti-religious groups. Instead, I encountered many religious groups protesting with us. My favorite poster read, “Social Justice is a Christian Tradition, Not a Liberal Agenda.”

The Women’s March attracted people from everywhere, with every experience. At the Women’s March, I learned more about abortion than I did at the March for Life. I learned more about diversity amongst women than I did at the March for Life. As a Christian, I like to think that if I had an unexpected pregnancy, I would choose to carry, but I’ve never had to make that decision. I’ve never lived in poverty nor been raped. I’ve never lived in a country where healthcare is scarce and death is a common sacrifice of birth. As a privileged woman, I don’t know if I could make that call for myself and certainly not for others barred with unspeakable burdens.

I do know that the Center for Disease Control reported a gradual decrease in abortions since 1984 which correlates with an increase in organizations who provide affordable reproductive healthcare for women. It is my understanding that most of these organizations also provide abortion procedures, thus are bombarded with pro-life protesters. I respect the rights of democracy, but if we look at the opposing sides from an anti-abortion viewpoint, the pro-choice side is clearly doing a better job.

I left the Women’s March educated on social and global problems that I didn’t know existed. I also left the Women’s March as a pro-choice Christian citizen.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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