I Did Not Speak Accurately
“In part.” These two little words would have helped make my post from last week accurate. Without them, my words misrepresented a large group of people.
In case you missed it, I wrote about the Women’s March earlier this month and stated that the participants were marching to defend the right to abortion. A couple of people thoughtfully challenged my premise and suggested that was not a fair representation of what the march was all about.
So, I set out to reconsider the matter. I re-read the news articles I had found and then also what I wrote. I concluded that they were right; I was wrong to characterize the Women’s March as being all about defending a woman’s right to abortion. Rather, there were quite a number of issues women were marching for, the first and most important being objection to President Trump and his policies, as well as denouncing male sexual harassment, electing more women to office, protecting abortion rights, resolving income equality, seeking equality for minority women and immigrants, and more. I put this list in order of prominence based on the articles I read.
I think that a large part of the reason I mistakenly presented the march as being all about abortion rights is because both issues were very much in the spotlight that weekend. The Women’s March was held on January 20, just two days before the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision, as well as one day after the annual March for Life to oppose abortion. I read a number of articles that day about the ongoing abortion debate and I think I began to merge the information with what I was reading about the march. Moreover, the Women’s March was held the day after the March for Life and I automatically assumed it was scheduled intentionally as a response to that pro-life event. I do not know if that was indeed the purpose, but it is hard to imagine it was just pure coincidence.
Nevertheless, abortion rights were neither the only, nor even the primary issue of the Women’s March and I was wrong to say so. In hindsight, I wish I had written that women marched in part to defend abortion rights. That would have been accurate. The Times article as well as all the others I read make it clear that abortion rights was definitely a prominent issue that many were marching for. And it was the picture they included of marchers at the Lincoln Memorial in DC that showed a young girl with a sign: “My body, my choice.” This truly breaks my heart, especially having counseled with women who have had abortions and struggled with the ramifications for the rest of their lives.
Thank you, friends, for pointing out my error. I do want to be both as truthful and gracious as possible as I communicate.