On Saturday, thousands of women plan to descend on Washington, D.C., to show how passionate they are about women's rights and overcoming sexism. But a woman like me won't be allowed to march with them.
I'm one of those women who believes in rights for everyone — including children.
While I don't identify as a modern-day feminist, I have a long history of advocating for women and children. I agree women deserve equal pay for equal work, that promotions should be based on talent and hard work rather than gender or skin color, and that society must hold people accountable for treating women as objects rather than people (although how I hold society accountable is significantly different than the feminist group organizing the march). I'm one of the 79 percent of women who've dealt with workplace sexual harassment at least once over the last 15 years of my career and I applaud the efforts of anyone who works in a peaceful and dignified manner to root out sexism and violence against women.
From what I've read in various articles, the march was organized, and described by the Atlantic, as a gathering "which makes room for women with diverse convictions, including a moral opposition to abortion." That lasted all of a few seconds, until other feminists took to Twitter to condemn organizers for allowing pro-life women from New Wave Feminists to take part.
Blogger and Guardian columnist Jessica Valenti tweeted that organizers had to reconsider including pro-lifers because "inclusivity is not about bolstering those who harm us." That's right, the person who believes it's OK to harm an unborn child believes that those who fight for the lives of the unborn are harming her. This is the same women who tweeted that Ivanka Trump is fair game to be verbally attacked on an airplane by a stranger because he disagrees with her politics, even though it meant also attacking her children who were with her.
How's that for preventing harassment against women?
With all the outcry, the pro-life feminist group was quickly removed in what organizers called "an error" for allowing them to join the march in the first place. The pro-life group plans to attend anyway, and I hope with their pro-life, pro-women signs in tow. While liberal feminists say you cannot be pro-women and be pro-life, I don't see how you can be pro-abortion and pro-women. Call me nostalgic for the days of Susan B. Anthony, but I believe in treating everyone as if their life matters.
I agree this election took an ugly, divisive turn that angered Americans across the board. Regardless of political affiliation, gender or race, the presidential election damaged the country. The problem is, those calling for peace when they anticipated a Clinton presidency are the ones continuing to damage the country further with their protests, threats of violence and rhetoric. That is not how we heal the country and bring the people back together.
I'm calling on women and men from all political affiliations to help heal the country and put an end to this polarization. When a feminist group that advocates for fairness to women is denied acceptance because they believe in the value of life, it's clear liberals have drawn a line in the sand and would rather continue the hate-filled fight we've seen these last two years rather than be part of the healing.
President-elect Trump will take the oath of office on Friday. Whether you voted for him or not, it's a fact everyone has to live with. No hashtag campaign is going to change that reality. By working together, however, we can make sure every elected official is held accountable and that every person in the country understands that women have value above and beyond our looks and gender.
Elizabeth Peace (@_epeace) is a former journalist who now works on Capitol Hill. She's an author, an advocate for children and a former Airman now married to a U.S. Marine. Thinking of submitting an op-ed to the Washington Examiner? Be sure to read our guidelines on submissions.