The face of the pro-life movement has been changing over the years as all types of people, many of whom seem denied a voice, join the cause against abortion. Among these groups are gays and lesbians, feminists, vegetarians, Democrats, and others.
The newer organizations are what one demonstrator referred to as “groups of color” (a reference to the rainbow symbol of pride). One such groups is the Pro-Life Alliance of Gays and Lesbians (PLAGAL), who in one form or another, has been participating in the march since 1981. With chapter’s nationwide, the group is still young and growing.
PLAGAL members view their group as beneficial to the gay and pro-life community. Joe Beard, Vice President, told the story of a peaceful demonstration outside a Philadelphia abortion clinic where PLAGAL peacefully demonstrated along with a few local Catholics.
One of the main icons of the group is a large black box with a fetus centered in a pink triangle, with the words `Abortion=Death’ at the bottom. One member explained the symbol was inspired by AIDS activists who carry the same sign, without the fetus, and the original words `Silence=Death.
All PLAGAL members present stressed their concern about gay political groups and abortion groups being tacked together. President Cecilia Brown put the idea simply, “Gay rights and abortion rights aren’t the same.”
Tim, another member, ironically stated that he wasn’t even `out’ about his pro-life stance and was afraid of being shunned by his friends. Most attendees believed that the number of pro-lifers was the same in the gay community as it was in the straight community, verified twice via a private and professional survey. PLAGAL insinuated gays merely weren’t as vocal- something they are transforming.
Cecilia said friends will confront her saying, “Your not a good lesbian” because of her pro-life stance.
Animosity or lack of acceptance for these fringe groups, especially PLAGAL, stems from both sides of the arena. Two years ago “March for Life” leaders had PLAGAL banned from the march, although the ever-persistent group slipped into the march albeit police orders not to let them in.
Although this isn’t the general feeling among pro-lifers as Joe said, “The leadership of the march doesn’t like us but the marchers love us.”
This stems from an understanding that every voice is essential and helpful. One member said they had even been accused of being out to destroy the pro-life and gay movement, but she emphasized that nothing could be further from the truth.
“Being exclusive doesn’t fit with a philosophy of pride and diversity. Where’s this diversity they speak of,” said Donna Kearney, Vice President of PLAGAL in New York regarding a paper in her state that didn’t print a PLAGAL ad.
However, with her and the group there was a feeling of hope, as Donna reminisced on the survey she said, “Once we get the word out people will join.”
Another fringe organization was Feminists for Life of America (FFL), which had large individual representation speckled through the march.
The march was fairly even in representation of females and males. The young women were especially vocal; they could be heard chanting and shouting all through the march, along with religious groups they acted as an active, prominent and identifiable face. Their President, Serrin Foster, condemned surviving 70’s women’s groups such as NOW and the feminist majority for “pitting women against children.” FFL believes the opposite is true, that “being pro-life is part of being pro-woman.”
Foster went on to say, “The real reason for abortion is lack of economic and emotional support. Every woman deserves better than an abortion.”
As most `fringe’ groups are associated or at least affiliated with a cause, organization or concern outside the pro-life movement PETA is concerned about what they believe to be the “inconsistent pro-life ethics” of many activists not branching out to animals. While Donna was handing out pamphlets a passerby confronted her and stated, “I know for a fact that PETA is for abortion officially.” After a few minutes of talking, as her antagonism progressively declined, the woman realized they were both pro-life, she just needed to get past assumptions.