There were crowds chanting anti-abortion slogans and pink picket signs waving back at them outside of the Supreme Court today. It’s a familiar sight—the annual March for Life in D.C. brings together abortion opponents from across the country each year—but this year, the president did something unprecedented to mark the occasion.
Donald Trump made history today as the first president to ever address the March’s attendees in person. And feminists talked back.
Just two days after the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, and in the wake of a record year for extreme anti-abortion legislation, the President bragged about taking “historic action” to “protect the unborn”—shouting out his deadly expansion of the Global Gag Rule, his creation of a Domestic Gag Rule that cuts off reproductive health access for the poorest women and his administration’s shocking decision to water-down the UN’s work for women worldwide.
Feminists were there in person to sound off on the urgency of abortion access. Activists from organizations like the Feminist Majority Foundation (publisher of Ms.) and Feminist Campus, Abortion Access Front and NOW went to the Court steps to counter-protest during the event.
Online, even more feminists raised their voices, taking over the trending #MarchForLife hashtag to share abortion stories and bust abortion myths. The Center for Health and Gender Equity, Planned Parenthood and UltraViolet Action discussed human rights and healthcare, while Rewire and NARAL emphasized that “the facts” do not align with anti-abortion talking points.
“It’s no surprise Donald Trump is the first President to address [the march] in person,” Stephanie Schriock, the president of EMILY’s List, said in a statement. “He has made clear that his goal is to overturn Roe v. Wade and end abortion as a safe and legal right.”
Indeed, he has—and his administration hasn’t stopped attacking abortion rights. Just this week, Secretary Alex Azar of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services referred to his agency as the “Department of Life,” expressing support for the March for Life and its larger goal to end abortion.
“It is really rich for an agency that was a primary architect of putting children in cages at the border,” NARAL Pro-Choice America President Ilyse Hogue pointed out in a statement, “to call themselves the ‘Department of Life.’ It’s abundantly clear that the Trump administration is desperate and eager to deceive in order to deflect attention from the scandals the president is embroiled in. And women and families will pay the price.”