GUEST POST: A NICU Nurse's Take On The Women's March On Washington

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Like many others, I have been closely following the news surrounding the Women’s March occurring in DC today. The conversation surrounding it has been interesting, yet largely unsurprising, and, for me, very frustrating.

I’ve found it frustrating because the March’s purpose and surrounding controversy not only touches on, but stems from two of my greatest passions - (1) infants, both inside and outside of the womb, and (2) womenhood/women’s health.

And to my disappointment, in the present conversation, I find both are being largely misunderstood.

I am a twenty-three year old woman who has led a blessed life in many ways. I have always had a deep love for babies, which led to my dream of working as a nurse in a neonatal ICU (intensive care for babies). By God’s grace, that dream became a reality and I now spend 40+ hours a week caring for the sickest babies in one of Illinois’ largest NICUs.

I always thought babies would be my sole passion, but in recent years I’ve encountered various health concerns and questions which have led me to personally understand that wholesome and comprehensive women’s healthcare is sorely lacking in today’s health industry. From these personal experiences, a passion for women’s health was born.

So now, I have two passions. And I’ve learned that the more I’ve gotten to know one, the more I’ve discovered and grown in zeal for the other.

I say this because I believe it is important to recognize first and foremost that one can love both. I can wholly advocate for women—their inherent beauty, purpose, equality, and health—and all the while, wholly advocate for babies—their beauty, purpose, equality, and health.

Let me share with you both passions. First, womanhood and women’s health.

I am a young woman. And women of the March, you are right… we are powerful. We have a God-given power that could change the world. A favorite quote of mine by Peter Kreeft perfectly sums up the beauty and power of woman…

”The heart is like a woman, and the head is like a man, and although man is the head of woman, woman is the heart of man and she turns man’s head because she turns his heart.”

 Without diving too deeply into the rich doctrine that is the Theology of the Body, it is necessary to start with an understanding of who woman is. Women, we are the heart! We are the heart of this world, with the ability to turn its head. Women, we were not created to be trampled on or used. We are not secondary or lesser to our male counterparts. We were created with feminine qualities including gentleness, warmth, sensitivity, compassion, and receptivity. Yes, we’re intelligent, capable, and driven. We are strong and brave (shout out to Leah Darrow). We are not a slave to our fellow man, but rather a fundamental, necessary, and worthy companion. The gifts and talents that we have to offer are good, holy and beautiful. We are nurturing, loving, protective, loyal, self-giving, and communicative by nature. These qualities are of great service to our world. They are valuable in the workplace, just as they are essential to the family. It is by harnessing these very qualities that we will be be most impactful in the world whether as business women, entrepreneurs, politicians, journalists, doctors and/or nurses, but of utmost importance as mothers.

 All of these qualities reflect an inherent call to motherhood. This is true even of single women, women unable to conceive, and religious women. Our feminine qualities—or “feminine genius” as St. John Paul II called it—inherently call us to some form of motherhood whether physical or spiritual.

Unfortunately, I have discovered that this motherhood thing really seems to trip women up.

The founders of the two largest abortion providers, Margaret Sanger of Planned Parenthood and Dr. Marie Stopes of Marie Stopes International believed motherhood to be the ultimate evil. They saw motherhood as an interference, an obstacle to women’s fulfillment, achievement, and success. Sanger and Stopes have successfully spread this lie through the work of their clinics and masterfully intertwined it into the hearts of women.

It has been the very source of our demise.

Sanger and Stopes were wrong. Motherhood, or more specifically, the qualities closely linked to it when built upon and used effectively, will not be a distraction but rather lead to our (woman’s) greatest fulfillment. Women are by no means weak. Women are fiercely loyal, passionate and committed. We are strong communicators, intuitive, sensitive and receptive to the needs of others. These qualities are not a matter of opinion but of science.

According to “The Female Brain”, our brains are scientifically proven to be built differently than men’s to allow for these strengths. We, as women, need to reign in these qualities—these blessings. We need to embrace them and master them.

It’s only then that we will recognize and reach true equality with men.

Women today feel like men are ‘beating’ them in the game of life. Why are we so keen on ‘beating them (men) at their own game’? It was never intended to be a competition in the first place. Women, we are not going to ‘win’ anything with the strategy currently in play. Instead, we are killing the heart of the world. We are the very heart, which has the power to turn the head. We are strangling the heart, and thereby killing ourselves and the rest of the world by fighting to ‘be’ someone else.

It is unfortunate that this lie about womanhood, femininity, and motherhood has pervaded our culture so deeply. As I mentioned above, the lie was and continues to be spread largely by ‘women’s health clinics’ founded on the principles of Sanger and Stopes. Their lies which include the supposed good of contraception and abortion have and continue to hurt us women. In fact, in and of themselves they have limited our access to comprehensive health, instead of offering it (the commonly held belief which is a whole other spiel for another time).

Both lies—contraception and abortion—are the greatest threat to life that our world has ever seen.

So, as I am sure you have already gathered, I am a woman against abortion. That does not make me a woman against women. Women, I am not saying that you do not matter. I am not saying that your future does not matter. I am not saying that the situation that you find yourself in is not unexpected, scary, stressful, painful, difficult, or a million other possibilities.

But the simple, undeniable, scientific fact that must first be recognized is that the fetus that grows inside of you is a baby—a living human being.

At eight weeks old, your baby’s heart started beating. Someone has to fight for that beating human heart. You are a woman. You are strong, fierce, loving, and brave. You are a mom.

FOR YOUR BABY—be stronger, fiercer, braver, and more loving than you’ve ever been. 

Your heart beats for your baby, your lungs breath for her, but she moves inside of you on her own. She hiccups, sleeps, flips, drinks, pees and poops. She is her own body, her own person. She is a soul. True, you bear a great responsibility now. If you can choose for your body, who is going to ‘choose’ for her body, your precious baby’s body?

It’s an honor, women, to be a mother. Yes, maybe a difficult and scary one, but carrying this child is one of the only things that you can do which men cannot. Let us celebrate this, not stifle it! 

I spend 40 blessed, albeit difficult hours a week caring for sick, suffering, and sometimes dying babies. Some of these babies were born as early as 22 weeks gestation—meaning mom was only 5.5 months pregnant when she delivered this tiny, precious child. This baby’s heart beats, and lungs’ breathe. Her brain continues to grow and develop at a rapid pace and is very easily impacted by all we do to her and inflict upon her. She moves, reacts to touch, and experiences pain. She recognizes mom’s voice and smell. She does best skin to skin on mom’s chest. There, her temperature and vitals stabilize. This baby does not simply live, but—let me tell you—she fights. She fights hard for her life…and I fight for it too.

I take abortion seriously, but I also take it personally. Not only because it takes an innocent life, and as humans we should all defend life, but also because frankly, I find it to be an insult to my life’s work and the tireless dedication shown by my fellow nurses and neonatologists. Doctors spend countless hours and an outpouring of knowledge specializing in this field. News flash: the patients of fetal specialists are fetuses. How have we let these lies about women and babies lead to a complete denial of an entire realm of medicine which is still at it’s height, the forefront of its knowledge, development, and progress?

I do not make a habit of swearing, as I think it’s unbecoming of women, but I’ll be damned if you tell me that the small, sick, and suffering babies that I care for on a daily basis are not worth saving, loving, fighting, and suffering for. I’ll be damned if you tell me that before exiting the miraculous home that is her mother’s womb, that she is not a living, breathing, human being.

Babies are strong, so I implore you to be strong for them!

 The contradiction and lies have to stop. Babies are babies are babies. Life is life is life. And yes, women of the March… women are women, but please, I beg of you, your right to ‘be a woman’, ‘to have a body’, cannot trump the rights of defenseless babies from being recognized as human beings. Otherwise, you’re a walking contradiction and you’ll only continue to strangle yourself and your greatest potential by buying into these unfortunate lies. Until we get rid of that which is hurting us, we will continue to make no progress.

Embrace that which makes you, you, you woman of God! 

- Written by Emily Knorr, a NICU nurse in Chicago, Illinois.

108 comments :

  1. Wow!!! πŸ™ŒπŸ’—πŸ’―

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    1. Very, very well written!! Thank you for voicing our thoughts and prayers for the unborn. God bless you!

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    2. Thank you for lovingly expressing the strong emotions that come with respecting ALL life. We have to stand and reach women. It is such a heinous lie.

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    3. I would like every woman who so enthusiasticly supports these women's right movements would read about Margaret Sanger and Marie Stopes. And for the other side, of course, read Theology of the Body. Thank you so much for your awesome post.

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    4. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Wonderful thoughts. Well done!!

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    5. Interesting article, but I take exception with three comments/points she made - 1) protecting Roe v. Wade was just one reason women were marching around the world; 2) "contraception (and abortion)—are the greatest threat to life"; 3) "wholesome and comprehensive women’s healthcare is sorely lacking in today’s health industry". I can't/won't argue the abortion topic, but it's irresponsible to denigrate contraception that helps prevent pregnancy (and in turn, the potential need for abortion). She also doesn't offer any solutions to replace the valuable (and sometimes life saving) services that the entities referenced provides to address women's healthcare.

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    7. MacIntyre: I support the whole contraception thing if it prevents abortions. If we did away with 90 percent of ALL healthcare, and just used it for birth control, it would be well spent.
      But as far as womens care goes, I don't think folks realize that the local county health department does a MUCH better job providing these services to women and birth control, AND charges way less for the service. Birth control from planned Parenthood is actually kind of pricey for the people who use its services.

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    8. MacIntyre - some forms of contraception cause abortion. Community Health Clinics, which provide TRUE comprehensive health care, can easily replace Planned Parenthoods. And they don't do abortions.

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    9. I appreciate your perspective in this essay, as it takes me back 34+ years to my own first years as an RN. I also have always shared the passion for women’s health, infant health. I was idealistic (still am) and really felt an individual power to be a part of the process in taking care of families. Because family is the key to health promotion in the community. I grew in my role as a health care provider, working as a Labor and Delivery nurse for a few years before finally landing in the NICU where I have grown older and wiser. The difference between the young idealistic me and the older idealistic me is that my perspective has changed drastically. Perhaps it is because my NICU experience is a vast one. The babies and families are the sickest, most anomalous, and most premature. It has forced me to look beyond the obvious fact that women are mothers, regardless of their ability to gestate. It enabled me to see a broader world, where God’s hand takes us out of our little world and asks us to experience the lives of all. It has made me an activist to a greater degree for the very values I embraced in the beginning of my career. Being a mother is the essence of womanhood. That comes with the need to have access to resources to be a mother. Sometimes, that means not becoming a mother through gestation. It means supporting and helping other women and families to do what they need. It most often is not in alignment with what I might have needed in the same situation. I wish for you a similar journey. I think you will find it a blessing. I will continue to work for equal rights for everybody, no matter their station or privilege in life.

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  2. Well said,there are many of us that stand for what you wrote. God forgive our ignorance, rebellion and bitterness.






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  3. This is so incredibly well-said. You write with such expertise and wisdom for such a young woman- you are strong and powerful too, and I hope your words reach millions who need to hear them!

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  4. This is beautifully and passionately written. May God bless you abundantly in your work, Emily; and thank you for sharing your heart with us.

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  5. Beautifully said, thank you for writing this such a powerful and eloquent argument for women and babies rights!

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  6. Wonderfully written and truly heartfelt. I too am a nurse, and thank you for your dedication and compassion in your work! I'll be damned if I'm not gonna share this!! :)

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    1. Emily, I appreciate your enthusiasm and your fresh perspective of the world,but as a mother and a professional who sees the world from a slightly different view than you I have to respectfully disagree with some of your statements. You see the beginnings of lives, the hope, the endless possibilities and this is admirable. I, on the other hand see women who shouldn't be pregnant....some due to serious health issues, some due to their in capability to care for a child, not to mention children who are either trapped in the system or in less than desirable living conditions, both physically and mentally. Just because we were created to mother, doesn't mean everyone should. Those that shouldn't mother or choose not to mother are not less than those who choose the opposite. Using contraception does not lessen or hurt my mothering. Choosing contraception (prohibiting fertilization from occurring ) is not ending a life and does not damage your life's work or purpose. God bless you and the work your team does for families. I pray that God also continues to bless other health care professionals and social workers as they fight to keep children safe from individuals that mother because they can, not because they should. Just because God gives women the ability, gift and genetics to mother doesn't mean they should and if you are suggesting the opposite is risky, reckless and irresponsible. I don't want to put words in your mouth, forgive me if I've misunderstood your message

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    2. Thank you Heather! My thoughts exactly.

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    3. If you don't believe in God, the sanctity of life will not mean much nor will the idea of God giving life and giving purpose to it. Assuming you do believe in God, though (you referenced Him), I'm not understanding how you can think your perspective on who should be a mother is of greater authority than who God thinks should be a mother. Once someone is pregnant, God has spoken and not only is that woman 'supposed to be a mother', but she's also supposed to carry a child (a life). Taking things out of God's hands, or overruling His authority with our preferences is never a good idea. Also, you said contraception "does not damage (her) life's work or purpose". Maybe not, but it might damage yours. God bless.

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    4. To Heather, I disagree with you. But my reply is for one reason. I want to thank you for such a respectful response. Gosh, if only all of our dissent could be expressed in such a peaceful, dignified way. ..oh what a world it would be. Thank you.

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    6. Thank you Heather for your thoughtful and resoectful response...My
      Beliefs are totally in line with yours...I honor the authors right to her beliefs but applaud your strength in disagreement to them

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    7. Rebecca Keebaugh, you spoke what I was just thinking! Who is to decide besides God that a woman should or should not be pregnant? Every life that God creates has a purpose, whether it comes to fruition or does not. Every life is a gift of God and has a reason for being on earth. Heather is being presumptious, albeit it in a civilized and seemingly caring manner, that she knows better than her maker who should carry and give life. Thank you Emily for your kindness and dedication to life. You sound like an exceptional young woman. Heather, you sound like a very caring person and wonderful caregiver, but slightly misguided. I'll pray for you!

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    8. Heather, your comment was kindly and graciously expressed. Thank you for that. My only exception would be that many women who should not be mothers often are not responsible with contraception, whether it is available or not. And when babies come along who aren't wanted by their biological parents, there are thousands of loving people who have dreamed of having a child but are unable to for one reason or another. Those parents of the heart would gladly open their homes and raise that child as their own. Adoption can be a blessing to all involved.

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    10. I have to agree with Rebecca Keebaugh! I appreciate God being acknowledged. God giveth life and taketh away. Only He knows why.

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    11. The birth control pill kills a fertilized egg and doesn't allow it to implant. That in itself is an abortion. My question is why have sex during the one time a month you can get pregnant? Are women so out of touch with reality and so selfish that they cannot do this so that a human being is not affected in an adversely way? All I am hearing is it is my body. Well, then be responsible for your body and take action that will bless it and give you greater peace. Believe me, abortion is not a peaceful solution. It will stay with you until you die. Have some respect for yourselves and for women in general. May God bless all women and give us the wisdom to act according to His love.

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    12. Respectfully Debbi Brooks, that is absolutely not how birth control pills work. They do not cause abortion. They prevent ovulation, so there is no egg to even be fertilized. If you forget to take the pill or take it at different times, you can then ovulate and get pregnant. Taking the pill will have no effect at that point and a woman would remain pregnant. All I ask is that you do some research before making sweeping claims like this. Birth control pills help to greatly reduce abortion rates.

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    13. I thought she was speaking of birth control killing women, not babies. That is backed up by multiple class-action lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies for producing birth control pills that have killed women. Also, breast cancer is on the rise like never before in very young women. Who's to say it isn't caused by birth control pills which are full of hormones. Just something to thik about.

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    14. Heather Thank you for your response to this blog. It is a good point that not everyone who can get pregnant should be pregnant. It is one of many reasons for appropriate and accessible contraception. It is a well documented fact that access to reliable birth control drastically reduces the number of pregnancy terminations.

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  7. WOW ! how wonderfully written for such a young lady ! I too am a nurse and my hat is off to you for your chosen area of specialty ! God bless you !!!!

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  8. Well thought out...being a mother or learning the qualities of mothering changes your life-no matter how prepared you are for it.
    It teaches you to protect and to share your food with little fingers when you just want to sit alone. By trying to prepare their hearts for what's to come in life it has changed mine to see beyond what I can prepare for. Thanks for your article!

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  9. Very well written and stated. Thank you for the time you spent writing this and also you do for so many babies and their parents. God Bless you

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  10. The past weeks events have been weighing on my mind. You have summed up my thoughts and beliefs beautifully! Thank you!

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  12. As the granny of two beautiful twin grand daughters who spent the first four weeks after delivery in an NICU ( coincidentally in Chicago❤) I thank you from the bottom of my very full heart for your dedication. I also thank God for blessing you with the courage and the eloquence to be a beautiful voice of reason in this often irrational debate.

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  13. So good, young lady. Wise beyond your years, experienced more than most of us. Keep speaking truth...be the light. Thank you for sharing ❤️

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  14. Wow!...Emily, God has amazingly gifted you, such a young woman, wise beyond your years! I pray your post is carried far and wide...Your words are God's words--His words do not return void. Our son a 34-yr-old former patient of CHOC NICU...I am so grateful for Jill his primary nurse (became NICU RN after her son was a NICU patient). At 18 hrs old (31 wks gestation) our son was taken from St Joe's to CHOC, was intebated at incorrect pressure causing both lungs to simultaneously collapse...but God brought him back! Truly a miracle! All life is to be respected, honored and cared for because Life comes from God. God's Word, the Bible clearly explains how we are to treat our bodies, abstain from sex outside marriage in order to protect women and the life that comes from their bodies. Our responsibility as women is a holy calling.

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  15. Except these women aren't "women of God". Many say they "believe", but they do not Know or follow Jesus Christ

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  16. Heather: I was born to one of those women who was not in a position to be a mother. I was given up for adoption. I grew up, raised seven children, and now have 6 grandchildren. I now have a daughter who would love to give one of the babies conceived by someone who cannot take care of it a loving home. She would be a great mother. Abortion is not an option. If it had been legal when I was conceived, I would not have been born according to my biological mother.

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    1. I have incredible respect for Birthmothers as both of my children are adopted. I'm grateful our 2 BM'S chose birth because I am painfully aware that if they'd chosen to end their pregnancies I wouldn't be a mom myself. I wanted to point out to Emily that having birth control available doesn't make women less of a mother in that birth control is preventing fertilization and isn't ending a life as abortion does. I understood her to imply that ending life via birth control was an insult to all women, all mothers and the work she has dedicated her life to. I respect her role that protects young lives, but I don't agree that birth control should be banned because women are created primarily to mother

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    2. If you read up on what birth control really does, you will see that it CAN be a form of abortion. There are three steps to the birth control pill. The first two steps are completely fine with making it hard for the sperm to reach the egg. The pill has one more third step to it just in case the other two fail and the sperm does reach the egg and there is conception. It then hardens the uterus wall so that fertilized egg cannot attach to it and grow. Since there is conception in this last step, it is a form of abortion.

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    3. I just wanted to reply as I hate there being incorrect information out there. Birth controls with estrogen and progesterone work just like the body would as if you were pregnant. You don't have periods when you're pregnant because of these two hormones. The endometrial lining is not thickening up to prepare for implantation because of such. Birth controls mimic this natural process except the woman is not pregnant. Many eggs get fertilized and do not implant, if you feel that is abortion then that is your belief. But birth control just makes that endometrium not thicken up and prepare for implantstion. Some people feel morally okay with this as sometimes eggs will be fertilized and not implant naturally. Some eggs do still implant, though, as there is an average 1% fail rate with these types of contraceptive methods.

      The "day after" pill is also just a huge dose of hormone. If you're already pregnant it will not unimplant the baby and create an abortion (as I know some people have the idea this pill does make abortion). If the baby is implanted and you take the morning after pill you stay pregnant.

      Those of us who use contraceptive methods to prevent pregnancy should seek out what the physiology is and pray to know what we feel comfortable with and what we believe. I just wanted to point out that birth control doesn't harden a uterus, except it mimics a very natural process.

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    4. Exactly heather! Women are not created to simply mother and sex is not intended only for procreation. Anglican Bishops at the Lambreth Conference acknowledged the need for birth control, accepting that "procreation was not the sole purpose of Christian marriage"

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    5. Exactly heather! Women are not created to simply mother and sex is not intended only for procreation. Anglican Bishops at the Lambreth Conference acknowledged the need for birth control, accepting that "procreation was not the sole purpose of Christian marriage"

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  17. A working woman says women are not suppose to compete with men. Right. And she uses Sanger and Stopes to try to explain why women shouldn't try to be like men. Women don't want to be men. Women want to have the same rights, access to jobs as men. Women want to be heard like men. WHY do Christian Conservatives/GOP voters believe women shouldn't have what men "naturally" have? Women's brains are NOT different from men's. There's little anatomy that is different between men and women outside of reproduction. Birth control is NOT detrimental to women. It is not a lie being told to women that it gets in the way of their "gift" of motherhood. Sanger and Stopes did NOT hate motherhood. Sanger didn't create the birth control movement in the US, and Stopes in the UK, to have sex. Sanger thought excessive sex was detrimental, that people should control themselves. For Sanger and Stopes, birth control was a way for married women to have the sex they were expected to have with husbands, improve their health, control the size of the family to limit what they could afford, and have control over their bodies. Birth control was also a way to prevent back alley abortions. Neither woman believed in abortions. Many poor women lived in over crowded slums (many white women lived in slums) who had multiple births, babies that died young in disease and poverty, women who died in childbirth. She was trying to help women gain a sense of control, to live to take care of their children. Wealthy people already knew how to not get pregnant and have sex. They were trying to give the poor woman the same chance as a wealthy one.

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    1. OMG, Joanne, read some of Margaret Sanger's letters. She believed that abortion was a great way to limit the spread of the Negro population. She was a huge proponent of eugenics. It would be great if people would stop worshiping her as some great proponent of women's rights. She had her own, very dark, agenda.

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    2. Hear hear! Bravo Danny, I've read the same thing..

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    3. Danny and Dolores, please check this with Snopes. There is no validity in this claim of Margaret Sanger being in support of eugenics.

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    4. Joanne, You are in correct about male and female brains not being different. There is a difference in the physiology of women's and men's brains. There is a connection between the two hemispheres of a female brain that men don't usually have. There are other differences that are being studied now. That suggest differences in a male and female brain. So it's not just reproductive anatomy that has a difference.

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    5. I have also read (vetted-her letters) the same regarding Sangers original motivation to contraception. She felt the white and black inferior population should be curbed. Snopes doesn't know everything.

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    6. Margaret Sanger was a proud Eugenics advocate. The creation of a Master Race. It had more to do with class & education than race.

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    7. "There's little anatomy that is different between men and women outside of reproduction."
      Uh...Maybe you should rethink this statement. I've talked to physical therapists and doctors who would patently disagree. Women are built for nurturing while men are built for providing. For example, women's torsos are built for carrying things close to their chest, to the front. We are naturally designed to hold close to our hearts. Men, however, are muscled to carry and pull to the side. Their shoulders can literally bear the weight of their loads. Our chest and shoulder muscles are FAR different because we are physically designed to do different things. Reproduction is not the only thing that makes us wholly male or female.

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  18. We must be soul sisters! You have very eloquently stated my feelings exactly. My first passion is my husband, 3 children and 2 grandchildren and my second passion is the children and families in my home daycare. I am
    very proud to be an independent woman who is a successful small business owner. I am even more proud to be the woman God created me to be. THANK YOU for your passion, your heart and for the woman you are!!!!

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  19. Emily, thank-you so much for your very wise words and thoughts. God will bestow many blessings on people that respect that we are all created in God's image. My wife has been a nurse for over 40 years and worked in all departments of a hospital. She also talks about the joys of working in OB, and caring for the newborn children. The tenderness of a woman's heart is the love of the world.

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  20. I appreciate your sweet words and defense of the babies of this world. I am a nurse and truly agree that abortion is ending another's life. A women's most holy calling is that of motherhood and women are equal to men, though we are different. I'm not sure if I agree with all of your differences and I definitely feel contraception is not murder, unlike abortion. A woman should be able to choose when she wants to get pregnant. Not that it will always happen, but she should be able to decide when she is ready through using contraception, not abortion. Thank you for your lovely defense of motherhood, true feminism and the unborn. Though we may not completely agree, I respect your words.

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    1. So, if a woman chooses when she gets pregnant, then why can she not choose to abstain during the few days a month she can get pregnant? Are we so weak, we cannot do this?

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    2. Debbi, I think you're missing the point. Sperm can survive for more than 24 hr, meaning there is a bigger window for potential fertilization than just one day. Also, most women have NO IDEA when they ovulate, and it could potentially vary from month to month. Women that "cannot abstain during the few days a month" they can get pregnant are weak? Umm, what did I just read?! Last I checked, having sex was not only about one party, nor does it make one weak.

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    3. Debbi, sex is not intended simply for procreation! Anglican Bishops at the Lambreth Conference acknowledged the need for birth control, accepting that "procreation was not the sole purpose of Christian marriage"

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  21. Emily, as a very liberal pro-women's rights woman, who only missed the march because I was at home nursing my five year old and myself back to health after a nasty bout with the flu, I will admit that your post is very thought-provoking. While you lose me with your argument concerning contraception, which merely prevents fertilization... an option that I believe our society REQUIRES, not just for women "unfit to be mothers" but for women who do not want to be mothers right NOW, or who are going through health issues, or military deployment, or college... your stance on abortion has merit. I have always considered myself pro-woman, pro-family. Encouraging women to make decisions that set themselves and their families up for their best lives possible, financially, emotionally, and physically. But your post has made me dig deep.

    I recall several years back when I did not have health insurance and was forced to receive gynecological care at an institution that also provided abortions. When I needed a simple procedure concerning cysts, I was required to go to the clinic where the actual abortions are handled. As I was walking in, I was met with protesters and I remember being really annoyed because, "dude- I am not having an abortion!" I kept thinking about how terrible that must be to have to make that decision and face those crowds. Nobody really WANTS to have an abortion, do they? I remember feeling mad, and then sad for those women... never considering the babies.

    Then, once inside, I was left in the room, in stirrups, while the Dr. left to do something else. It was so quiet and dark and I strted really thinking about what happened in those rooms every day. At first I thought, again, of the women and how emotional they must feel laying on that bed... I started feeling all of the pain trapped in those walls. But then I realized that Inwas laying in the same room where babies were murdered. It felt like a room of lost little souls. I decided then and there that I would never have an abortion for myself, no matter what.

    I have since grown up. I am mid 30's now with three children and I am sitting here thinking about why I consider something okay for others that I would not consider okay for myself. I think it is because I want women to have the option in case of a medical emergency mostly... I think it is a decision I would only struggle with knowing that I am a mother who needed to be alive for my other children. I am especially aware of the possibility of this type of situation, as I lost a good friend last year to stage four breast cancer. Breast cancer she did not treat immediately because she was pregnant with her daughter. Now there are three children with no mother. I have also now been through a hysterectomy and double mastectomy, so I have. Very unique perspective of "that could have been me."

    What you have written here has the potential to sweep far and wide, changing opinions and lives to those who are open, especially if you were to lighten up on your argument about contraceptives. For most women, the two are not even in the same field. I fear that the rest of your words may be lost on someone who that argument stands out to, and the rest really is great. You are a smart young lady.

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    1. What a powerful statement. Thank you for sharing it. Emily is an incredible woman. I hope more women read her letter and your response.

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    2. I teared up reading your story. Thank you for sharing! I agree-Emily's words have the potential to do wonders for this discussion around the country.

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  22. The march was not about abortion rights alone. That was one small part. Not all marchers believed in abortion and even more would never have one. Not believeing in abortin is not a reason to disparage the marchers. 1.9 million women and men marched around the world. Many of them were parents. And hundreds of thousands of children marched with them. We all know the value of human life, the value of our children. And still we marched. We marched because we our chidlren. We marched to honor and celebrate life.

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    1. I agree. Abortion was by far not the biggest issue at hand here.

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    2. As far. As I could tell, the biggest issue was to let Donald Trump know that he is hated by so many.

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  23. WOW!!! I Love your last paragraph. Wonderfully written. You are speaking my mind in every word.

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  24. While I appreciate your thoughts on abortion, I think you misunderstand and misrepresent the purpose of the March here. I would encourage you to read the principles of the march itself. Many pro life women did march, in addition.

    I was working so I could not march, but if I had I would have marched for disability rights, sexual assault survivors and women of color experiencing racism in this country. Many others did too. It was the largest gathering of disabled people in U.S. history.

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    1. This post confuses me. And I write this with all sincerity.
      Many Pro-life groups write that they were not permitted to participate in this march.
      We have laws in place to protect against discrimination (LGBT would argue this). So if things aren't where these groups want them to be, why didn't they march during Obama's tenure? Pres. Trump had only been in office 24 hours, so he wasn't responsible for any denigration in these ares over the last eight years. And, he certainly hasn't had any time to prove that he is going to eradicate these rights. I have a disabled niece and it's her mother that fights at the local level (school) for the rights her daughter already has. These (most) issues need to be addressed at the State level.
      To millions of viewers this march was solely against Pres. Trump, especially in light of the fact that they were marching while wearing pink hats that represented a woman's P****. And to say that those hats represented anything else is false. I sat with a dozen woman as they made theirs and clearly identified the reason.
      As a woman and human being this march completely confounded me.

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  25. Very well written article, with many thoughtful and heartfelt points. I agree with much of what is said. However, I think further fact checking might need to be done; Sanger actually discouraged abortion, and Stopes altogether disavowed it and did not wish to make it part of her practice. Neither thought of motherhood as evil. I understand they laid the foundation for modern day Planned Parenthood and other reproductive clinics, but this article doesn't really portray a fair representation of their ideals.

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  27. Very well written and insightful. Rather the information about the abortion clinics founders is correct or not, it doesn't change the FACT that babies inside a womb are human beings, and choosing to kill them is murder, rather it's "legal" or not. Even if you are not a believer of God's word, how do you justify murder? Because are government allows murder of babies as long as they are still in the womb? So, I guess if the law is only set up to protect women outside the womb, than that somehow makes it justifiable to kill the ones that are still growing inside the womb? I guess if you live your life only by what our government says is legal, than I can see how you justify murder. I personally believe in a creator that is higher than our government, so I will not support any law that has anything to do with killing His creation. Legal doesn't always mean right!

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  28. I respect you for working and providing medical care in the NICU. However, it is obvious you have not considered the after effects upon a raped woman who discovers she has become pregnant from such a violent, brutal, vile act. It is obvious you have never encountered a young pregnant woman victim of incest. You have never encountered a pregnant woman whose life is threatened by the very state of pregnancy. For these reasons and these very valid reasons alone, abortion needs to remain legal. We no longer have the facilities that provided prenatal care, a home, pregnancy support, proper nutrition for a single unwed mother due to massive defunding and budget cuts throughout this country. We are seeing some of the highest prematurity rates and still experience one of the highest infant mortality rates in the U.S. among highly developed countries!

    Emily, you seem to be opposed to contraceptives, abortions yet I don't see anywhere in your article where women can go to obtain the support and prenatal care they need, where they can go to obtain proper nutrition to have a healthy baby, where they can go to receive proper living conditions and parenting support. Planned Parenthood, which you obviously oppose as well, has provided numerous women I know with well-women visits and physical exams, cancer screenings (five women I know of who would not be here if not for PP), contraceptives, exceptional prenatal care when these women were in need and have had no other organization to help them.

    Conception and birth of a desired child is truly one of God's greatest miracles. But to bring forth healthy babies, a woman needs to have proper prenatal care, proper nutrition, proper and safe home environment, and exceptional support. Until we see facilities such as Booth Hospital Birth Center and Home Like Care Center restored, we will unfortunately experience continued high prematurity and infant mortality rates.

    I am proud to have marched with more than half a million men, women, children, elderly people in the Women's March in Washington DC. I marched for equal rights for all women, for all daughters, for all granddaughters, for all future generations of women to come, in hopes they will not have to endure the inequalities inflicted upon this generation of women. I marched with all races, religions, and people from all different work backgrounds, including physicians, nurses, medical researchers, educators, firefighters, law enforcement, unemployed, professors, students, office workers, maintenance workers, government employees and numerous others. I have never before experienced such unity for women's rights! 100 years ago, women's suffragists marched and protested silently for all women to have the right to vote. They were imprisoned and it took until 1920 before they won and the 19th amendment was past. Let it not be another 100 years before we see equality in the workplace and personal lives of all women!



    Additionally, why is PP the only place targeted, when in reality hospitals across the country have abortions performed daily by obstetricians?

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    1. Because PP is funded by taxpayer money.

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  29. BEAUTIFUL article, one that circles again in my heart and mind over and over. As a social worker by trade, and a mother of 4 so far, I see where the struggle of parenthood and oppression is real. Yet, I also see the choice left out of the pro choice conversation consistently- a woman's access to a safe, free and legal adoption. Adoption RESPECTS the dignity of mother and child as well as a potential future family of love. Women need support, love and forgiveness - and healing when they've felt pressured into the choice that they knew would leave their hearts to break. We must pray for and with women who've been scarred by abortion. And remember that being pro life means loving them, the unborn, the immigrant, the prisoner on death row, and fighting for the rights of all the oppressed. Thank you for your amazing witness and love hearing more young people learning about the genius of Theology of the Body. It's message is the revolution we need in our broken world.

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  30. Ugh....this whole thing makes me want to never become a mother(something that I've always thought that I would be one day. This is a very narrow view of what a woman can be allowed to be. The women's march was about a lot more than reproductive rights. If you did your research or even looked at the Women's March website, you would have seen that it was about protecting the rights of all marginalized groups in a political climate that is scary for some. It was about standing in solidarity with each other with truth, acceptance, and love no matter the way that you choose to live your life. I marched alongside thousands of mothers and wives as well as women who choose not to take on a motherly roll because they feel fulfilled in their own careers and other relationships. And women weren't the only ones marching. It was about protecting the rights of the people and progressing forward into a more accepting future.

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    1. I think that most people understand that it wasn't just about abortion. The person that wrote this article was writing from her personal experience in one of the areas of the protest. I personally, as a women don't understand the whole protest. I don't feel that I don't have rights, or freedom, or choices in life! What is it exactly that you feel that you don't have rights as a women? This march started out as a Anti Trump "you're not my president" backed up and funded by democratic liberals. Do you realize that 1/2 of American women have different views in life? This march did NOT represent ALL women.

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  31. Your article is beautifully written and expresses my beliefs exactly. It saddens me to see so many women who deny the truth of what abortion and contraception have done to them and our society. The facts are that Margaret Sanger was on a crusade to eliminate the black population (there is video proof of her stating this exactly) and that she was driven to advance abortion and contraception to achieve that goal. Also, the fact that it was men who hijacked the feminist movement (reference Bernard Nathanson) with Betty Friedan's blessing in order to push the abortion agenda, have combined to bring us to this point in history. Like I said, I loved your article. I only pray that someone (or several someone's) have the grace to hear what you say and embrace it. I'm afraid the folks I know who feel differently will not.

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  32. God bless you for your courage, compassion, and wisdom beyond your years.

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  33. I'm sad you got Sanger so wrong! She never thought motherhood was evil! She watched women die giving birth to so many children their bodies would give out! She didn't want women to have to suffer through having 20+ babies and then die leaving all without a mother! She cherished her work to help women save themselves so they so they could stay around and care for their children. Sanger was a strident supporter of BIRTH CONTROL! She was not pro-abortion but rather pro-choice. She was saddened and by seeing women get back alley abortions and dying as a result. Her life's work was to help increase support for women's health issues. How dare you take down a woman who fought to have women's health be an actual thing! I'm shocked you say you're passionate about women's health but you obviously have no understanding or compassion for it.

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    1. CandyMickey, you are mistaken by Ms. Sanger's intentions. She was an advocate of eugenics - so was Hitler. And I'll quote Sanger, "As an advocate of Birth Control, I wish to take advantage of the present opportunity to point out that the unbalance between the birth rate of the "unfit" and the "fit", admittedly the greatest present menace to civilization, can never be rectified by the inauguration of a cradle competition between these two classes. In this matter, the example of the inferior classes, the fertility of the feeble-minded, the mentally defective, the poverty-stricken classes, should not be held up for emulation to the mentally and physically fit though less fertile parents of the educated and well-to-do classes. On the contrary, the most urgent problem today is how to limit and discourage the over-fertility of the mentally and physically defective."

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  34. Emily,

    Thank you. Your words embody all that I am thinking about right now as I see what our present world has come to in these current affairs. I too am a NICU nurse & as well as a student of NNP school. I too have a passion for women's health and particularly the prenatal journey a woman goes through & plan to pursue my degree in women's health NP as well. This has stirred deep emotions and I'm so grateful that you took the time to write this. It is freeing to see someone look at it all with this perspective as well. Thank you.

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  35. By not supporting organizations that promote women's health services, you automatically make women's health not the priority. You say you have a passion for it, but denounce places that make birth control, screenings, and other services affordable to women who would otherwise not be able to afford it. Abortions are in the minority of services performed by these organizations - only 3% of Planned Parenthood services are abortions! Either way though, it is not your place to tell women what they can do with their bodies. I am a fervent lover of Jesus, but I am disgusted by the amount of shame that surrounds woman who need these services. I also don't like how you refer to women's "inherent call to motherhood." I think this only furthers unfair stereotypes about women and many lead perfectly fulfilling lives either as single women or in a relationship where neither partner wants kids.

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    1. Only women can bear children. That is the very definition of "inherent".

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    2. LOL. Sorry I got as far as only 3% of PP services are for abortion. You should do some research and find out the truth, because that is a bold lie!

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  36. Hello Emily,

    Thank you for a well written and heartfelt post. I am also a NICU nurse in the Chicago area. In my 14 years of practice I have wept with parents for a variety of reasons.

    I've been there when there are 4 withdrawal babies just born while I'm hugging the 5th baby in the triage area who was born with an incurable disease.

    I've cried with them when the little bitty born much too early doesn't make it.

    I've worked with families who heard that heartbeat at 8 weeks, and at their 20 week ultrasound find out their child has such severe anomalies they are incompatible w life.

    I have been blessed with 2 healthy sons. I did not know the relief I would feel when I went in for my 20 week ultrasound to see that both of them had a brain, heart, lungs, and all other organs intact.

    For the mother that does not experience this; For the mother that has the devastating news that her child will not live outside he womb; For the mother that has to decide whether to carry this child for another 20 weeks knowing the pain of losing her child is what awaits them... I will fight for this mother because that is not my decision to make for her.

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  37. This article is beautiful. I feel like it is a perspective of someone who lives a perfect life in a perfect world. What about the rape that happens every 3 minutes? Why does not the Bible tell us how to deal with rapists? I was raped and beaten very badly by a monster of a man. I gladly took the morning after pill, as I would have been so mentally unstable if I ended up pregnant by that monster, I would have stabbed my own stomach and not cared if I lived or die. Why are we not taught how to deal with the monsters of this world? But we can say we are taught what is proper for women to do? Seems like we only get half of the story. I need a full story. Why make a rape victim carry a baby? Why victimize her again? How can a medical professional think this is OK?

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  38. Stupid.
    Would love to see a source where Sanger and Stopes say motherhood is the ultimate evil. Have your own opinions but do not spread falsehoods to support them.

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  39. Bravo! Very well written. Yes - if only we could harness this incredible "women-power" for good in the world instead of this evil that pervades. Keep on writing girl - keep on fighting for those babies and their rights!

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  40. Nicely written. As a NICU RN for 27 years this is so real. Thank you for describing it so eloquently.

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  41. As a mother who has been blessed with three beautiful sons I thank God every day for their presence in my life. Two of these adult sons have died from different but terribly anguishing diseases, one in 1986 and the other in 2008. I am 84 years young and for the first time had the courage to stand up and march with two of my adult granddaughters, a niece and her Hispanic husband. The people we encountered on the march had varying purposes and I would venture to say abortion was a minor issue based on the number of children I saw. Of the hundreds of women I personally know worldwide (personally or thru online Catholic.Womens group), who marched, none of them were marching for abortion. I admire you Emily for the work you do. For eight years I volunteered to work with severely handicapped youth, some abandoned and some parents needing respite care. It was a privege to be a part of that community of love. Please do. It disparage an entire group of women with diverse purposes, who came together in peace, love and kindness to seek justice for those in most need of it - not by attacking, demeaning or ridiculing any individual but by saying here we are, ready to continue our lives to better our world. Sure there were a few there with placards that were distasteful and Madonna did not speak for many of us. That will happen in many large groups. I am prolife at the deepest level but all of life. I want all people to have good health care, educational and training opportunities that do not create huge debts, equal pay or equal skills, food/clothing/housing for each individual, health care prenatal to natural death, immigration reform, welcome and care of refugees. Care and concern for the earth and environment that sustains life, freedom from wars, reform of penal system. Those are some f the many reasons I and others marched. And some people feel threatened by women stepping up - they think we belong quietly and subserviantly in our homes. I marched for my children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, because I love them and want the best for their future. Please don't narrow the purpose and vision of the March to an idealogue about abortion.

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  42. Thank You....You words are reflective of goodness, light and of the majority of women..

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  43. Womens march was not about abortion rights as much as it was about someone who thinks it's ok to denigrate women, and minorities and the disabled. Who thinks Mexicans and Muslims are the enemy and that it's OK to support White Supremacists and a Russian Dictator, to cheat on all three of his wives and grab women by their most private parts. Yes, many women who Marched also think they should have the right to choose but that is NOT why 3 million women worldwide turned out. They did it because they are sick of violence and hatred, racism and gun violence. More spending in wars than on education and healthcare. They are sick of homophobia and islamaphobia and young men whether they be cops or suspected law breakers being shot down in the streets. They are tired of sexual predation and trafficking and colleges that look the other way when athletes rape innocent girls. They are sick of drug companies making billions of dollars in profits by jacking up the prices of Epipens and Cancer drugs that people must have to survive while oir Congressmen make millions investing n drug company stock. And of the fossil fuel companies that are so afraid worldwide acknowledgement of Climate Change and the trends in alternative energy might dismay their stockholders despite the fact that we are destroying the earth any hope of our children's chances of living in a world with clean air and adequate food and water. Saturday's March was about alot more than Abortion rights.

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  44. "The founders of the two largest abortion providers, Margaret Sanger of Planned Parenthood and Dr. Marie Stopes of Marie Stopes International believed motherhood to be the ultimate evil."
    Can you cite this, I don't want to not believe you but I can't seem time find them both saying this. I've seen Sanger say things that could allude to it but I have found nothing from Stopes. Thanks.

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  45. Thank you for sharing and God bless you with the ability to continue to bring hope to the babies and parents hoping and fighting.

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  46. Thank you for being a strong woman! This was inspirational.

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  47. Pro-birthers: I can only hope and pray that one day you become truly pro-life. Pro-lifers: I hope and pray that you are not only helping women in need of community support, but actively seeking them out. If you don't know a woman who's considered an abortion, you're doing it wrong; if you're not mightily supporting pregnancy prevention, you're doing it wrong; if you haven't ever seriously considered adoption, you're doing it wrong; if you're not just as offended by the death penalty, starving children in your own backyard, or the homeless person shooting meth just to stay awake so he doesn't literally freeze to death on the street tonight, you're doing it wrong. It may be cheesy, but it's simple and true: What WOULD Jesus do? Do that.

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