NBC News op-ed claims pro-life advocacy tied to White nationalism

Media top headlines January 26

In media news today, MSNBC’s Chris Hayes gets roasted for questioning people who oppose COVID restrictions, The New York Times’ Nikole Hannah-Jones deletes a tweet defending vaccine passports, and a CNN political analyst echoes Biden’s statements comparing Republicans to segregationists.

Abortion advocates are claiming the pro-life movement, including the annual March for Life, is tied to White nationalism, and that those supporting the rights of the unborn might be open to overlooking the racist agendas of White nationalists in favor of solidarity over the controversial issue. 

In a Monday op-ed for NBC News, pro-choice advocates Renee Bracey Sherman and Lizz Winstead argued that the presence of White nationalist groups at last week’s March for Life was a “dog whistle … coming from inside the house,” and that their participation in the march showed pro-life advocates were “ignoring racism.”

“On Friday, anti-abortion organizers once again held the March for Life, an annual gathering on the National Mall featuring anti-abortion rights leaders and schoolchildren bused in from across the country,” Sherman and Winstead wrote. “The speakers appropriated social justice language, claiming that the anti-abortion rights movement is one of love, ‘equality in the womb’ and ‘pro-life is pro-woman’ and that the ‘real racists’ are those of us who stand against state-sanctioned violence and coercion and believe everyone should be able to decide whether, when and how to grow their families.”

“That’s the version of the rally they want you to see. What was happening offstage was far more insidious, even as it was historically predictable,” they added. 

Sherman and Winstead noted that during the really, videos began circulating on social media showing “White supremacists” in attendance, specifically pointing to a group called Patriot Front, which they described as “an extremist outfit that believes the white population is being replaced and needs to get its birthrates up.” 

They added that other videos appeared to show attendees “thanking” the members of the group. 

WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY 21: Anti-abortion activists attend the speaker event of the 49th annual March for Life rally on the National Mall on January 21, 2022 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

“After the videos circulated, the national March for Life organization issued a statement disavowing Patriot Front’s attendance, reiterating its stance for ‘equality in the womb,’ Sherman and Winstead wrote. “However, that condemnation falls flat considering members of Patriot Front have been attending the March for Life since 2017 and made a well-publicized appearance at March for Life’s Chicago event this month.” 

“Let’s be real: Patriot Front and other white nationalists groups don’t crash the March for Life’s party. They show up because the March for Life’s message resonates with them. And it’s clear that plenty of the March for Life’s attendees are at least open to listening to these white nationalist groups’ ideas,” they wrote. 

Sherman and Winstead claimed that restrictions on abortions were historically tied to “increasing anxiety” amongst White nationalists, and that those restrictions had been used in the past to suppress the political power of Black people, as well as other minorities, and “forcibly increase White births.”

They added that the goal of many Whites in the mid-19th century was to outpace Black population growth and maintain dominance over indigenous communities and immigrants. 

WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY 21: Anti-abortion activists participate in the 49th annual March for Life as they march past the U.S. Supreme Court on January 21, 2022 in Washington, DC. The rally draws activists from around the country who are calling on the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion nationwide. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

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“Conservatives jumped on the 1973 Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion, knowing it would make a powerful rallying cry. And it has. Along the way, anti-abortion rights advocates have been all too happy to stand next to, and even court, unsavory allies,” Sherman and Winstead wrote. 

“As two women who’ve had abortions, we’ve always known the threats of the anti-abortion rights movement were real, even as many ignored the evidence. And we’ve watched as they misuse Martin Luther King Jr.’s quotes in memes to promote themselves as saviors for Black babies online while palling around with white nationalists offline,” they added. 

The two admitted that past leaders of the birth control movement also sought to “maintain power through reproductive control,” and that justice movements needed to learn and evolve from their past mistakes. 

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