I am Woman, You Must Deceive Me

By Sass
Featured Rightgrrl May 1999
Founder, Write For Life

September 12, 2000

I am woman, therefore I must be deceived; how utterly condescending a concept.

Am I railing against the patriarchy that surely must be behind such a concept? Am I seething at the makers and influencers of "neo-liberal" policies that have supposedly resulted in I as a woman, becoming a victim along with women everywhere? [1] I am not. My anger and profound disappointment can only be directed at my fellow women. Feminist women to be precise.

The March

The World March of Women is, as Msgr. Vincent Foy describes in Is the March for Women or Against Women, "not simply a march but a movement". [2] According to the Fédération des femmes du Québec, "more than 157 countries and territories are represented and over 5000 groups have signed up. Close to 80 national coordinating bodies have been established."[1] Stemming from a Women's March Against Poverty in Quebec in 1995, the World March of Women 2000 has been portrayed as a noble effort to "change the world" and "eliminate poverty and violence".

Now who could possibly be against that?

The Deception

When Françoise David, president of the Quebec Federation of Women (FFQ) and spokesperson for the World March of Women in the Year 2000, gave her allocution to the General Assembly of the Special Session of the United Nations, she insisted that she was there "to represent the women of North America and both Eastern and Western Europe." She added, "I speak in the name of the diverse women who live in our region : young and older women, of all faiths, ethnic origin and social conditions, white women and women of colour, native women, heterosexual and lesbian women, migrant women and disabled women. We are proud of our diversity but we are aware that it is also a source of discrimination and inequity between women. Therefore, we have decided that we will work together for change."[3]

Certainly, an impressive list, sure to convince all that the World March of Women is inclusive and respectful of all women; with one important exception. Pro-life and pro-family women. The participation of pro-life and pro-family women is simply not wanted for our views, our diversity to be respected; but wanted is our blind submission for the sake of appearances and volume in the march.

Consider that despite the abbreviated version of the formal demands [4] circulating to convince women everywhere of the "altruistic" nature of the march; the formal demands [5] of the march, worded in the typically benign deception-speak common to the pro-abortion movement, list objectives such as "all states must recognize a woman's right to determine her own destiny, and to exercise control over her body and reproductive function" (V-2). This we know to not only include, but pertain most heavily to the issue of abortion on demand. Consider that in explanation of the demands for the investment in aid (for social services) to developing countries (P-4, P-2b), the official demands of the World March of Women 2000 cites the The Oslo Formula (1996), and "defines basic social services as basic education, primary health care, in particular gynecological and obstetric care and population programs, nutrition programs, access to safe water and to sanitation, as well as institutional means to provide these services." [emphasis added] Further, we learn that "For the World March, it is not a simply question of "needs" but rather of fundamental "rights"."

I, as a woman, would like to see all women treated equally and with respect. I too, would like for all women to have the necessities of life, and a chance for a little more. I though, as a woman, cannot agree that abortion on demand, population control and such "rights" are the way to achieve that. It seems the World March of Women 2000 organizers not only would have all women believe that (if they could), but they insist that all women toe that party line. In the "Values underlying the action" subsection of the "Why a March" page [1], clearly stated is "participating groups must subscribe to the objectives and overall plan of action for the March but remain independent as regards organizing the action in their respective countries". So while Catholics, pro-family and pro-life individuals the world over are being led down the garden path thinking that their participation in the march couldn't possibly be construed as support for such objectives, the organizers must certainly be overcome with zealous joy for the ostrich mentality of the women out there, who have traded their submission to the "patriarchy" for submission to the feminists.

Wait a minute. Wasn't this march about empowering women? Didn't Françoise David say that she spoke for all of us, and for the diversity of women? Where are my pro-family, pro-life views being represented at this march? How am I "empowered" by this march if it requires that I put aside my convictions and be required to support that which I cannot morally support, in the name of "equality" for women? If I as a pro-family pro-lifer must "subscribe to the objectives and overall plan of action for the March" in order to participate, then I and all other pro-family pro-lifers out there, are in fact being deceived into going against our values and beliefs. We can attempt to hold our heads high and proclaim how we don't support that part of the objectives yet want to support the demands against poverty and injustice; but if while we do so, we turn our heads to the organizers' stated position that participation equals support for all objectives, our heads fall swiftly into the sand, choking us as we breathe in the grit. Yes, then, how am I as a pro-family pro-lifer, "equal" to anyone, much less men, if I am but merely a pawn of other women?

But it's the Canadian/American March demanding such things, not the World March

I won't be attempting to prove the altruism of the Canadian, American, or other individual countries' demands, the acknowledged support for anti-family and anti-life objectives is clearly obvious upon investigation. Readily available at the Canadian site [6] is the demand to "Develop and enforce national standards related to the provision of quality, publicly funded abortion services in all regions and communities across Canada" (58), as well as several demands pertaining to lesbian "rights". Noted, is that the asterisk following Canadian demand number 58 offers a footnote informing us that "When you see an asterisk beside a demand, it indicates that the Canadian Women's March demand is made to the federal government of Canada with the understanding that Quebec has the right to determine its own standards, programs and policies in this area." It would seem then, that while Canadian organizers make these 59 demands to the federal government of Canada (in addition to the demands made to the U.N. by the World Organizers) in the name of "equality" and an end to "poverty and violence against women everywhere", what they're really saying is that they are demanding equality and an end to poverty and violence but not necessarily for the women of Quebec if their standards and policies dictate otherwise. No surprise there, seeing how this "equality" being advocated hasn't been extended to pro-family, pro-life women anywhere.

I digress. At the website for the American contingent, we find that despite listing "officially", the three benign demands supposedly representative of all the demands as being

- Eliminate poverty and ensure a fair distribution of the planet's wealth between rich and poor and between men and women;

- Eliminate violence against women; and

- Ensure equality between women and men.

by delving into the information and services available to aid us in planning our own delegations and support for the march, we find the American organizers spouting the standard feminist fare. In their letter to organizational leaders from Patricia Ireland (President of NOW) [7], "women's economic well-being, health and safety are at risk under the right-wing Congress' agenda", and while wailing that the U.S. Supreme court is just one justice away from overturning the already-eroded Roe decision, she urges women (obviously via this march) to "mobilize to stop the war on the poor, to stop all forms of violence against women, and to win full equality" and she does it by entrenching abortion on demand with ending poverty and violence against women.

Putting aside the fact that pro-lifers view abortion as violence against women, it is obvious through Ms. Ireland's instructions to potential marchers that the meaning of the demand to "end violence against women", and (carrying that through to the world demands) the demand for women to "exercise control over her body and reproductive function" really means access to abortion on demand. If there was any doubt at this point, the phonescript for individuals [8] available to assist march support planners in their goals should make the objectives crystal clear. Advocated as words to garner support for the march, are claims that "we must mobilize... against George W. Bush's so-called compassionate conservatism... we will not accept attacks on women's access to abortion and birth control" and "we are not willing to let George W. Bush apppoint the next justices to the U.S. Supreme Court."

Adding to the pro-abortion agenda of this march, is the unabashed admittance of the willingness to deceive all possible regarding this march. Indicated to those using the phone script, is that "If she/he indicates that she/he doesn't donate over the phone, assure her/him that you are not asking for money -- and be sure that you don't ask for money". Later in the script, users are advised (if they get to the end as indication of possible support for the march) to ask for a donation! Once again, not surprising considering the propensity for deception regarding the real intentions of this march that the organizers have already displayed.

We pro-family pro-lifers know why these are the underlying reasons for the march; what we want to know is why pro-family pro-lifers are willing to accept the deception of this march? We can try to convince ourselves that these pro-abortion, anti-family intentions of the march are confined to individual countries' marches, and make believe that we are able to support a "World" march with noble intentions, but we have already seen that the world march itself is questionable. Adding to the frustration, is the fact that we all really know that this is event is many events tied together to become a movement as Msgr. Foy explains, and while individual countries may place their own "slant" on the movement, it is nonetheless a movement encompassing demands that are clearly in conflict with pro-family and pro-life values. Arguably, this march does not speak for all women, only those that (either willingly or subversively) agree with the (self-stated) militant feminist objectives. It is one march, carried out and conducted in many countries, where the participants have been informed that they must support the "overall" objectives.

In the aftermath of the march, and given the unwitting support for this march by such organizations as the CWL, CCCB and CCODP, emergency wards all over best be prepared for the influx of Catholics and other well-meaning pro-lifers who find themselves sputtering to draw a breath for all the sand they've inhaled while their heads were buried.

Is it really about an end to poverty and violence against women?

Cecilia von Dehn of PRICE (Patients Rights, Informed Consent) of Vancouver, Canada, corresponded with Diane Matte of the organizing committee, suggesting "It is certainly essential that the pro-life component is well represented in the March" only to receive Ms. Matte's response "it was unanimously decided that the demand to have a «pro-life» contingent at the World March is unacceptable to us since the anti choice position defended by your organization is in clear contradiction with the objectives pursued by the March and specifically with one of our world demands, namely:

That States recognize, in their statutes and actions, that all forms of violence against women are violations of fundamental human rights and cannot be justified by any custom, religion, cultural practice or political power. Therefore all States must recognize a woman's right to determine her own destiny, and to excercise control over her body and reproductive function."[9]

It seems the spin doctors were out on this one, for when presented by The Interim with the evidence of Ms. Matte's letter, the CCODP's Mr. Leboeuf asserted that it "does not prove that the March has anything to do with abortion". Stating to The Interim that he wrote to Ms. Matte for "confirmation that the terms on which we supported the March and what we supported are still the same, that there is nothing different or new happening", Mr. Leboeuf assured The Interim "we obtained this assurance". When pressed to produce documentation of this, none has been produced assures The Interim [10].

In a May 2000 Interim editorial, Mr. David Curtin states "both Mr. Leboeuf and Ms Matte refused to show Ms Matte's letter to The Interim, however, and Ms Matte refused to tell this reporter whether or not the World March is indeed a pro-abortion event."

Once again, this writer is not surprised, for her own written request to the organizers of the march (marche2000@ffq.qc.ca) requesting a clarification of the phrasing of the demands regarding "a woman's right to determine her own destiny, and to excercise control over her reproductive function" has also gone unanswered [11].

Additionally, in a joint statement, Catholic groups involved defended their endorsement of the March. Despite Ms. Matte's letter, the statement reads that "the World Demands contain no reference to abortion," and that "they do not interpret control over her body and reproductive function" to include abortion. [12] What these groups don't seem to understand, is that while they might pledge to not share the meaning of the phrase "control over her body and reproductive function" with march organizers, stamping one's collective feet and saying it isn't so, doesn't mean it isn't so. A wealth of informative statements exist to illustrate that plainly, it means what it means - abortion. These Catholic groups may protest their implied involvement in advocating for such objectionable goals by waving around their own meanings for the demands, but I remind them that it is not their interpretation of the demands that set forth the agenda for the march, but the interpretation of the self-proclaimed militant feminists that maintain abortion on demand as a right and a part of "ending violence against women".

Adding to the equation is the march's position in support of UNICEF, and the fact that UNICEF plays a roll in some very anti-woman practices such as population control and forced sterilizations [13]; the support of these Catholic groups runs contrary to the position of the Vatican and cannot be understood by this writer. Said Jim Hughes, of Campaign Life Coalition, "the stance of the Vatican on such matters is clearly exemplified by the withdrawal of even token financial support for the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). While UNICEF, like the March of Women, has some goals which are commendable, the UNICEF support for contraception and abortion ruled out even symbolic church monetary support for the group."[14]

It remains to the mystery of this writer then, how this march is about ending poverty and violence against women. It would seem logical, that if the true intentions of the march were to do so, that the organizers would, in the interest of obtaining fully informed and subsequently willing participation, have left out the issues that divide us. Heavens, if the standard pro-choice explanation for the "need" for abortion lies in poverty and violence against women, then it would only follow that were all women, pro-life and pro-choice alike, to focus truly the issues of equality and poverty and violence against women, that the need for abortion would eliminate itself. Logically speaking then, including abortion rights in the demands for the march is a tell-tale sign of what this march is really about. It's not really about achieving equality - for in trying to deceive pro-family pro-lifers, they prove that the self-proclaimed "militant feminist" goal is not to be equal, but for some women to replace being "controlled by men" with being controlled by other women. It's not really about eliminating violence against women, it's about replacing violence against women with violence against the unborn.

I am a woman. My demands of the World March of Women, is that they heed their own proclamation [1] that "The World March of Women in the Year 2000 sees itself as inclusive and respectful of women's diversity" and eliminate the demands for abortion (cloaked in pro-choice deception-speak) within the demands of the World March, so that I as one of the women Françoise David professed to speak for am also able to support the elimination of poverty and violence suffered by my sisters throughout the world.

To do anything less, is to admit that the real goals of the World March of Women 2000, have finally come out in the open. Surely we can do better than this for our sisters truly suffering the idignities of poverty and violence. Surely we can either reform this march to the goals which it was purported to be about, or set about to organize such events that truly seek to end poverty and violence against women. They deserve no less.

Sources/Related Links:

[1] Why a march? the Fédération des femmes du Québec World March of Women 2000 website. (http://www.ffq.qc.ca/marche2000/en/index.html)

[2] Msgr. Vincent Foy's Is the March for Women or Against Women? (http://lifesite.net/clc/womens_march/foy.pdf)

[3] The allocution Françoise David (http://www.ffq.qc.ca/marche2000/en/commun-2000-06-09.html)

[4] Mission Statement, US Organizing Committee (http://www.worldmarch.org/factsheet.html)

[5] Demands of the World March of Women 2000 as listed at the official website (http://www.ffq.qc.ca/marche2000/en/revendications.html)

[6] Canadian Demands (http://www.canada.marchofwomen.org/en/demands/citizenship.html)

[7] World March of Women 2000, American Contingent Organizational Letter (http://www.worldmarch.org/organizational-letter.html)

[8] Phonescript for Individuals (http://www.now.org/issues/global/events/march2000/phonescript.html)

[9] Confirmation of pro-abortion agenda of the march (http://www.lifesite.net/clc/womens_march/mattletter.html)

[10] Bishops conference stands by support for feminist march (http://www.lifesite.net/interim/2000/may/01bishops.html)

[11] Request for Clarification on the World March for Women 2000 (http://www.geocities.com/sassme.geo/ffqletter.html)

[12] Catholics divided on feminist march (http://www.lifesite.net/interim/2000/june/01wmw.html)

[13] UNICEF - Friend or Foe? (http://www.geocities.com/sassme.geo/sass-unicef.html)

[14] CANADIAN BISHOPS' ORGANIZATION CONTRADICTS VATICAN POLICY (http://lifesite.net/clc/womens_march/000518.html)

Copyright 09/00 by Sass Seagal. Not to be reproduced in any fashion, in whole or in part, without written consent from the author. All rights reserved.