I was navigating my way through the huge crowds waiting to check out at BJs just before Christmas, when I happened to find myself across from a small group of women heatedly discussing the recent election. An attractive redhead—she appeared to be in her early 60s—was angrily berating three women standing just behind her, incredulous that they were talking about how they had voted for Trump yet were steadfast supporters of Planned Parenthood. Being naturally inquisitive (OK, nosy), as well as drawn in by the substance of their conversation, I acted uninterested and rummaged through my cart, but listened attentively.
“I really didn’t trust Hillary at all, and that’s why I went with Trump,” said a young mother with an infant in her arms.
“Yes, he’s more honest than her,” said her friend.
An older woman, who appeared to be the young mother’s mom said, “I didn’t know if I was ready for the first woman president, but if he signs away funding for Planned Parenthood, it’s a deal-breaker and I won’t vote for his second term.”
The three agreed that cutting off Planned Parenthood would rob many women of their right to health care, especially free mammograms and birth control.
“I can’t believe what I’m hearing!” remarked the redhead, “Now you’re surprised?! Trump couldn’t have been clearer during his campaign: He chose Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as his running mate, a man who’s led a fight against Planned Parenthood and women’s reproductive rights his whole political career; he promised to appoint Supreme Court justices who would overturn Roe vs. Wade; he stated that his cabinet appointments would have to pass the litmus test of being ‘legitimate’ right-to-lifers; he was steadfast that one of his first priorities would be insisting that the Republican-led Congress pass a bill in January stripping Planned Parenthood of all Medicaid funds; and he stated, outright, that he wanted to ‘lock up’ women who had an abortion—for any reason.”
The redhead continued her rant as the other three women, looking annoyed, turned away: “Trump doesn’t care what the majority of women who voted for him want. I heard on the news that almost 60 percent of the women who voted for him oppose his stand on Planned Parenthood.
“Look,” the redhead said, her voice rising, “he’s a billionaire tyrant with no heart who intends to end reproductive health care services for young women and for low-income women. It’s already been federal law that government funds can’t be used to pay for an abortion. Don’t kid yourself! When you voted for Trump, you voted against birth control, against cancer screenings, and against sexually transmitted disease testing and treatment. You voted against providing important information to vulnerable and at-risk girls.
“You didn’t take his words seriously,” she said, over her shoulder, as she paid the cashier and made her way toward the exit. “You ignored his shameful behavior toward women, yet you believed Hillary Clinton was untrustworthy. Give me a break!”
This Saturday, Jan. 21, the day after the Presidential Inauguration, a march is slated to take place on the National Mall in Washington. Called the Women’s March, it aims to send an unflinching message to Trump and the new administration on their first day in office, and to the world, that women’s rights are human rights.
The Women’s March has inspired nearly 300 sister marches and rallies to take place in all 50 states, and in a dozen global capitals around the world. Hundreds of thousands of women, men and children will be gathering to take a stand on issues that deeply impact us all, seeking to reaffirm the core American values of freedom and democracy at a time when many fear that their voices are being lost and the voices of a free press are being compromised.
I will be there.