March 28, 2017
Why Can’t a Feminist Be Pro-Life? Banner

When a pro-life feminist group was removed as a sponsor of the Women’s March on Washington this past January, a national conversation began on whether an inclusive feminist movement can involve people with pro-life views.

A panel discussion on this theme will be hosted by the Institute for Human Ecology at The Catholic University of America on Monday, April 10. “Why Can’t a Feminist Be Pro-Life?” will explore the question of the compatibility of pro-life and feminist views and delve deeper into the philosophical and cultural underpinnings of both movements.

Six women, each with a different perspective on the issue, will discuss why some people — pro-life and pro-choice alike — see a contradiction to the notion of their compatibility while others do not.

Angela Knobel, associate professor of philosophy who will serve as moderator of the discussion, said the idea for hosting the event came about after she learned that several of her students were planning to attend both the Women’s March and the March for Life, held last January in Washington, D.C.

“We want to help our students understand why some people think you can be feminist and pro-life and why some people think you cannot,” Knobel says. “This is a conversation that the University should be holding even among people who are united in their belief about the sanctity of life.”

Speakers at the event, which will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. in the Edward J. Pryzbyla University Center, Great Room B, include:

  • Destiny Herndon-De La Rosa, founder and president of New Wave Feminists, the pro-life feminist organization that was removed as a partner from the Women’s March
  • Megan Klein-Hattori, assistant professor of sociology at the University of Massachusetts, who is interested in how young people navigate uncertainty and risk from adolescence to adulthood
  • Robin Marty, speaker, activist, and the co-author of Crow After Roe: How Women’s Health Is the New “Separate But Equal” and How We Can Change That
  • Pamela Merritt, co-founder and co-director of Reproaction, a new direct-action group aimed at increasing access to abortion and advancing reproductive justice
  • Aimee Murphy, executive director of Life Matters Journal, a pro-life publication and human rights publication that opposes all forms of aggressive violence
  • Cessilye Smith, from Doulas for Life, exhibiting an all-life pro-life ethic

The event is free and open to the public. After the panel, there will be a brief Q&A session and reception. Follow the conversation and submit questions to the panelists at #ProLifeFeminism and #HumanEcologyInst. The event will be recorded and posted on the institute’s website,

MEDIA: To schedule an interview or attend this event, contact the Office of Marketing and Communications at or 202-319-5600.

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