This Tuesday, a Pittsburgh-based ethics organization was excluded from sponsoring an anti-war march scheduled for this summer, due to their pro-life stance on abortion.
The Peace Roundtable – a coalition of 10 sponsors of the Pittsburgh March Against War scheduled for the first day in July at Schenley Plaza in Oakland – voted May 23 to remove Rehumanize International from sponsoring the march. Rehumanize International said the march organizers had retracted the sponsorship after discovering they were anti-abortion. The votes consisted of 8 in favor of removal, 1 abstention, 2 absentees, and 1 vote to remain.
According to the march’s Facebook events page, which the Thomas Merton Center managed and deleted on Wednesday, the aim of the march is to “stand united in its opposition to a growing militarism” that has created reactionary movements internationally, threatens to reduce social service budgets and that allows private corporations to excessively profit off production. The Thomas Merton Center calls itself the “social justice center” of Pittsburgh and hosts meetings for several social justice groups, such as Amnesty international, Socialist Alternative and Pennsylvanians United for Single-Payer Healthcare.
Rehumanize International, formerly known as Life Matters Journal, promotes a “consistent life ethic” and opposes all forms of violence against humanity, including abortion, capital punishment, torture and unjust war.
According to their press release, this isn’t the first time the group has been “left out and unwanted by protest and march organizers.”
Earlier this year, Rehumanize International,which was named Life Matters Journal at the time, was denied partnership with the Women’s March on Washington organizers due to their pro-life stance despite being pro-woman and anti-violence. The Women’s March organizers accepted their sister group, New Wave Feminism, but then removed them as a partner due to their similar pro-life stance.
“We are proudly and intensely anti-war,” Rosemary Geraghty, the social media director of Rehumanize International, told The Pitt Maverick. “Our intention for joining this march as a sponsor was to promote the anti-war position.”
Geraghty and the founder of Rehumanize International, Aimee Murphy, posted a video on Facebook Tuesday night describing their organization and what had happened.
“We’re invested in the future of the anti-war movement and we want to see the anti-war movement grow and we want to see members of all different backgrounds support this,” Murphy said. “We believe if you actually want to end violence, you need everyone.”
Rehumanize International is co-sponsoring and attending the Women’s March to Ban the Bomb in June, which is a women-led initiative held in New York, NY to support the United Nation treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons. The group also participated in the March For Science in April, where members held signs that said “Don’t kill the planet or the humans” and “pro-science pro-life.”
Despite their activism, people have continued to make accusations to the group regarding their values. “We’ve been accused of being an anti-war ‘front’ group that is just claiming to be anti-war so we can promote our anti-choice agenda,” Geraghty said.
Veterans for Peace of Western Pennsylvania, an anti-war group comprised nearly entirely of veterans, is one of the sponsors of the march and made the announcement that denied Rehumanize International sponsorship on the march’s Facebook events page.
Paul Dordal, a member of the Veteran’s for Peace Chapter 47, told The Pitt Maverick that the Peace Roundtable unanimously made the decision to drop Rehumanize International from the sponsor list after discovering that Rehumanize International didn’t have values that coincided with those of the other sponsors.
“Their values are inconsistent with ours at Veterans for Peace,” Dordal said.
Rehumanize International hasn’t only faced criticism from left-leaning groups, but has also faced skepticism from conservatives as well for their anti-war stance. Members of Rehumanize International were vocal opponents of the Obama administration’s initiation of mass deportation and drone strikes and are continuing to remain critical of President Trump’s rhetoric surrounding immigration.
“It’s almost fitting that a group like us that fights so hard for the dignity of every human being would be made into outcasts by both sides of the spectrum,” Geraghty said. According to Geraghty, abortion attacks the “unwanted children” and war devalues the lives of certain groups of people overseas, along with soldiers. “It’s why groups like Rehumanize International need to exist – to show that these issues are linked.”
While Rehumanize International can’t attend the March Against War as sponsors, they still plan to attend and protest violence and aggression.
“I hope people begin to accept us and realize that we’re not going to end war with just leftists,” Geraghty said.