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Tue Jan 25, 2022, 12:14 PM

Patriot Front's cameo at March For Life echoes an alarming historical alliance

By Renee Bracey Sherman, founder and executive director of We Testify, and Lizz Winstead, co-creator of "The Daily Show" and the founder and chief creative officer of Abortion Access Front

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. Although attendance numbers have waned in recent years, and despite a pandemic, organizers took to the stage Friday to boast about their political wins. Not surprisingly, the decadeslong effort to reshape the Supreme Court and potentially re-criminalize abortion by overturning Roe v. Wade was front and center. 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.

During the rally, videos began circulating on Twitter showing white supremacists, including members of Patriot Front — an extremist outfit that believes the white population is being replaced and needs to get its birthrates up — walking with other March for Life attendees; the uniformed and masked “patriots” carried shields and waved banners that read “Strong families make strong nations.” In other videos, attendees can be seen thanking Patriot Front members for attending and “supporting the right to life,” telling them to “be safe out there” and accepting their flyers. The crowd was jovial; as one woman reportedly told a photojournalist who explained that Patriot Front was a Christian fascist organization, “Well, as long as they're pro-life.”

Of course, 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.” 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.

And Patriot Front wasn’t the only white nationalist group in attendance; the Groypers, a white nationalist group led by Nick Fuentes, who is being investigated over the role he is alleged to have played in the Jan. 6 insurrection, also attended, donning crucifixes and “America First” flags.


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