Rep. Lois Frankel/Instagram
February 28, 2017 07:16 PM

This article originally appeared on

Democratic women in the House are planning to wear white during President Donald Trump’s first major Congressional address on Tuesday evening.

The heads of the Democratic Women’s Working Group, including Chair Lois Frankel, (D-Fla.), penned a letter to members Monday—asking them to wear white to honor of the suffragette movement. However, their motive goes beyond this: Those participating will also “stand in solidarity with the women of our nation,” according to the letter.

“White symbolically brings a reference back to the days of suffragettes,” Frankel tells Fortune in an interview. “But it also shows we don’t want to go back, we want to go forward [with women’s rights].”

The decision to wear white also came from a place of “dignity,” she says.

“We decided as a caucus that we wanted to be respectful and dignified. We’re not going to wave signs,” she says. “White symbolically brings a reference back to the days of suffragettes.” According to Frankel, “dozens” of women (and men) will show support Tuesday evening. Currently, there are 66 Democratic women in the House, which includes delegates.

Rep. Lois Frankel/Twitter

This “white out,” so to speak, comes after some critics say Trump’s presidency has unleashed a war on women’s rights. Since he was inaugurated, Trump has signed an anti-abortion executive order that defunds International Planned Parenthood—otherwise known as the “Global Gag Rule.” The rule, which was instated by President Ronald Regan in 1984, bans federal funding for international nongovernment organizations that offer abortions. And the day after Trump signed this executive order, the House passed the Hyde Amendment—legislation that bans the use of federal funds to pay for abortions. It also restricts abortion coverage via private insurance. However, the Senate has yet to approve the bill.

“Women all over this country are terrified right now,” Frankel says. “They’re afraid of losing access to reproductive choice, afraid of Planned Parenthood getting defunded, afraid of an Affordable Care Act repel, and losing access to affordable birth control.” Specifically, those in white will be showing their support for access to affordable healthcare, a woman’s right to make her own healthcare decisions, equal pay for equal work, paid family leave, and more, Frankel explains.

White has been the color of choice this year, at least in the sense of making a political statement. For example, former Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton wore a white pantsuit during her final presidential debate in October of last year. And on Election Day, Clinton supporters wore white when they went to the polls—honoring those who fought for a woman’s right to vote.

You May Like