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An estimated 500,000 people took to the streets in Washington on Saturday with a progressive agenda to protest a conservative president, but some protesters felt conservative causes were still welcome.

“I feel like everyone’s welcome. I feel like the more we have conversation, the more we can be engaged in conversation and not just tweeting rhetoric, the better,” said Megan Miller of Baltimore.

But pro-life groups did not get that message from the event’s organizers. The Women’s March took a platform supporting abortion rights. Sponsors included pro-choice groups such as Planned Parenthood, Emily’s List and NARAL Pro-Choice America.

On the pro-life side, New Wave Feminists and Students for Life requested to sponsor the event. New Wave Feminists became a sponsor but was quickly removed, with Women’s March organizers citing the pro-choice platform. Students for Life did not receive a response.

Both groups participated anyway to share their message. They have another opportunity to rally at the 44th annual March for Life on Friday.

Laura Shiekoff of Alexandria, Va. agreed with the Women’s March platform, but encouraged pro-life supporters to rally behind other aspects of women’s rights. “There’s room for everyone to unify behind different causes,” she said. “Maybe that’s not a pro-life cause, but it’s a pro-women.”

Darrelyn Brennan of Poughkeepsie, N.Y., marched with her Muslim daughters against President Trump’s proposed Muslim registry or temporary ban, but she welcomed conservative participants. When asked about the reports of pro-life groups being excluded, the pro-choice advocate said, “My feeling is if that’s your belief, you should be more than welcome. But I think we all have to respect everybody’s belief, and in that particular issue, it’s really personal.”

Jessica Hicks and Sabria Bannister of Baltimore had no problems with conservatives and pro-lifers participating, since those groups were peacefully protesting. “We just all have to stand up as one. No more divide,” said Bannister.

Despite the large turnout, participation from conservative groups, and a handful of red cap-touting Trump supporters looking on, the march was peaceful.

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Miller observed one argument about climate change on the Metro ride into Washington, but otherwise, protesters said they saw no violent encounters similar to the protests-turned-riots on Inauguration Day. The city’s Homeland Security director, Christopher Geldart, told NBC Washington that no arrests were made at the Women’s March. Police made at least 200 arrests at inauguration protests.

Emily Leayman (@EmilyLeayman) is a contributor to the Washington Examiner’s Beltway Confidential blog. Previously, she was an intern at the Washington Examiner. Thinking of submitting an op-ed to the Washington Examiner? Be sure to read our guidelines on submissions.

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