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What is a Pro-life Feminist?
By: Carolyn C. Gargaro
Re-printed in Problems of Death: Opposing Viewpoints Series, Greenhaven Press

"Feminist" is a tricky term to use today - many women who are independent, support equal opportunity, and fight against injustices such as rape and abuse would consider themselves feminists. However, today's definition of "feminism" as defined by groups such as NOW, reject women who do not fit into their specific and radical idea of feminism. For instance:
Sue Purrington, exec. dir. of NOW's Chicago chapter, said the following regarding Feminists For Life: "Either they misunderstand the whole issue of feminism, or they are using it for purposes I disagree with. Their philosophy is irrelevant."
Patricia Ireland on Feminists For Life:: "Their only agenda is antiabortion work."
Chicago Tribune 11/12/89
In fact, Feminists for Life of America was founded by two women who were kicked out of NOW due to their pro-life views. A pro-life woman most often is told that she is not, and cannot be, a feminist. I myself have been told such a thing.

True feminism, as I believe, condemns those who support oppression - whether the oppression be against women, men, minorities, or the unborn. Modern feminism has lost sight of the true meaning of feminism in the regards that modern feminism does not acknowledge the value of women who choose to stay home rather than work in the "business" world, or the value of a child if it is in the mother's womb.

I am a prolife
Feminist Pro-life feminists respect ALL human life, and they do not place their morality on people - including the unborn - by deciding who should live and who should die. Some people call pro-life feminists "anti-choice" - well, pro-life feminists *are* anti-choice, when it comes to abortion. They are also anti-choice when it comes to rape or the abuse of women. No one should have the "choice" to rape or abuse women either. No one should have the "choice" to beat a woman or not.

Pro-life feminists want REAL choice for women. A REAL choice where women have the option to *choose* effective birth control, effective being the key word. A REAL choice when it comes to having a career and a child - women should not be in the situation where they either have an abortion or risk losing their job. What kind of choice is that? And this sort of thing does happen. What does this say to women? That a pregnant woman isn't as valuable in the workplace? How is that showing a respect for women? How does that type of attitude "liberate" women?

Pro-life feminists reject abortion because they reject the use of violence to solve a problem. They want more than to just settle for mere equality of opportunity -- the opportunity to contribute equally to violence and and human rights abuses in society. Pro-life feminists seek to transform society to create a world that reflects true feminist ideals.

"True Feminist ideals" are part of a larger philosophy that values all life, including the life of the unborn. Feminists believe that all human beings have inherent worth - a worth which cannot be conferred or denied by someone else. ("Abortion Does Not Liberate Women," Feminists for Life)

Abortion is completely incompatible with this feminist vision. Abortion makes the unborn and the mother enemies, and basically pits women against their own children so women can achieve "equality." For in today's society, women have not achieved true equality - they still must, many times, abort to be on an equal level politically, socially, and in the business world.

This does not mean that men are to blame for all abortions - they aren't. In fact, it is often the men who respect women, the ones who will take responsibility for their actions, and want the woman to keep the child and who will help in the raising of the child, that are seen as the "oppressors". They are the ones seen as controlling women, when in actuality, it is the irresponsible ones that are seen as "compassionate." The men who encourage women to abort, to avoid taking responsibility for their actions are the ones who do not respect women.

Abortion doesn't "liberate" women - it "liberates " men. Abortion on demand liberates men who want sex without strings, promises, responsibility, or the rituals of romance. And if the woman has the baby? Hey, that's her problem. She could have gotten an abortion - she chose to carry the child; let her pay for her choice.

Abortion also "liberates" others - not the pregnant woman. For instance, employers do not have to make concessions to pregnant women and mothers. Schools do not have to accommodate to the needs of parents, and irresponsible men do not have to commit themselves to their partners or their children.

By accepting abortion, women have agreed to sacrifice their children for acceptance in this "pregnancy limits freedom" society. Many feminists have given in to the standard which permits the treatment of "unequals" unequally, and for the powerful to oppress the weak. Isn't this what feminists fought *against*?

Women who refuse to accept the "choice" of abortion also refuse to participate in their own oppression and in the oppression of their children. Pro-life feminists refuse abortion and all it represents. Pro-life feminists such as myself reject abortion and the idea of dominance that goes with it. Diminishing the value of one category of human life - the unborn - leads the way for the diminishment of the value of all human life.

Do I understand why women support abortion? Yes, I do. I see women discriminated against because they have children; I see women being abused and thus are scared to go through with a pregnancy for fear that the abuser will beat them more; I see women not getting equal job opportunities because they are pregnant or have children; I see women put in poverty because they are left by their partner to care for children alone.

But women should not be in these situations in the first place! Abortion is accepting of the fact that women are not truly equal unless they are "not pregnant." Abortion does not solve the underlying reasons why women often abort in the first place.

In summary, pro-life feminists feel that the "right" to destroy their own offspring is not a "right" - no one has the right to destroy another human being.

Other Pro-life Feminism Resources

I also recommend this book: Lime 5: Exploited by Choice. Young women are being raped, sexually assaulted, mutilated and killed in abortion clinics while the media, the medical establishment and the pro-choice community purposely look the other way. We must speak out NOW!

This article is copyright © 1997-1998 Carolyn C. Gargaro. All rights reserved. It may not be reproduced with out specific consent of the author.

Killed by choice

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