Abortion, Feminism, and the Freedom Paradox

“No matter what the motive, love of ease, or a desire to save from suffering the unborn innocent, the woman is awfully guilty who commits [an abortion].  It will burden her conscience in life, it will burden her soul in death . . .”  — Susan B. Anthony

Can one be both a feminist and pro-life?  Not according to New York Post columnist Amy Pagnozzi. “Theoretically,” says she, “the women’s rights movement should be large enough to embrace both sides.  But the answer is, hell no.”  This is an unremarkable position to be sure.  Mainstream modern feminism has embraced the pro-abortion movement with open, unshaven arms.  Illustrative of this is the recent statement delivered by Kim Gandy, president of the National Organization for Women, entitled “Feminists Must Commit to Protecting Reproductive Rights.”  According to Gandy, this multi-faceted endeavor involves resisting the nomination of “ultra-conservative judges,” warring against “[President] Bush and his cronies,” and pledging support for the Freedom of Choice Act, which “would codify a woman’s right to abortion.” While it is unclear why such a codification is necessary if, as pro-choice activists claim, the right is already codified in the Constitution, the thrust of Gandy’s argument is unambiguous: feminism and the pro-life movement are mutually exclusive.

Frederica Mathewes-Green disagrees.  She is the author of Gender: Men, Women, Sex, and Feminism as well a commentator on National Public Radio, and any who doubt the veracity of her feminism need only observe the hyphen in her surname.  Mrs. Mathewes-Green is also pro-life, as evinced by her role as a vice president of Feminists for Life of America, an organization that aims to continue “the tradition of early American feminists such as Susan B. Anthony, who opposed abortion.”  More astonishingly, to hear her tell it, she is pro-life because she is a feminist.  Writing for the feminist newsletter Sisterlife, she reasoned “It is because I still believe so strongly in the right of a woman to protect her body that I now oppose abortion.  That right must begin when her body begins, and it must be hers no matter where she lives–even if she lives in her mother’s womb.” Well said.

Feminism exists ostensibly to free women from societal bondage, be it found in the law, workplace, education, or what have you.  But freedom is a paradox; it giveth, and it taketh away.  A young adult moves out of his parent’s home to increase his freedom, only to encounter newer and greater responsibilities.  A society liberates itself from laws, only to find its citizens paralyzed by fear.  Similarly, the feminist movement has given women the freedom to choose an abortion, only to find that it in so doing, it has largely removed society’s incentive to free women from the problems that underlie that choice.  Specifically, as Mrs. Mathewes-Greene has put it, “A woman who seeks an abortion is trying to escape a desperate situation by an act of violence and self-loss.  Abortion is not a sign that women are free, but a sign that they are desperate.”

Feminism, you must be a demanding mistress.  Full of contradictions, you extol the strength of women, while portraying them as downtrodden.  You also seek to give women a voice, while you militantly exclude the voices of those women with whom you disagree.  Worst of all, in your blind zeal to increase the freedom of women, your abortions have killed over of 20 million of them, and have left countless others miserable.  Feminism, if you are sincere in your aim to better the lives of women, if what you seek is equality, if what you truly hope for is the well-being of those you claim to represent, then Feminism you have met your enemy, and it is you.

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