Tag Archives: feminists for life

Pro-life and… Feminist?

by Rebecca Richmond

I have a confession to make: I am a flawed human being. The flurry of activity that constituted my Easter weekend flowed into the craziness of paper-writing and, failing to check the blog schedule, I realized only today that I was supposed to have submitted my blog entry last night.

As such, my offering is short and sweet.

I grew up rather angry at feminists. I blamed them (not suffragettes but the feminists of the sexual revolution era) for damaging society. Oddly enough, I now consider myself a feminist, although with an understanding of gender that conflicts with most other feminists out there (I believe in integral complementarity, in case you’re wondering).

There are, as I’m sure you’re aware, pro-life feminists out there. Check out Feminists for Life  and some of their articles: “Women Deserve Better than Abortion” and “The Bitter Price of Choice”. Feminists for Life continues in the tradition of early feminists like Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton who were pro-life.

I’m writing a paper (due tomorrow) for my feminist theories class on maternal feminism (think of the Famous Five and the Persons Case) and new feminism/integral complementarity (think of John Paul II and Edith Stein). It’s interesting stuff, let me assure you. One of the authors I’m reading wrote something I thought I would share with you:

“May will see a betrayal of justice – and assuredly of feminism – in any suggestion that women may bear a special responsibility to nurture the culture of life, which alone can protect our future….No doubt the ideals of service and sacrifice run directly against the grain of our culture, but if we deny their claims we place ourselves at high risk. Until now, feminism in general – and we all know there are marginal exceptions – has waged a fierce battle to permit women to behave like men and, in the areas in which they cannot, to guarantee them the same results as if they had. A new feminism requires that we must the courage and the faith to reverse this paradigm. Women throughout the world are in desperate need of policies that respect and protect them as women – not policies that ensure their access to abortion so that they can become as “free” as men. A feminism grounded in the defense of a women’s right to “choose” to have an abortion is inescapably a feminism that promotes the culture of death. It is never easy to go against the grain, especially when doing so exposes one to social and economic risks. But without the will to defy prevailing ideas, we will condemn ourselves to more of the same….Who knows? If we succeed in defending a culture of life in which personhood is understood as mutual recognition rather than autonomy and no person is ever objectified as the means to an end, men – within the constraints of their differences from us – may follow.”

Excerpt taken from: Elizabeth Fox-Genovese, “Equality, Difference, and the Practical Problems of a New Feminism,” in Women in Christ: Toward a New Feminism, ed. Michele M. Schumacher (Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdsman Publishing Co., 2004), 310-311.

Well, that’s my contribution for the day. Now, if you’ll pardon me, I must return to essay writing.

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