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'Pro-Life Feminist': An Oxymoron

By Edited Nov 25, 2016 0 1

Abortion is a heated topic today, with "pro-lifers" wanting to restrict or deny a woman's access to abortion and "pro-choicers" wanting to maintain equal access for women who seek abortions. Feminism is also a heated topic for some, and unfortunately today there is no set definition of what a 'feminist' is exactly. There are some, however, who believe that they can be both a feminist AND a pro-lifer. This article is to show you how this is an oxymoron. One cannot be both a feminist AND be against a woman's choice to abort.

The primary argument I have seen from those who call themselves "pro-life feminists" is that society needs to make circumstances better for women, make them more open for a woman, especially a single woman, to have a baby in a positive environment. As it stands now, single women wanting to have a baby face stigma and financial issues. They may be looked down on by their loved ones. They may bear financial hardship. "Pro-life feminists" claim that society has made it so that abortion is not really a choice, and no woman should ever *want* to have an abortion. There needs to be better options for women.

I doubt you will find many women- and certainly none calling themselves a feminist, who believes that conditions for single mothers do not need to improve. The women who call themselves "pro-life feminists" do not have a monopoly on this belief. One could quite easily argue that NO ONE has free will, as they are suggesting is the case with women who choose abortion, and this could be applied well outside of the realm of the abortion debate. At some point, however, one must step up and take responsibility for their actions.

Pro-life proponents seek to remove a very basic, essential right from women: the right to bodily autonomy. They seek to deny a woman the ability to choose what she does with her own body. Pregnancy is no easy task and is, in fact, life threatening. Every pregnancy comes with a risk. If you wish to deny a woman the right to determine for herself whether or not this risk is acceptable to her, then you- quite simply- are not a "feminist".

You may wish for a woman to have some rights, which is certainly a good thing. But if you are pro-life, you believe that the fetus has more of a right to live and the woman carrying the fetus has less of a right to do with her body as she wants or needs. There is no in-between. You either believe that the rights of the fetus are superior or that the rights of the woman are superior. If it is the former, if you believe that the fetus should be carried by the woman even when she does not want it, you hold the woman to be a second-class citizen to the fetus. You might believe that women should have MORE rights than men and even if this is the case, if you believe the fetus is more important than the woman, you should not call yourself a "feminist", because you are not one.

Do conditions need to be better for women who choose to have babies? Absolutely. But the pro-life/pro-choice debate is not about what happens after childbirth. It is about PREGNANCY. Adoption and other options like this relate to motherhood. Abortion is about unwanted pregnancy. Having options beyond childbirth are going to do nothing for a woman who does not wish to be pregnant, and thus such options are irrelevant to the debate.

So please: if you believe that the rights of a fetus are worth more than the rights a woman should have to her body, please do not belittle the feminist movement by calling yourself a "pro-life feminist". Pro-life you may be; feminist you are not.

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Comments

Jun 2, 2010 9:49am
MamaNelson
I have to disagree with you, but only because I think you fail to address the distinction between personal and political abortion views. I am a feminist. I am politically pro-choice, because I am in no position to tell anyone else how to live their lives, and after all, true feminism is about giving women choices. However, I am personally pro-life, meaning that I could not have an abortion, and, if asked, would encourage women to consider other options first. I don't think that makes me less of a feminist.
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