A recent op-ed published in The Palm Beach Post by Florida artist and poet Karen Coody Cooper pushes the lie that abortion is fundamental to women’s equality. It seems many of today’s feminists are frustrated by the biological asymmetry between men and women in childbearing, in that men can have sex and walk away while women can’t. So to level out this imbalance, they propose abortion as a solution.
“The only way for women to achieve parity with men is to have the same opportunities as men,” wrote Coody Cooper. “When birth control measures fail to ensure that, then abortion has to be part of the female arsenal.”
She continued, “Without the ability to access the same opportunities men have, women’s intellectual participation as a group will be forestalled, controlled, diminished, and lesser men will be stepping ahead of us in the line as they always have. Until women are allowed to experience the freedoms that men enjoy, our nation will be imbalanced and unjust.”
While women should have the same opportunity as men to pursue an ethical vocation, mothers do not have the right to kill their children. Women have a duty not to harm the child that is dependent upon them for care, a responsibility that also applies to the father. When it comes to this, there can be no disagreement that this is an obligation men and women share: Parents cannot commit acts of violence against their children.
“Perhaps the real solution is that all males get a vasectomy and risk reconnecting their tubes when, or if, they find the right woman who says Yes,” Cooper asserted. “Better yet, I would love to see a pregnant man and then we’d get this gender mess straightened out!”
Cooper is missing a morally relevant distinction here. Pro-lifers oppose abortion because it ends the life of an innocent human being. A vasectomy, however, does not kill anyone. Furthermore, the “gender mess” she speaks of isn’t about women’s ability to become pregnant while men cannot. It’s about the historical treatment of women as objects, as unworthy of a right to vote, unworthy of equal pay, and more. When women are treated by men as the equal persons they are, the children they create together are not treated as disposable objects either.
Abortion is inherently anti-woman. Women’s equality to men is based on the simple fact that they are human. To deny the preborn equal treatment in society undermines the very foundation for human equality on which women base their rights. There is no consistent definition of equality that excludes the preborn, and the only way to recognize the dignity of all women, born and unborn, is to be pro-life and anti-abortion.
Unless modern feminism can shed its fateful assumptions about the relationship between abortion and equality, society will continue to face little encouragement to treat women with the respect they deserve. Being a feminist should mean celebrating everything about women, including their unique ability to carry a precious human being — not perpetuating the myth that women must subdue their natural biology and treat their bodies like the problem in order to succeed in life. The real solution is to hold men accountable, not allow absent fathers to dictate how society treats children.
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