Since Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement, it has given pro-lifers a glimmer of hope that Roe v. Wade may finally be overturned — and abortion advocates are panicking. They’ve begun to argue that Roe can’t be overturned, emphasizing the supposed importance of abortion for women. One of the most troubling examples comes from Cindi Leive, who has built herself an impressive resume in the publishing world, working as editor-in-chief for both Glamour and Self magazines, as well as a senior fellow at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg Center and a a Board Member at the International Women’s Media Foundation.
And all of this, according Leive’s op-ed in the New York Times, was made possible because of abortion.
Leive is married with two children, and when she left her job at Glamour last year, she had grown the magazine’s audience by millions, racking up multiple awards. But along the way, she also frequently advocated for abortion in the pages of her magazine; this, though, was evidently not enough. In her op-ed, she bemoaned the fact that she hadn’t spoken publicly about her own abortion.
Leive’s mother was dying of cancer when she went to college. While there, she was intoxicated one night and had unprotected sex. Seven weeks later, she had an abortion.
Of course, she ignores why so many abortion facilities are closing — in many cases, it’s because Planned Parenthood has edged out smaller facilities, or because of low demand or difficulty finding an abortionist.
Despite Leive’s assertions of danger in speaking about a past abortion, she tells of numerous others who have gone public, including Cecile Richards, Chelsea Handler, and Vanessa Williams. Yet the extremist rhetoric is there regardless; this op-ed isn’t about truth, but about a make-believe world in which pro-lifers are evil and violent, and abortion advocates are courageous victims.
Leive described her abortion as “not the situation I wanted to be in, but thank God it’s a choice I have,” ignoring the fact that abortion only perpetuates the broken cycle so many women find themselves caught in. They are made to feel they must choose between their children and their futures and that they cannot succeed while pregnant or mothering.
Abortion does not empower women or right the societal wrongs that make abortion seem necessary, yet pro-abortion extremists continue to credit it as a source of social good that frees and empowers women.
Leive told her 15-year-old daughter about her abortion (knowledge which can cause pain for surviving siblings), admitting that she cried. Yet unsurprisingly, Leive still described her abortion as something positive. “I told her that I felt immense gratitude for the life I have been able to build, for the two children I’ve been able to care and provide for, for the marriage I could choose freely, for the dreams I was able to pursue,” she wrote. “And all of it, I told her, was made possible by my right to decide when I was ready to be a mother.”
She mentions nothing, of course, about the very real option women have to give birth to a child and place him or her with a hand-picked, loving, adoptive family.
It seems contradictory to purport to speak for women’s empowerment while insisting that women who give birth to children conceived in unplanned pregnancies won’t have a future. There’s a reason the founding feminists were almost uniformly pro-life, and staunchly opposed abortion. Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Alice Paul, Dr. Alice Bunker Stockham, Susan B. Anthony, Maddie H. Brinckerhoff, Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell, and more all believed in protecting preborn children — and women — from abortion. Susan B. Anthony said:
Guilty? Yes, no matter what the motive, love of ease, or desire to save from suffering the unborn innocent, the woman is awfully guilty who commits the deed. It will burden her conscience in life, it will burden her soul in death; but oh! Thrice guilty is he who, for selfish gratification, heedless of her prayers, indifferent to her fate, drove her to the desperation which impels her to the crime.
These feminists didn’t want women to have to choose between their careers or their children. They wanted women to have more support, better resources, a family-friendly culture so they weren’t driven to abort due to male coercion, and have opportunities to achieve their goals while also pregnant or parenting. Second-wave feminists, however, didn’t address these issues; they fought for the legalization of abortion, ignoring women’s societal problems.
Pregnant women on college campuses are often not made to feel welcome. High school students who get pregnant face an uphill battle just to get an education. Women are still coerced into abortions, and still more feel they have no choice but to abort due to poverty, drug abuse, abusive families, or a lack of support and resources — things even abortionists admit cannot be addressed or solved by abortion. Yet so-called “feminists” like Leive continue to march to the same drumbeat: abortion saves women. Abortion frees them. Abortion allows women to achieve their dreams.
Leive and her acolytes will never admit that abortion is both anti-feminist and anti-woman.
Leive felt it necessary to credit her abortion for her successful life, but what of truly brave women who succeeded without it? Briana Williams, a single mother who recently graduated from Harvard Law, wrote to her one-year-old daughter, “Evelyn- they said that because of you I wouldn’t be able to do this. Just know that I did this BECAUSE OF YOU. Thank you for giving me the strength and courage to be invincible. Let’s keep beating all their odds, baby.” Tony Award-winning actress Renee Elise Goldsberry cried as she thanked her husband and children in her acceptance speech, and pointed out how being a mother did not prevent her from being successful and winning. There are countless other examples. But will Leive and her fellow pro-abortion extremists acknowledge them?
Imagine the difference in the world if people like Leive fought for better societal conditions, so that no woman ever felt she had to choose between her child and her education, career, or safety again. That’s courageous and empowering.