On the heels of the #MeToo and #TimesUP movements came International Women’s Day, a date set to celebrate the accomplishments of women and look upon ways to improve their lives. However, the media predictably seems to have chosen to seek out the voices of abortion supporters with regard to feminism, again largely neglecting the thoughts of pro-life feminists.
Yahoo! asked simply, “What is feminism in 2018?” but failed to publish the remarks of a “conservative [female] campus leader” alongside the remarks of other feminists; Yahoo! reserved her thoughts for a completely separate article, essentially segregating her comments from the overall discussion of feminism.
And while USA Today quoted some conservative and pro-life women in a piece they published, asking, “Can you be a Conservative feminist?” the publication failed to point out that pro-life feminism used to be the standard. Early feminist leaders like Susan B. Anthony referred to abortion as “child murder” and viewed it as a means of exploiting both women and children. They demonstrated that true feminism was pro-motherhood, pro-woman, and pro-child.
The fact that conservative feminism was questioned to begin with reveals a deeper problem.
Some mainstream media articles on International Women’s Day included interviews with the head of an abortion rights organization, but failed to give equal time to pro-life leaders. The author of the Yahoo! article, for instance, managed to include the thoughts and statements of NARAL abortion lobby group president Ilyse Hogue but failed to publish remarks from female leaders of national pro-life organizations. Perhaps this was a simple error… or perhaps it wasn’t; after all, pro-life women do not fit into the modern day feminist image or the pro-abortion media narrative on feminism.
But Yahoo News cannot be totally faulted for this way of thinking, since history teaches us that the association of abortion and feminism was by design. National Organization for Women (NOW) founder Betty Friedan, the “mother of the women’s movement” in the 1960s, was herself complicit in silencing pro-life women and allowing them to be systematically pushed out of NOW for one single reason: they opposed abortion. Despite this, NOW was inaccurately dubbed the largest “women’s organization” in the nation, even though the group philosophically discriminated against pro-life members, and a major pro-life women’s group far outnumbered them. While many pro-life feminists in the 1960s and 70s were in agreement with fighting inequality and abuse of women on all fronts, they spoke against NOW’s insertion of abortion into their plank in the late 1960s.
The idea of inserting abortion into NOW’s plank came not from Friedan, but from two men: Larry Lader and Bernard Nathanson. These men were obsessed with decriminalizing abortion as was Planned Parenthood’s then-president, Alan Guttmacher, a former vice president of the American Eugenics Society. Lader, who had known Friedan for many years, authored a biography of Planned Parenthood’s eugenicist founder, Margaret Sanger, and called himself “her disciple.”
Once these men were successful in convincing Friedan to make abortion a part of NOW’s plank, the group, along with the mostly male-dominated media at that time, deliberately chose to link feminism directly with one issue: abortion. They redefined being a “feminist” and made it so that such a term became synonymous with asserting a woman’s dominance over her preborn child instead of with fighting inequality or fighting abuse, for example. This caused a deep rift between pro-life and pro-abortion feminists — a rift that remains to this day.
Today, we see the effects of this way of thinking, as many women remain silent in the face of real abuses against other women, as in the case of Harvey Weinstein, in which notable female Hollywood actresses failed to speak out to warn vulnerable women in the industry. This was never the intention of true feminism. True feminism spoke up for women as well as those weaker than themselves: their children.
Many of the same Hollywood actors and media outlets that were silent on the Weinstein scandal are equally silent on the fact that Planned Parenthood covers up child sexual abuse, often returning underaged victims of rape and sexual assault into the arms of sexual abusers. This has been documented again and again, but thanks to modern day feminism’s allegiance to abortion, Planned Parenthood remains government-funded, protected, and unaccountable while child victims are left to fend for themselves.
When the media discusses feminism, any perceived threat to “reproductive rights” (another term for “abortion rights”) is always front and center, again making it seem as if all women and all feminists find this to the be the most pressing issue for women, and synonymous with feminism, which is untrue.
A large number of women in the U.S. oppose abortion, at least on some level, and many oppose it altogether. Many women who have experienced abortion come to regret it deeply. Not all women think alike on the issue of abortion. Unfortunately, because of pro-life feminists’ view that the preborn child in the womb is deserving of equal protection as a human person, their voices are dismissed.
Yahoo! quotes NARAL’s president as stating, “To me, it just seems like a basic, fundamental understanding — it’s cliché at this point: Feminism is the radical notion that women are equal. Period. Full stop.”
Of course women are equal to men. The problem is that pro-abortion feminists don’t believe women are equal to men without abortion. And if this idea about feminism is so “basic,” then why the bias against pro-life feminists? Aren’t they also of the mindset that women are equal to men?
It’s time to end the deliberate sabotaging and outright silencing of pro-life female voices (and importantly, pro-life women of color) in the arena of public debate. It is time for the media to stop pandering to the radical abortion lobby and open the door to female voices from a wider range of thought.