18 Sep The Irony of Feminism and Abortion
September 18, 2014
The Irony of Feminism and Abortion
The radical feminists we confronted at the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) last March donned paper masks calling our pro-life coalition “religious extremists”–in other words, “terrorists.” They insisted that abortion on demand was the answer to empowering women and girls across the globe. They flooded the twitter waves with hundreds of tweets such as:
“Women have the right to safe abortion.”
“Ensure the availability of abortion services for women with unwanted pregnancies.”
“It’s a woman’s right to control her body, mind and future.”
“We shall not allow fundamentalists and extreme groups to disarm women from their rights.”
“Women are impacted by laws restricting reproductive freedom.”
To pro-abortion feminists, “Reproductive freedom” is “a fundamental human right that all governments are legally obligated to protect, respect, and fulfill.” They are aligned with former NARAL president Kate Michelman’s statement to the New York Times, “Every dimension of a woman’s life is influenced by the right to reproductive freedom. We have to remind people that abortion is the guarantor of a woman’s full right to choose and her right to participate fully in the social and political life of society.”
If abortion is the “guarantor,” does that make the inverse true–that a woman must abort her child in order to participate fully in society? While United Families supports the empowerment of every person to fully participate in society and pursue a fulfilling life, we believe it is abortion, not motherhood, that diminishes women.
Abortion Hijacked Feminism
Feminism did not always support abortion. An excellent essay published in Australia’s Quadrant Magazine by Dr. Augusto Zimmerman noted, “none of the early feminists believed that abortion was a woman’s right.”
For example, early feminist Susan B. Anthony called abortion “child murder,” stating, “I deplore the horrible crime of child murder. . . No matter what the motive, love of ease or a 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!”
There are some feminist thinkers today who are pro-life. “Feminists for Life” is one such group who encourages women to “walk in the shoes of your feminist foremothers, and “refuse to choose.” But as one writer recently observed, “liberalism has conquered feminism,” and today’s brand of feminism usually trumpets abortion on demand.
“Abortion hijacked feminism,” says former feminist and pro-life legal scholar Erika Bachiochi, because it “taught women to value power more than truth and love.” Another feminist “dissenter,” Mary Ann Shaefer, takes it further, calling today’s combination of feminism and abortion, “terrorist feminism,” because “it forces the whole feminist movement to be willing to kill for the cause you believe in.”
This “terrorist feminism” concept is thought-provoking, and sheds an interesting light on our experience with the radical feminists at the UN who were directing the “terrorist” label at us.
The Abortion Deception
Dr. Zimmerman’s comprehensive article explains that some feminist scholars “employ sham science to contend that the foetus is merely a part of the woman’s body, and not yet human.” But he reminds us that today’s technology can easily expose the truth. “There are now 3D images of life in utero, showing these “parts” bouncing around, sucking their thumbs, and even smiling.”
Today’s technology also enables many babies to survive extremely premature births. Little Adelaide Caines was recently born in the UK at 24 weeks, the legal limit for abortions in Britain. A photo was taken of little Adelaide as she let out a cry and waved her tiny hands.
Even though Adelaide did not survive because of medical reasons, her grieving mother released the photo to the public to “help change people’s perspectives.” Emily Caines stated, “Our picture shows Adelaide was not a feotus, she was a fully formed human being, and to think that a baby like her could be legally terminated on grounds of a lifestyle choice is to me is horrifying. . . That makes a mockery of the 24-week legal limit.”
The UK report added, “Research shows many British specialist neonatal units have vastly improved on survival rates. Data from 25 hospitals over the past four years shows that 120 babies born at 23 weeks survived.” Clearly these remarkable babies were more than just “non-human parts” of their mother’s bodies.
Dr. Zimmerman also discusses how abortion does not serve the well-being of women as well as babies. It increases a woman’s risk of cervical, ovarian, breast, and liver cancers, and “all types of deaths.” Volumes of additional research show the devastating mental and emotional impact abortion has upon women for years afterwards.
Highlighting “one of the greatest ironies of feminism”–sex-selective abortion– Dr. Zimmerman points out that “abortion has unintentionally sanctioned the elimination of unwanted girls across the globe.” He continues, “Mainstream feminists have demanded a ‘right to choose’ and they are hypocrites if they find this to be unacceptable. Needless to say, if it is a woman’s ‘right’ to choose whether or not to give birth to a baby, it must therefore be okay to choose whether or not to give birth to a girl. There is an ugly new word for this sort of mass slaughter: gendercide.”
Sex-selective “gendercide” has “claimed over 160 million potential women and girls in Asia alone,” but there is evidence that it is also taking place in the United States. As U.S. Representative Chris Smith summed up, “That is the real war on women. . . Fewer women, fewer mothers, fewer future children.”
Interestingly, Dr. Zimmerman notes that “abortion on demand is rejected by the majority of women both in the United States and beyond. Indeed, opinion polls reveal that more women than men affirm the unborn’s right to life. By contrast, the group that is most consistently pro-choice is actually single men.” He cites an Australian study showing that in 95% of abortion cases, the male partner played a central role in the decision to abort the child, even though 70% of Australian women feel that abortion is morally wrong.
Feeling pressured to go against one’s inner moral compass does not foster empowerment for women. In fact, considering all of the above issues and concerns, abortion only seems to foster coercion, deception, and hardship for women.
According to Dr. Zimmerman’s report, about 1.37 million abortions are performed every year in the United States, while 190,000 abortions are performed in England and Wales, and up to 100,000 in Australia. To put that in perspective, “the number of babies killed in the USA through abortion in four months is about the same number of Americans killed during the whole of the Second World War.”
Reports estimate the number of abortions worldwide since 1980 exceeds 1 billion. Who can measure the far-reaching effects of over a billion missing people in the world?
Feminists for Life say they “believe in a woman’s right to control her body. . . even if she’s still living inside her mother’s womb.” We agree. Even an unborn woman deserves the empowerment of a safe and healthy environment to be able to flourish and grow. If feminism was intended to empower women, it is abortion that diminishes them. As Dr. Augusto Zimmerman contends, not only does “abortion diminish the humanity, femininity and well-being of women,” it sadly diminishes their very existence as well.
United Families International, President