Politics & Policy

Marching for Life: Abortion Is Anti-Woman

Attendees at the 2006 March For Life make their way to the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)
It destroys the most powerful natural bond, that between mother and child, while telling women they can’t succeed if they are mothers.

‘Pro-life feminism” is an oxymoron, according to feminist media, progressive politicians, and even Hollywood. But if abortion supporters took the time to dig beneath the surface, perhaps they’d realize: Abortion is anti-woman.

The March for Life, which marks the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion, stresses this point. The theme for this year’s march, located in Washington, D.C., reads, “Life Empowers: Pro-Life Is Pro-Woman.” But today’s feminists and progressive activists claim otherwise. Women, they say, not only support abortion but also need it.

Actress Michelle Williams suggested as much in her acceptance speech at the Golden Globes in January. “I’ve tried my very best to live a life of my own making, . . . one that I carved with my own hand,” she said, adding that she would not have been able to do this without “a woman’s right to choose.” Two months earlier, The Good Place actress Jameela Jamil and feminist Gloria Steinem declared that abortion is necessary for democracy. Jamil, who called her abortion the “best decision,” later reasoned that her “life *is* more important” than a “clump of cells.”

In the legal realm, during a December BBC interview, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg recognized the women who fought for Roe v. Wade as “the women who wanted women to be able to control their own destiny.”

Politicians can safely assume all women support abortion, according to Senator Bernie Sanders, who, at the November Democratic debate, claimed, “If there’s ever a time in American history where the men of this country must stand with the women, this is the moment.” Likewise, Senator Elizabeth Warren emphasized that the “women of America can count on” her support for abortion.

Last August, feminist author and Guardian writer Jill Filipovic insisted that the “‘pro-life’ movement is fundamentally about misogyny” instead of valuing human life from its earliest stages.

“If you don’t want women to be equal, a great way to force that ideal is to strip women of our rights to our own bodies and reproductive decisions,” she stressed.

In reality, the pro-life movement challenges abortion because it wants women to be equal players. It says that each human person — man and woman — has inherent dignity and worth from the moment of conception.

Abortion destroys that position. It wounds women by violating the most powerful natural bond humanity knows of: a mother’s relationship with her child. It ends the lives of millions of unborn baby girls solely because they are girls.

In its obliteration, abortion also gives society a pass. Its availability encourages the effort to make women equal to men by treating them like men. Instead of embracing women’s differences and accommodating them, a pro-abortion society can treat male bodies as the default without consequence.

It can escape from confronting the difficult questions of poverty, parental leave, child care, and even school systems — and it does this by asking women alone to bear the burden of a “choice.” “Either lose your child, or keep your child and lose [insert finances, education, etc. here].”

Politicians and media commentators too often repeat the lie that women need abortion because they “can’t” — they can’t have a child and an education or career. They can’t have a child and maintain a relationship with their partner. They can’t have a child and care for other children. They can’t have a child and pay the bills.

But instead of saying women need abortion because they “can’t,” Americans should help one another change the country — the world — into a place where women can.

The pro-life movement tells women, “Yes, you can.” Feminists should join them. For feminists, the equality of the sexes shouldn’t mean striving to be like a man. Instead, it should mean embracing womanhood and thriving at it. This includes the ability to be a mother while having success in other areas of life.

Promoting a culture of life, in other words, is the ultimate feminist act. It demands a world where women succeed as women, no matter how they choose to live out their lives.

That’s partially why the national pro-life movement is led by women. These are just a few: Jeanne Mancini of the March for Life, Marjorie Dannenfelser of the Susan B. Anthony List, Abby Johnson of And Then There Were None, Kristan Hawkins of Students for Life, Catherine Glenn Foster of Americans United for Life, Destiny Herndon-De La Rosa of New Wave Feminists, and Lila Rose of Live Action.

And yet, so often, the voices of these groundbreaking women are erased by members of the media. Still, pro-life women exist.

A 2019 NPR/PBS/Marist poll found that, on abortion, 61 percent of Americans — including women — are “in favor of a combination of limitations.” And, when looking at “Americans’ Self-Identified Position on Abortion” in 2019, Gallup data found that a higher percentage of women than men called themselves pro-life: 51 percent.

Pro-life Americans don’t just speak their position; they live it out. They give their time and money to thousands of pregnancy centers — centers that provide free support for pregnant women and new moms, including housing, medical supplies, clothing, and educational classes. They adopt and foster children. They house and feed pregnant women, babysit their children, help fund their education, counsel them.

With its actions, the pro-life movement stresses its position that that one life always ends in abortion. That’s because, in reality, that’s what it’s about: empowering women by protecting life. Pro-life is pro-woman.

Katie Yoder is a content manager for National Review Online and a columnist for Townhall and CatholicVote.org.

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