The Corner

Politics & Policy

Feminists vs. Amy Coney Barrett

Judge Amy Coney Barrett reacts as President Donald Trump holds an event to announce her nomination to the Supreme Court at the White House, September 26, 2020. (Carlos Barria/Reuters)

One of the defining characteristics of modern feminists is their brazen insistence on applying their supposedly ironclad pro-woman principles only to women whose views they favor.

Consider left-wing super PAC Emily’s List, which exists solely to fund the campaigns of pro-abortion Democratic women. The group’s fundraising pitches routinely insist that we must “elect! more! women!” What they really mean, of course, is that we need to elect more women who agree with them.

Abortion-advocacy groups NARAL and Planned Parenthood follow a similar model, championing as icons of female empowerment only those women who embrace abortion on demand. Their manipulation of identity politics is a fundamental part of their PR strategy: When a state passes a pro-life law, for instance, these groups immediately hone in on the number of men — especially white men — involved in its passage.

Yet when the very same piece of pro-life legislation receives the support of female lawmakers, NARAL and Planned Parenthood and Emily’s List decry its contents all the louder. Identity politics and gender matter little when the optics contradict the cause.

That’s why Katrina Jackson, an African American and Democratic lawmaker who sponsored Louisiana’s latest pro-life bill, received no attention from those who supposedly celebrate powerful women, and why third-wave feminists treat pro-life women generally as second-class citizens.

“Angry old white men seek yet again to control women’s bodies,” Planned Parenthood and NARAL trumpet on Twitter. Meanwhile, they clutch to their hearts the Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade, enacted by seven men, six of whom were white.

Which brings us to Amy Coney Barrett, the judge nominated to the Supreme Court, a woman who appears to provoke more fear and furor in modern feminists than they’ve directed at any public figure since Phyllis Schlafly. The reasons for their despair are obvious: Barrett is a conservative Catholic, she’s the mother of a large family, she’s anti-abortion in her personal life, and her constitutional originalism likely makes her at least skeptical of the anti-constitutional machinations underpinning Roe.

It is for that reason that we’re being treated not only to an onslaught of reports criticizing Barrett’s involvement in a lay Christian group, but also to columns such as this one by Sarah Jones in New York magazine. Entirely eliding Barrett’s stellar legal career, Jones labels her a “the perfect victim for the Christian right,” suggesting that her sole value is as a martyr for conservatives to pretend that their values are under attack while advancing a radical agenda through the court.

Along the way, Jones reveals herself to be either illiterate in or unconcerned with the facts, insisting for example that the Christian owners of Hobby Lobby were wrong to argue that emergency contraception can cause abortions. In fact, the Obama administration itself has conceded the point. Jones also offers the laughable proposition that Justice Antonin Scalia’s view of the First Amendment was aimed at creating “one law for conservative Christians and another, more restrictive standard of law applied to everyone else.”

Her article is the latest evidence that progressive feminists wish to promote and celebrate successful women only insofar as they toe the progressive line. If they don’t, they’ll find themselves dismissed as, at best, useful victims.

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