feminism about a woman having rights equal to those of a man?
Feminism is much more
As a teen, I remember
the electrifying call for equality during the '70's women's movement,
and how it challenged and changed the nation. The idea was so compelling
it still circles the world.
By definition, equality
is a principle extended to all. When one group of people gets their rights
at the expense of another, there is nothing equal about it.
The foundation of
feminism is built on the basic tenets of nonviolence, nondiscrimination,
and justice for all. Abortion is discrimination based on age, size, location,
and sometimes gender, disability, or parentage. And it is often the result
of a more insidious form of discrimination: the lack of resources and
support that pregnant women need and deserve.
As I entered college,
the women's movement continued to gain momentum. Cries for equality in
the workplace were muffled by the even louder call for "abortion rights"
and "pro-choice." You were either pro-woman or pro-baby. As a pro-life
feminist, I felt very much alone.
When I found Feminists
for Life I knew that I was "home." Then I learned that during the past
two centuries, visionary women like Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton,
Mary Wollstonecraft, and Alice Paul had worked for justice and women’s
rights—without choosing between women and children.
Elizabeth Cady Stanton
is perhaps the best example of the in-your-face, you-will-accept-women-on-our-terms-and-we-are-not-accepting-less
suffrage leaders. Stanton, the first champion of women’s suffrage and
a mother of seven, said, "When you consider that women have been treated
as property, it is degrading to women that we should treat our children
as property to be disposed of as we see fit." [Click
here for more early American feminist wisdom.]
The early American
feminists did not work to replace a patriarchy with a matriarchy. Women
have a right to be women in the workplace and in school. Women
shouldn't have to pass as men.
When women think they
have to lay their bodies down or swallow a bitter pill for an abortion
in order to compete in the workplace or make their way in the world—that
is not feminism. In addition, abortion has hurt women by diverting feminist
attention from other issues, particularly those that help mothers, such
as affordable child care, comprehensive health care, and a living wage.
Finally, once a woman
is pregnant, she is forever changed, no matter what the outcome—marital,
partnered or single parenthood, adoption, abortion, miscarriage or stillbirth.
At Feminists for Life,
we refuse to choose between women and children. We refuse to choose between
our education and career plans and our families.
As pro-life feminists,
our values are woman-centered and inclusive of both parents and children.
And like the early American feminists, we are not accepting less.
We say "no" to the
status quo. Let's aim for the best by advocating resources and support
for women, and protecting both mothers and children from violence. Women
Because women deserve
Serrin M. Foster
Feminists for Life
P.S. Next week's
question: What about all those kids in foster care that nobody wants?
Check out what
we've done for women lately.