Pro-life feminism

Pro-life feminism

Pro-life feminism is the opposition to abortion, based on feminism. Those who take this viewpoint assert that abortion is not a necessary right, but has instead served to hurt women more than it has benefited them. Further, proponents state that abortion does not empower women, but creates a disempowered body of women who are seen by society to only profit off a violent act against their bodies and their offspring.Fact|date=December 2007

The most prominent pro-life feminist organization is Feminists for Life. Their spokesperson is Emmy award-winning actress Patricia Heaton of the U.S. television show "Everybody Loves Raymond".


The Feminism and Non-Violence Studies Association, founded by Rachel MacNair, is the literary branch of the movement,Fact|date=December 2007 publishing an interdiscplinary journal on pro-life feminism from a wide spectrum of views.

The Susan B. Anthony List serves as the central political action committee of the movement. The SBA-List is to the pro-life feminist movement, what the National Right to Life Committee is to the pro-life movement on whole.Fact|date=December 2007 The group works to elect pro-life women to Congress.

Some early feminists, such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, considered abortion to be an evil forced upon women by men. [ [ Kate O'Beirne, excerpt from 'Women Who Make the World Worse: and How Their Radical Feminist Assault Is Ruining Our Schools, Families, Military, and Sports' National Review January 23, 2006] ] Feminist pro-life groups claim to continue the tradition of Anthony and see abortion as a tool used by patriarchal culture to keep women in submission: a feminist culture, in contrast, would adapt its structure to encompass mothers and reward mothering.Fact|date=December 2007 Pro-life feminists believe the opposite has happened since abortion has become a right claiming to grant women the choice to become mothers. Feminists who are pro-life often state that by making a motherhood solely the right of the mother, society forces a woman to solely be responsible for making provisions for her child(ren). Businesses, schools, government agencies, and other social organizations are able to refuse or offer minimal aid to those women who opt to have children because the action was their "choice". Many also point to the fact that some of the most prominent proponents of the initial abortion movement were men who acted as catalysts shifting the feminist movement from one that sought to empower all women to one that now supports actions that they claim disempower them. Moreover, some feminists who have adopted a pro-life stance believe abortion unfairly places minority women and poor women at a disadvantage, while being seen as the only way they may achieve success in a society that values the status quo.Fact|date=December 2007 Since women of colorwho and low-income women are more likely to faceclarifyme an abortion than women who are white or middle class, [ [ Facts on Induced Abortion in the United States - Alan Guttmacher Institute] ] some pro-life feminists argue that it is not equitable for any woman to argue that abortion is a true choice for these women in this view.Fact|date=December 2007

Some pro-life feminist organizations (i.e. organizations that work to advance the rights and dignity of women) maintain that abortion can never be a right.Fact|date=December 2007 These groups posit that when a society considers abortion as a solution for a pregnant woman, that society has let the woman down by offering her only the violent choice of abortion - thereby conspiring in a systemic act of violence that terminates a fetus and they claim harms the woman physically and psychologically.Fact|date=July 2008 The act of abortion is not only seen as a violent act against the woman receiving it but the possible fetus that is being terminated. Feminists who are anti-abortion often make the claim that abortion kills "women", at least in the womb. Pro-life feminism shares much of this philosophy with "traditional" pro-life groups.Fact|date=December 2007

Norma McCorvey, the "Jane Roe" who was the winning plaintiff in the court case "Roe v. Wade" that established the right to abortion in the US, is now a pro-life feminist and explains:

At the same time, there are pro-life feminists who focus not so much on changing the legal status of abortion, but on making it obsolete by relieving its root causes at every level of society from the individual to the global--for example, from personally providing direct aid to pregnant women and adopting "special needs" children to campaigning for global access to antiretrovirals and for women's economic justice worldwide.

The Catholic Church promotes what it calls "New Feminism", a theology summarized in the encyclical letter "Mulieris Dignitatum" (Latin for "On the Dignity of Woman") that promotes equal dignity for men and women while asserting there are biological differences that need to be taken into account. [ [ Mulieris Dignitatem 'On the Dignity of Women'] ] Some who identify as pro-life feminists are Catholics who advocate this theology. Some are Catholics who dissent from official doctrine on such matters as contraception and same-sex relationships. Still others belong to the full spectrum of world religions, or identify as freethinkers, agnostics, or atheists. Pro-life feminists claim that pro-life feminism is a stance grounded in values of nonviolence and reverence for life, born and unborn, that can be and often are shared by people of all faiths and none.

Famous Pro-life Feminists

Famous pro-life feminists include: [ [ Feminists for Life (.org) "History"] ] [] []
* Jane Addams (1860-1935)
* Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906)
* Cory Aquino (born 1933)
* Benazir Bhutto (1953-2007)
* Lindy Boggs (born 1916)
* Pearl S. Buck (1892-1973)
* Linda Chavez (born 1947)
* Margaret Colin (born 1957)
* Mairead Corrigan (born 1944)
* Mary Cunningham Agee (born 1951)
* Dorothy Day (1897-1980)
* Daphne Clair de Jong (born 1939)
* Eliza Bisbee Duffey
* Joan Finney (1925-2001)
* Matilda Joslyn Gage (1826-1898)
* Elizabeth Fox-Genovese (1951-2007)
* Mary Ann Glendon (born 1938)
* Amy Grant (born 1960)
* Angelina Weld Grimke (1880-1958)
* Fannie Lou Hamer (1917-1977)
* Patricia Heaton (born 1958)
* Laura Ingraham (born 1964)
* Kathy Ireland (born 1963)
* Maya Keyes (born 1985)
* Alveda King
* Charlotte Denman Lozier (1844-1870)
* Wangari Maathai (born 1940)
* Mary McAleese (born 1951)
* Norma McCorvey (born 1947)
* Kate Mulgrew (born 1955)
* Anne Northup (born 1948)
* Sarah F. Norton
* Breda O'Brien (born 1962)
* Jennifer O'Neill (born 1948)
* Dolores O'Riordan (born 1971)
* Graciela Olivarez (1928-1987)
* Sarah Palin (born 1964)
* Helen Prejean (born 1939)
* Connie Purdue (1912-2000)
* Rebecca St. James (born 1977)
* Alice Stokes Paul (1885-1977)
* Susan LaFlesche Picotte (1865-1915)
* Cicely Saunders (1918-2005)
* Laura Schlessinger (born 1947)
* Juliet Stillman Severance
* Eunice Kennedy Shriver (born 1921)
* Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1815-1902)
* Mother Teresa (1910-1997)
* Lois Weber (1879-1939)
* Frances Willard (1839-1898)
* Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-1797)
* Victoria Woodhull (1838-1927)

ee also

*Elizabeth Cady Stanton
*Susan B. Anthony
*Feminists for Life
*New feminism


Further reading

*" Prolife Feminism Yesterday & Today." Second & greatly expanded edition. Edited by Derr, Naranjo-Huebl, & MacNair (2005, ISBN 1-4134-9576-1)
*"The Cost of 'Choice': Women Evaluate the Impact of Abortion" edited by Erika Bachiochi (2004, ISBN 1-59403-051-0)
*"Prolife Feminism Yesterday and Today." edited by Derr, Naranjo-Huebl, and MacNair (1995, ISBN 0-945819-62-5)
*"Pro-Life Feminism: Different Voices" edited by Gail Grenier-Sweet (1985, ISBN 0-919225-22-5)
*"Swimming Against the Tide: Feminist Dissent on the Issue of Abortion" edited by Angela Kennedy (1997, ISBN 1-85182-267-4)

External links


* [ Feminists for Life]
* [ Feminism & Nonviolence Studies Association]
* [ Susan B. Anthony List]
* [ Quotes from Modern Pro-Life Feminists]
* [ Pat Goltz's pro-life feminism page]
* [ Quotes from modern pro-life feminists]
* [ Jeannine Parvati Baker's articles on abortion, feminism, female spirituality, and the Goddess]
* [ Links to pro-life feminist pages]
* [ Lynnes pro-life feminist page]
* [ Pro-Life Feminism Ribbon Campaign]
* [ The Feminist Sell-Out] - an article by Daphne Clair de Jong on pro-life feminism, first printed in the New Zealand Listener
* [ Friends Witness for a Prolife Peace Testimony]

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