With Dignity and Justice for all: Pro-Life, Love-Centered Feminism

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By: Nicole Campbell, Class of 2020

Most Americans today accept a woman’s “right” to abortion as a modern viewpoint, without necessarily considering the wild complexity of the matter. Though I spent the first twenty years of my life believing in a woman’s right to kill her unborn child, it took my own experience to truly comprehend abortion as fundamentally incompatible with our understanding of the law and feminist ideologies.

In 1973, the Supreme Court created a virtually unlimited right to an abortion during all stages of pregnancy, something few people realize, much less agree with. The Court did this by creating the right to abort at any time for “emotional” reasons, giving abortion doctors the power to override any restriction with this justification. Today a growing group of prominent “pro-choice” legal commentators calls this ruling indefensible. Most notably, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has said that it “ventured too far in the change it ordered and presented an incomplete justification for its action,” that the decision was “not the way the courts generally work.” Similarly, plenty of other laws outlaw certain “choices,” like those around the purchase/sale of illegal drugs, because we recognize that protecting the rights of others supersede the ones of those who wish to violate essential laws. Like homicide, abortion steals from its victims their future life. As dehumanizing as genocide and slavery, abortion cannot be morally justified by poverty, disability, or “unwantedness.”

The United States has the highest abortion rate in the western world, the third-highest abortion rate of all developed nations worldwide according to the industry-funded Guttmacher Institute. Over the past twenty-five years, this organization has conducted two major studies asking women why they chose abortion, and their answers have remained basically unchanged--7% report that abortion was chosen due to a health reason or possible health problem with the baby; less than 0.5% report that they chose abortion due to a pregnancy resulting from rape. This abortion industry research group reports that almost 93% of all U.S. abortions are purely elective--healthy mothers aborting healthy children. Almost a quarter of all pregnancies in the U.S. are aborted, disproportionately eliminating minority babies, and worldwide abortion is shrinking the female population at an alarming rate.

As if by fate, a week ago while writing this piece, I had the pleasure of meeting a woman (now friend) who’d had four abortions before the age of thirty. To put this in perspective, by the age of 45, 1 in every 2.5 women in the U.S. has had at least one abortion. Retelling her story to me, I could see the anguish in her eyes. I held her, and we cried together. I told her my story: that my first son came to me when I was twenty, an unwed undergraduate student. An unplanned pregnancy disclosed during a routine doctor’s appointment, I immediately knew his name and vowed to keep him, not knowing my fate with his father, who I later wed and with had two more sons before we divorced. She, like so many “modern” women, has been failed by the now-gospel feminist ideology that abortion is unquestionably the best choice. America’s first feminists, including Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, all opposed abortion as inherent within their beliefs of non-violence and equal justice for all. Feminism should not pit women against their children as enemies in order for women to fully function in society. If a pregnant woman or mother cannot participate in society, the true feminist response is that something is woefully wrong with society.

History is full of societies changing their views and norms as more understanding is gained. This is generally seen as progress. It is my sincere hope that with more conversations centered in love and understanding, the United States can one day have honest dialogue around how we value all life. If we instinctively defend the lives and dignity of those fleeing wars, poverty, and famine, we should similarly hold sacred the lives and dignity of the silent and largely unseen unborn.

Author’s Note: If you’ve had an abortion and want a place to talk and find peer support in a neutral, non-judgemental place, http://www.afterabortion.com was created in 1998 as a non-political, non-religion based safe space for women.