Why feminism needs pro-life women like me

Dear Feminist Sisters,

Have we forgotten who we are? Feminism is not about gatekeeping. Feminism is about throwing gates open.

When I was locked deep inside patriarchal fundamentalism, feminism was the beacon of hope that told me my voice mattered, that even if I didn't agree with every feminist—we stood together. Among the feminists I met in college, there was mutual respect. We didn't attack our own and publicly humiliate them. We didn't try to silence each other. We celebrated our differences.

Today, I know who I am. I know what I believe and, yes, I am pro-life. This does not endanger my feminism.

The way I see it, the only thing that endangers feminism is feminists tearing each other apart. 

This must stop.

Listen to me: feminism needs pro-life feminists because without diversity, feminism won't thrive.

Without pro-life feminists, our cause is in danger of becoming a hyper-polarized, ivory-tower feminism that is completely inaccessible to the everyday, potential ally who isn't up-to-date on all the approved terminology and dogma.

I believe in a feminism that finds common ground. I believe in a feminism that loves and respects men. I believe in a feminism that doesn't demand conformity.

 You can write hurtful blog posts saying you don't "trust pro-life feminists," you can leave unkind comments on my FB page telling me you "literally don't even care one little bit" that the Planned Parenthood videos disturbed me, you can use your social media platform to tear me down— but that kind of behavior says more about you than me. I've earned my stripes. I know how hard I've worked to become the woman I am today and I am proud of my pro-life feminism. Nobody can take that away from me—not even other feminists.

But here's the thing: when feminists tear down other feminists, it hurts our cause. It hinders our ability to gain allies. It diffuses our efficacy and potency. 

Maybe you can't see it right now, but believe me—feminism needs pro-life feminists because if the only "feminist-approved" response to the Planned Parenthood videos is "BUT EDITING!" then feminism looks heartless and inhumane.

Feminism needs pro-life feminists because if the only "feminist-approved" response to the Planned Parenthood videos is "BUT IT'S NOT ILLEGAL!" then feminism looks amoral.

Feminism needs pro-life feminists because if the only "feminist-approved" position is to side with adult women, then feminism looks like it sides against the women in our wombs.

Feminism needs pro-life feminists like me who cry out that something is terribly wrong with discarding a baby while preserving its organs. Feminism needs pro-life feminists because feminism is not an either/or cause. It is both/and. Feminism can support mamas AND babies both. 

I need pro-choice feminists to stand with me and say, "Hey, maybe we don't agree on everything but your voice is important because it reaches people outside my sphere of influence and so we need to work together." 

And the truth is that there is so much that unites us. For me, being pro-life encompasses so much:

  • Being pro-life means I support mamas and babies before AND after birth. 
  • I don't believe tax dollars should go toward Planned Parenthood but I DO believe in subsidizing low-cost/free prenatal care, WIC, free school lunch, subsidized preschool, food stamps and affordable housing.
  • A consistent pro-life ethic means that I am anti-death penalty. Because ALL life is sacred.
  • My pro-life ethic means I stand with St. Francis when he says that "the only way to win a war is never to go to war." America, let's stop going to war and instead, spend that money feeding and educating our kids!
  • A pro-life ethic means I don't stigmatize ANY pregnant woman. I support my local teen pregnancy shelter.

Sisters, we need each other. Our cause is big enough for all of us.

Let's stand together.


Elizabeth EstherComment