Put 900 modern feminists in a room and….. is it Pro Life? The overwhelming answer has been no.
Our friends at Feminists For Life and other truly progressive groups support the pro-life movement with female equality in mind, but why exactly is the feminist movement collectively against pro-life efforts? Why does modern feminism adamantly support a woman’s “right to abortion?” Quite often, feminists’ view men and women in the pro-life movement as a threat to their equality.
Recently, I was able to gain some unique insight on the feminist movement. I received the unique privilege of being able to attend the annual National Conference for College Women Student Leaders, put on by the NASPA- Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education and the AAUW- American Association of University Women.
As a pro-life leader on my campus, how did I end up at a conference with a large group of women who adamantly oppose everything I stand for?
I received an email inviting the female student body at Mississippi State University to apply for MSU’s President’s Commission on the Status of Women. It is my university’s way of recognizing female student leaders and encouraging them to press on towards equality. When I received this email, I was right in the middle of forming my school’s Pregnant and Parenting Resource Guide as part of our Pregnant on Campus program. The application required a resume and an essay, so I took a shot at applying and wrote about wanting more resources for students who are pregnant and/or parenting. I mentioned volunteering at my town’s local pregnancy resource center, getting my template for the guide from Students for Life of America, and having future plans to possibly open up my own pregnancy resource medical clinic. Of course. I thought I wouldn’t be looked at twice because it was obvious I was pro-life and the application was sent to a public, secular university. I didn’t write about being pro-life, but come on, Students for Life? A pregnancy resource center? I thought I would be laughed at and looked over.
I was wrong. I received an email inviting me to attend an awards ceremony, receive a monetary prize, and attend an all-expense paid trip to D.C and College Park, Maryland for the NCCWSL convention. The university president, Dr. Keenum, attended the ceremony and congratulated us all. The first awardee went up to speak, and I shook in my boots when I learned she was an abortion advocate. “ALRIGHT LET’S BACK UP,” I nervously thought to myself, “This must be some kind of mistake and they do not know who I am—one of those anti-abortionist they hate!” When it was my turn to speak, I stuck with what I wrote and gave my truly feminist belief that a woman should not have to give up a dream of a degree and career because she finds herself pregnant. It was as simple as that and the crowd couldn’t agree more.
In June, I was sent to the NCCWSL Conference, and I was prepared for a different experience. “Okay this is it. This is where they find me out and crucify me. I am the very thing they fight,” I thought to myself. I did have a lot of fear, but I also had just as much hope. I knew my steps would be guided and I knew Students for Life of America and many other organizations had given me the training I would need to defend my position.
Much of the convention was uplifting, with women cheering each other on and encouraging each other to pursue their dreams. There was, however, a large disconnect between the feminist message and the experiences of the audience.
Audience members complained of “women’s health clinics” being shut down and speakers invited to speak were representatives of the pro-abortion movement. I could see the overall position of the convention and associated groups were in high favor of abortion rights. The two keynote speakers were Chelsea Clinton, an abortion advocate, and Deanna Zandt, recipient of Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s social media Maggie Award for Media Excellence for her work on the Planned Parenthood Saved Me Tumblr, as well as many other pro-abortion feminist social activism groups.
A workshop I attended titled, “Women and Sex in 2014: C’mon Already” was centered around the idea that sex should be “easy” for women, and any time society opposes something such as Plan B, it is crushing a woman’s right to easy sex. I observed the open conversation as porn advocacy, masturbation methods, positive lights on sex without emotional connection, applause of having “27 + sexual partners,” and “slut-shaming” were discussed. The leader of the discussion, Lenore Myers, a sexual health educator at Towson University for 30 years, walked the audience through the lack of risks associated with using Plan B. She described it as “safe,” declaring that a woman can take it “as often as she wants to” without causing serious side effects, without becoming less effective, and without doing more than maybe messing with a regular cycle. She showed us a media clip where her university and Shippensburg University were under fire for advocating for the benefits of having Plan B available in a vending machine on campus. Sex Geekdom, I Love the Female O, and the Planned Parenthood website were given as “good” sources for exploring one’s sexuality. It was the most packed workshop I attended while conversely, the workshop “A Balancing Act: Supporting Student Parents” was the barest of all workshops.
I found a great disconnect between the goal of feminism and the sexual education and abortion position of the feminist movement. I kept meeting women hurt by abortion or unhurt by their choice to parent. I coincidentally sat next to two women who were in college and parents of young children. They shared with me how much they love their life with children and have resources on their school campus for parenting students. They also shared how glad they were that their school does not offer abortion referrals. Another girl I formed a relationship shared a sad story with me of her roommate getting an abortion without telling her. After the abortion, her roommate suffered greatly and finally dropped out of school. My friend confessed to me that she believes the trauma of seeing her roommate go through that pushed her to the drinking for a period in college.
I was not condemned for being pro-life by the attendees, instead women opened up to me about the ways abortion had impacted their lives negatively.
The speakers and audience spoke about not being objects of male desire but also advocated for the casual objectivity of sex. Instead of demanding that men and establishments cater to the needs of pregnant and parenting, they condemn themselves to the pains of abortion in order to achieve equality with men. With the emotional, physiological, and physical damage that abortion does, abortion is not feminist. A feminist, a woman for women, knows a woman deserves more than sex without emotion, abortion, and dangerous emergency contraceptives. If we are truly feminist, we will reject abortion as a necessary step to equality. Men and society must embrace and cherish our differences. Women have the ability to bear children. We are awesome, we are never going to stop changing the world, and we are thinking progressively by removing abortion from the equation.