The Sisterhood, 27 Years Later

Twenty–seven years ago, nine black-robed men handed feminists a triumph that would try our souls, and I have come to believe find them wanting.

On Jan. 22, 1973, when the "Sisterhood is Powerful" crowd rejoiced at the outcome of Roe vs. Wade, I was with them, a Washington radical feminist scholar/abortion rights advocate, much in demand as a spokeswoman by virtue of my motherhood. After all, who better to illustrate the righteous need for abortion than a young woman with a future, already encumbered by a three–year–old in day care?

Five years later in San Francisco, that same little girl clutched my hand as we struggled against the chilly Van Ness Avenue wind on our way to some euphemistically styled "women’s health clinic."

"Samantha," I explained, ever the politically vigilant parent, "Mommy is pregnant. But since Jasmine’s only 2 and I’m not married anymore, this just isn’t a good time to have a baby. We’re lucky women have a choice."

I was proud of the legacy we would leave my daughter’s generation. Thanks to the second wave of feminism, abortion was now available, accessible and not much worse than a trip to the dentist. Paid for by the state of California, to boot. And on the morning of my own abortion, I was feeling a little extra righteous. After years of posturing and sloganeering, I finally had an opportunity to demonstrate my core beliefs like a rite of passage.

Or a sacrament.

And in the 27 years since Roe vs. Wade, isn’t that what it’s now become? Consider the sacred ground around abortion temples, free speech suspended so as not to hinder partaking of the ritual within and abortion providers occupying pedestals for their noble efforts. Heretics dare not blaspheme by calling a fetus a baby or what happens to it murder. And as though in the grip of a state religion, the media use only sanctioned terms: pro–choice, reproductive rights, products of conception.

Consider: While every other political group is permitted to baptize itself and demonstrate publicly, those who call themselves pro–life are branded by the media anti–abortion extremists and charged with racketeering.

But who’s extreme? For all the left’s vaunted respect for multi–culturalism, pro–abortion evangels like missionaries of old spend vast amounts of time, energy and taxpayer money crusading into the Third World to bring the "good news" of "family planning" to primitives whose backward belief systems stand in the way of their salvation. Like religious zealots arriving on your doorstep when what you really need is an ambulance, they rush to ravaged lands such as Kosovo with abortion kits aplenty for those in dire need of more life–sustaining commodities such as medicine, food and water.

And what about here at home? In the United States, according to the very pro–abortion Alan Guttmacher Institute, 34 million abortions took place from 1973 to 1996. That’s a million and a half per year. Who knows what genius men and women were whooshed away from our midst and with them what art, what music, what inventions, what cures.

How about it, sisters? Especially those of you who rode the crest of the second wave with me: Did you ever dream that this was where we were headed? Did you ever dream we would call a politician a friend to women no matter how flagrantly he exploited them as long as he continued to back abortion on demand? Did you ever dream we would enter the realms of denial required to condone a procedure in which a perfectly viable infant is pulled feet first through the birth canal until all but her head is exposed, then stabbed in the skull to suck out her brains, delivered dead and sold to the highest bidder for body parts?

That’s "a certain type of late–term procedure," according to modern feminists, who have twisted themselves like pretzels to pretend the dream did not turn into a nightmare.

Perhaps it’s time to wake up and slap some cold water on our faces. Time to stop the hypocrisy, to sever the ideals of feminism, dignity for women, equal status, equal opportunity, equal pay from what has become a religious devotion to death.

We should have listened to our mothers, the feminist ones, that is.

Susan B. Anthony, now featured on our currency, wasn’t thinking of political correctness when she referred to abortion as "child murder." Nor when she wrote: "No matter what the motive, love of ease, or a desire to save from suffering the unborn innocent, the woman is awfully guilty who commits the deed. It will burden her conscience in life, it will burden her soul in death; but oh, thrice guilty is he who drove her to the desperation which impelled her to the crime!"

Elizabeth Cady Stanton, with her anti–slavery perspective, wrote, "When we consider that women are treated as property, it is degrading to women that we should treat our children as property to be disposed of as we see fit."

Mattie Brinkerhoff said: "When a man steals to satisfy hunger, we may safely conclude that there is something wrong in society so when a woman destroys the life of her unborn child, it is an evidence that either by education or circumstances she has been greatly wronged."

Think that one over next time you’re standing in line at the grocery store, as I was recently, and overhear a teen–age girl nonchalantly discussing with a friend the abortion she’s having tomorrow.

Some legacy.

© 2000 B. Curtis. Barbara Curtis is now mother of many, through birth and adoption. Visit her at www.barbaracurtis.com

(This article first appeared in The Washington Times, January 24, 2000)