It Is Possible to Be a Feminist and Be Prolife

Early women’s rights advocates were prolife, not proabortion. Susan B. Anthony was a radical feminist in her day. Her newspaper, The Revolution, made this claim: “When a woman destroys the life of her unborn child, it is a sign that, by education or circumstances, she has been greatly wronged.”

Another leading feminist, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, commented on abortion this way: “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 wish.”

The early feminists opposed abortion. They were followed by a new breed of feminists, such as Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood, who advocated abortion as a means of sexual freedom, birth control, and eugenics.

There are feminists today who still uphold the prolife position. Feminists for Life is a very active group started in the early 1970s. FFL sup­ported the Equal Rights Amendment and has labored for other feminist goals, but is adamantly prolife. One FFL member, Mary Ann Schaefer, has labeled the attempt to marry feminism to abortion as “terrorist feminism.” In her words, it forces the feminist to be “willing to kill for the cause you believe in.” [1]

Both men and women should be free to affirm certain platforms of the femi­nist movement without affirming others. One may support some or most feminist ideals, while wholeheartedly opposing abortion because it kills children.

Recently I viewed a new documentary, Pro-Life Feminist, which powerfully dispels the myth that to be prolife you must be predictably white, conservative, Republican, or Christian.  These bright articulate women have a clear understanding of the facts about human life, and speak from a true feminist perspective. Their no-nonsense clarity about the preciousness of human life reminds us that we share basic values with many who may be very different than we are in some areas. These perspectives are a refreshing contrast to the fog of prochoice confusion that permeates our culture. I highly recommend this video.

Here’s more about it:

In this half-hour documentary, Christina Marie Bennett, Aimee Christine Murphy, and Destiny Herndon-De La Rosa bridge feminist and pro-life perspectives with candor, humor, and respect, finding more common ground than either side typically realizes. Told without a narrator, these three women share their individual journeys with vulnerability and honesty, making the film a perfect catalyst for discussion groups and anyone seeking a fresh perspective on this otherwise divisive issue.

You can view Pro-Life Feminist in full online.

Browse more prolife articles and resources, as well as see Randy's books Pro-Choice or Pro-Life: Examining 15 Pro-Choice ClaimsWhy ProLife? and ProLife Answers to ProChoice Arguments.

[1] Mary Ann Schaefer, quoted by Catherine and William Odell, The First Human Right (Toronto: Life Cycle Books, 1983), 39–40.

Photo by Chris Benson on Unsplash

Randy Alcorn (@randyalcorn) is the author of over sixty books and the founder and director of Eternal Perspective Ministries