Lila Rose is the founder of Live Action, a pro-life group that utilizes new media and investigative journalism to expose attacks on human life. She’s out today with an op-ed in Politico, “Battle Hymn of the Anti-Abortion Feminist.” I hope you’ll read the whole piece. In it, Rose introduces audiences to what she calls “the anti-abortion feminist,” a type of woman with which I hope you’re familiar if for no other reason than that I write for this site. I’ve never liked the term “feminist,” but Rose reclaims it for women like me:
We are women for whom the idea of artificial birth control as “preventive care” is deeply insulting.
We are women who view the intentional killing of children not as a constitutional right, a matter of privacy or a necessary evil but, rather, as profoundly anti-woman and the antithesis of love.
We are women whose lives contradict the idea of an inevitable clash between religious liberty and women’s health. We are women who believe that something precious is lost when fertility is intentionally excluded from marriage, a sacred bond and a total giving of each spouse to the other.
We are women who believe that sex and pregnancy aren’t just health issues; they are also inextricably linked with family, morals, faith and values. And we are women who love everything about being a woman, including being mothers. We have noticed that the rise in the availability and use of cheap birth control coincided with increases in the rates of sex addiction, divorce, unmarried childbearing and abortion.
We have also noticed that while contraceptives and legal abortion promised to eliminate the exploitative attitude of men toward women, they have had the opposite effect.
We don’t wish to take the country back in time; rather, we aspire to move it forward, beyond a time when women are treated as objects and pitted against their children and their religious institutions — and toward a time when truly emancipated women embrace their intrinsic dignity and, with it, their authentic womanhood.
Rose writes that we are “transforming” what it means to be a woman, but I’d argue that we’re reviving it. Our ideas are deeply radical, but in its true etymological sense; they go back to the root, to the very beginning.
While I still cringe at the term “feminist,” Rose is right to use it, as it conjures with it the idea of freedom of choice. Feminism is supposed to be about that freedom, but modern feminism actually deprives women of it, dictating what their choices should be and/or obscuring the real choices before them. Treating fertility as a disease and teaching that a human fetus is not a human person are the most obvious examples of the way feminism does that. Treating fertility as a disease suggests that what is innately and uniquely female — the ability to literally give birth to the next generation — is somehow shameful. Teaching that a human fetus is not a human person obscures a pregnant mother’s legitimate choices. By the time a woman is pregnant, she doesn’t have the choice to not be a mother. She has just one choice to make: What kind of mother will she be?
The pro-life feminist would say that what is innately and uniquely female is awesome, worthy of respect. Yes, our capacity to be mothers must be used wisely, but it must not be denied.
My thanks to Rose for an anthem that made me feel wonderfully less alone.