[In an effort to address the issue of abortion solely regarding its impact on the role of women in society, I’ll not be discussing the humanity of the fetus here.]
Unfortunately, discussions about abortion often devolve into debates on bodily autonomy rather than conversations about improving resources for pregnant women and mothers. Many Pro-Choice advocates see abortion as the solution to unplanned pregnancy. As this “solution” becomes an accepted practice, a woman who chooses life and requires basic societal help is blamed rather than supported.
Is this a fair response? Do women have a fair choice?
As a Pro-Life Feminist, I would argue that abortion is an avenue down which many women are coerced. Feminism advocates the acceptance of women as equals in society. However, while women ought to be equal, we are biologically different from men. We get pregnant. We bear the children. Abortion as a practice denies women this fundamental difference–womanhood–thus creating an expectation for a woman to act like a man if she wants to hold certain positions in society. Women should not be expected to sacrifice having children in order to succeed. Women should not feel the need to have abortions in order to function as equals in society; however, as long as that’s a socially acceptable option, they will be held to that expectation.
Fair maternity leave, reasonably priced child care, and adoption programs are all services that ought to be available to women, and all are in need of serious improvement. Unfortunately, they are not at the forefront of feminist discussion. They are passed up in favor of the more controversial debate as to whether a woman has a right to terminate her pregnancy.
To me, empowering women means so much more than advocating a woman’s right to conform to a patriarchal society by denying her womanhood through abortion. It means supporting a woman who chooses life.
Teresa Donnellan, COL ‘15
GU Right to Life President