The Problem with Pro-Life Feminism. Part 3

Second Claim

The second claim on which Feminists for Life (FFL) bases its pro-life feminist position is that in the 1960s, men—one man in particular—convinced feminists—one feminist in particular—to be pro-abortion and join the campaign to repeal abortion laws in the U.S. Continue reading

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The Problem with Pro-Life Feminism. Part 2

Elizabeth Cady Stanton

Feminists for Life (FFL) holds up Susan B. Anthony as its main foremother; the intellectual force behind the early feminist movement in the U.S., Elizabeth Cady Stanton, is also corralled into FFL’s revisionist history.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton also spoke about abortion. FFL initially used a statement that was supposedly made by Stanton in a letter written to Julia Ward Howe in 1873 which FFL claimed to have been recorded in Howe’s diary for the entry of October 16th: “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.” Continue reading

The Problem with Pro-Life Feminism. Part 1

Some call pro-life feminism an oxymoron. Others say pro-life feminism is true feminism. It is espoused by the U.S. organization Feminists for Life (FFL), and has become popular in the pro-life movement. The idea of pro-life feminism has led to books such as Abortion, The Ultimate Exploitation of Women (2014), by Brian Fisher of the pro-life organization Human Coalition. More recently, a book titled, Subverted, How I Helped the Sexual Revolution Hijack the Women’s Movement (2015), by Sue Ellen Browder, promotes similar ideas.

Pro-life feminists base their position that feminism is or can be pro-life on two main claims regarding the history of abortion in the U.S.—one from the first wave of feminism in the 19th century and one from the second wave of feminism in the 20th century. Continue reading

Phyllis Schlafly: Not a good example of an anti-feminist

My husband Fred says a woman’s place is in the house—the U.S. House of Representatives.                                     —Phyllis Schlafly

Phyllis Schlafly, who died a few days ago at the age of 92, is known as a heroine of grassroots conservatism and anti-feminism. She famously helped defeat the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) in the 1970s and she was an outspoken critic of second wave feminism. However, a look at a few aspects of her life and career reveals that she is a flimsy example of such heroism.

First, Schlafly, like so many feminist-oriented women, handed over her responsibilities as a housewife to professionals, which her husband’s wealth allowed her to do. While Schlafly claimed that woman’s most important job is to be a wife and mother, she herself rejected the role of housewife to become a political activist. When her children were still young, she embarked on a busy schedule of speaking engagements, writing projects and activism. Continue reading