As an adult white male, it often happens when I express pro-life views that I get accused of being anti-woman. It is assumed by many people, especially those in the media, that things such as abortion and contraception are "women's health issues" and that anyone who opposes these things is necessarily anti-woman and wants to bring us back to the days before women's suffrage and keep our wives barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen where they belong.
If you, too, find yourself subject to this sort of accusation simply by being pro-life, I have this message of reassurance for you: Don't Buy It. It just ain't true.
For one, consider that at least half, if not more, of the 50 million children who have died in our country of abortion since Roe v. Wade have been female. How can any policy that results in the death of over 25 million little girls be considered pro-woman? The true nature of this argument was underscored this summer when Congress was asked to vote on a bill that would ban abortions for reasons of sex-selection. This is a practice common mainly in Asian countries, but there is concern that it is being more and more practiced in this country especially among immigrant populations. And it is a practice that overwhelmingly favors the survival of male babies over female. The bill was overwhelmingly supported by Republicans and overwhelmingly opposed by Democrats. With just a few exceptions, the vote fell along party lines, and so failed to meet the two-thirds majority needed to pass. And so it remains legal in this country for parents to go into an abortion clinic and state, "I want to have an abortion because my baby is a girl and I want a boy to carry on the family name." How on earth is this pro-woman?
For another, most of the people I know who are involved in the pro-life movement are themselves women! Now, I grant you this is anecdotal and limited to my own experience, but these women (young and old) I know would never consider themselves anti-woman, and yet women like them are treated as traitors to their gender in the media when it comes to this issue.
In my opinion, abortion is not a "women's issue," it is a human issue. Male and famale babies are aborted. Every child conceived has a mother and a father. And while, yes, the mother bears the lion's share of the physical burden of pregnancy and child care in the early years, fathers should not be let off the hook. They have a responsibility, and they also have a voice. I maintain that one does not have to possess a uterus to recognize that every human life is sacred and worth protecting. This is an issue that affects us all.
I know in the coming weeks before this presidential election, abortion is sure to be more and more a part of our national debate. This is a good thing, as far as I am concerned, because it is an issue we need to talk about. 1.5 million children die by abortion in our country each year and it's something that for the most part, people in our country don't even think about.
So no doubt we will hear this "anti-women" accusation cast about again and again in the weeks to come. Don't believe it. To underscore this point I thought I'd highlight some amazing pro-life women heroes for you.
First, I was inspired to do this when I read today of the passing of Joan Appleton, once an abortion nurse who opened her eyes to the reality of what she was doing and became one of the strongest voices in the pro-life movement. We mourn her passing. You can read about her at this link:
LILA ROSE & LIVE ACTION
Live Action is a wonderful youth-led pro-life group that is producing some wonderful films and doing amazing work in defense of the unborn. It was started by a young a woman named Lila Rose in 2003 when she was only 15 years old. She continues to be a strong voice of support for mothers and their unborn children. Read more about Live Action at the below link:
Abby Johnson had a successful career in Planned Parenthood, the nations largest abortion provider, for eight years. She was convinced that the work she was doing was helping women. She rose through the ranks and eventually became a clinic director. The more she worked for PP, however, the more she realized how harmful their message actually is to women, and how wrong abortion is. She is the author of the book Unplanned, and has a blog at the below link:
FEMINISTS FOR LIFE
This is an amazing organization of women who are very much pro-woman who recognize that there is nothing good about the choice of a mother to kill her unborn. Their motto is "Women Deserve Better Than Abortion." We agree -- women do deserve better! Read more at:
WOMEN SPEAK FOR THEMSELVES
This is a new group that was formed in response to the Health & Human Services mandate earlier in the year that all employers -- including Catholic institutions -- must provide for contraception and abortifacient drugs in their insurance plans. Opposition to this mandate was being labelled as "anti-woman" and this strong group of women who opposed the mandate decided they could speak for themselves -- and they do. Over 30,000 women have signed their letter saying that President Obama and HHS Director Kathleen Sebelius do NOT speak for them. Many of these women are professionals, lawyers, doctors, nurses, business executives, as well as teachers and homeschooling moms. Lots of great articles in their blog on their web site.
I could go on all day highlighting more and more pro-life women and pro-life women's groups. I think the above are representative of a huge number of women involved in pro-life advocacy. Please feel free to share others that you know about.
My only point is this -- don't allow people to accuse you of being anti-woman simply because you believe in the sanctity of life. Being pro-life means being pro-woman and pro-man, pro-mother and pro-child as well as pro-father and pro-family. It means recognizing the sanctity of life in all stages from conception to a natural death, regardless of gender, race, handicap or ability. Being pro-life is something to be proud of, so stand tall in the coming weeks!