There is a tendency to think of all pro-lifers as raving preachers or colorless nuns. They may, in fact, be very reasonable preachers or very colorful nuns. But the anti-abortion movement is populated by a cast of characters more varied and colorful than many people can imagine. They might be considered strange bedfellows, but their commitment to the pro-life cause is real.
A piece published in Monday’s U.S. News Report online reveals a fact little publicized today: that many of the early feminists vehemently opposed abortion. Far from seeing it as the be-all and end-all of liberated womanhood it is touted as being by today’s feminists on the Left, pioneers of the women’s movement, like Susan B. Anthony, regarded abortion as yet another form of oppression against both women and children. “No matter what the motive, love of ease, or a desire to save from suffering the unborn innocent,” Anthony wrote, “the woman is awfully guilty who commits the deed. It will burden her conscience in life, it will burden her soul in death; but oh, thrice guilty is he who…drove her to the desperation which impelled her to the crime!”
Anthony’s insight that the father of the child bears equal responsibility is refreshing. No feminist – no matter how pro-life – can be content with rhetoric suggesting that women get pregnant by some miraculous means that does not involve the agency of men. It’s good to see that the modern pro-life movement has made great strides in understanding that though this did indeed happen once in history, the Gospel of Luke recounts the only instance.
Then there is the testimony of another feminist foremother, Elizabeth Cady Stanton. “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.” Think all in this breed of feminist are dead? Well, think again.
Sarah Palin leads the wave of new, pro-life feminists in America. She has been much-demonized by the Left, who have made abortion on demand the litmus test of “true” feminism. “In the House,” notes the U.S. News Report article, “the 112th Congress will see a 70 percent increase in the number of pro-life women representatives and a 16 percent decrease in the number of pro-abortion women. Republican Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire will fill the void of a pro-life woman’s voice in the Senate. At the state level, we’ll see a four-fold increase in the number of pro-life women governors.”
If we know where to look for them, we find these strange bedfellows everywhere. Feminists for Life of America, an organization that has been bucking leftist stereotypes for decades, gets very little coverage in the mainstream media. When it bothers to report on them at all, it usually manages to make them seem like lunatics or freaks. But FFL is a real alternative for women (and men) who understand that supporting women’s rights need not mean attacking those of the unborn.
There are bedfellows stranger still. The Pro-Life Alliance of Gays and Lesbians (PLAGAL) has been around since 1990. Of course the mainstream media treats this organization as an even bigger secret than it does the FFL. What would happen to the Leftist coalition if it were to become common knowledge that just as not all feminists support abortion on demand, not all gays or lesbians do, either?
“We have surprised, confounded, confronted and enraged both pro-lifers and pro-choicers,” PLAGAL’s website says. Indeed, its members have actually been arrested for participating in pro-life events – not by pro-abortion leftists, but by the very pro-lifers they were there to join in support. Some in the movement, indeed, have been slow to realize that the cause of saving the unborn might be more important than maintaining the fiction that all gays support abortion on demand.
“Let it be known,” declares the PLAGAL website, “that we value the lives of ALL involved: mother, father, child, doctor, nurse, lover, BORN and UNBORN.” The insight that all human beings are deserving of life is hardly unique to pro-life gays or feminists. But the fact that this insight is spreading even to what may seem like the unlikeliest of quarters may, at last, bring the pro-life movement the victory for which it fights.