I was inspired and uplifted when listening to speeches broadcast from last Sunday’s Women’s March in Washington, D.C. With so many people committed to making positive changes, how could one not feel the beating wings of hope?
I was also frustrated, wondering where someone like me fits into a movement that claims the litmus test of feminism is supporting unfettered access to abortion.
I was equally frustrated by speeches from last weekend’s March for Life, wondering where I fit in when that group’s litmus test appears to be unfettered support for policies that often decimate social services for the poor.
Thankfully, a growing group of self-titled “pro-life feminists” is making me feel less alone out here in the muddy middle. Members of New Wave Feminists, Atheists Against Abortion, Rehumanize International and others are younger, less religious and more socially progressive than the pro-life movement’s old guard. Their support for wide access to contraception (not to mention LGBTQ rights) puts them outside the tent pro-life groups have traditionally constructed.
They also define themselves as feminists, even though they aren’t welcome in that tent either. They want political, economic and social equality for all humans regardless of race, creed, gender, class, sexual preference or stage of development, and see abortion as a violent solution to a complicated problem, much like war and the death penalty.
These new groups also have super-sensitive hypocrisy meters and question a feminist movement advocating equality for all while supporting the destruction of preborn humans as a “right.” They also see the duplicity of pro-life folks who support war or discrimination against marginalized groups while praying for the preborn.
Because they came of age in a “You do you” and “Girls rule” world, pro-life feminists don’t seek any gatekeeper’s approval to claim labels those gatekeepers might like to deny them. They just slipped on their “Bad Feminist” T-shirts last week and headed to both marches. It’s kind of inspiring.
I became feminist when I was 10 years old and argued with my mother about equitable division of household chores between my brother and me. I became pro-life after interviewing men on death row, seeing a warhead up close and feeling a 12-week-old preborn human flutter in my body.
I am still both.
This means I’m complicated. I favor wide access to contraception and the decidedly pro-woman stance that women should start foisting more birth control responsibility on men.
I’m against the separation of children from parents at the border, unjust war, the death penalty and unbridled capitalism that puts our most vulnerable populations (and our earth) at risk.
I’m also against the normalization of abortion and think that 56 million abortions worldwide in a four-year period should take our breath away.
According to a June 2018 Gallup poll, I’m not alone: 53 percent of Americans say abortion should be legal in only a few (35 percent) or no circumstances (18 percent). And 91 percent support access to birth control.
Pro-abortion rights groups would argue that 53 percent are backwater women haters longing for the dystopia of “A Handmaid’s Tale,” and some traditional anti-abortion groups would say that the 91 percent is leading us toward eventual acceptance of infanticide.
This is the difficulty. Our complicated, sea-of-gray world is run increasingly by people preaching the Gospel of Black and White: You either think like us or we cut you off like an abscess. The extremes cling to intractable positions rather than considering that the best solution — not the perfect one, but the best — just might be in the middle ground. It’s a nightmare for all of us.
But the upstart pro-life feminists, with their purple hair and #propeaceprolife tattoos say, “We’ve got you.” I think I’ll pitch my tent with them and hope they eventually run the world.