Pro-choice feminists can't take women's rights hostage
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November 8th marked a devastating defeat for feminism. The feminists’ chosen champion, the first female candidate to win a major party nomination and an outspoken feminist herself, was routed by an alleged misogynist.

President Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpAlaska Republican Party cancels 2020 primary Ukrainian official denies Trump pressured president Trump goes after New York Times, Washington Post: 'They have gone totally CRAZY!!!!' MORE triumphed in spite of strong disadvantages in media coverage, organization, fundraising, and the polls. So, if feminism can’t put away a man like Donald Trump, what can?


This is far from the only place where feminism is seeing defeat. A 2015 poll by Vox/PerryUndem found that only 18% of the American public self-identifies as feminist—yet 85% of those same respondents say that they support “equality for women.”

Feminist bloggers have found that they can diminish the number of people who click away from their sites not by changing the content of their posts, but by removing the word “feminist” from the header. It would appear that the problem isn’t the concept of equality for women itself, but rather, something about the way feminists have conducted themselves and their campaign that turns people off to their message.  

Given the modern-day plight of the actual “feminist” movement, maybe a member of that movement can explain to me: when is it that you decided that you were doing so well that you could afford to lose friends and not influence people? I can think of no other explanation for your bizarre persecution of pro-life feminists, exemplified by the excommunication of New Wave Feminists from today's Women’s March on Washington this past week.

I am a pro-life feminist and, please, spare me your condescending insistence that one cannot be both pro-life and feminist. You remind me of fundamentalist Baptists who argue that Roman Catholics aren’t “Christian,” when historically, Roman Catholics have been around and part of Christianity for so much longer than Baptists have. The first wave of feminism thoroughly opposed abortion. Where do you get off excommunicating us from a movement that we started?

Trust me, I get it. There are good arguments for being pro-choice. It’s a difficult and divisive issue, and we all have strong feelings on the matter. But I am a religious woman, and my religion dictates that I affirm the humanity and worth of every person no matter their race, age, ability, or gender.

I oppose the killing of anyone that bears the image of God, from the convicted murderer to the unborn child. It’s a matter of religious conscience that intertwines with my feminism because, if unborn people are fully human (as my religion dictates), then I cannot affirm violence against unborn women (or men).

As a mother of two children with disabilities (DiGeorge syndrome and high-functioning autism), I also remain profoundly disturbed by the ableist wing of the pro-choice movement. It’s one thing to not want to be pregnant in the first place, but every time a pro-choice feminist affirms someone’s decision to abort a viable fetus with disabilities, what I hear is that my children are less worthy and less deserving of life than “healthy” children. That is something I can never agree with.

While I oppose abortion, I also acknowledge that Roe v. Wade was decided by a conservative Supreme Court, and the Supreme Court has upheld the decision in spite of being under conservative control for years.

At this point, I believe that the best way to reduce the number of abortions is to prevent unwanted pregnancies and treat the reasons why women seek abortions in the first place. I support common feminist causes such as access to contraception, sex education, scholarships and grants for college-bound single mothers, paid maternity leave, and daycare assistance.

Or in other words: 95% of my pro-life feminist activism is probably indistinguishable from pro-choice feminist activism. So why can’t we work together on that 95% and respect our differences elsewhere? Yet pro-choice feminists refuse to give the She-Woman Pro-Life-Haters’ Club a rest.

That Vox survey I cited earlier also found that only 32% of the population identifies as pro-choice. The rest identify as pro-life (26%) or express more nuanced views, “both” (18%) or “neither” (21%). That’s 65% of the population that is potentially closing its ears to the rest of feminism’s message on account of its militant pro-choice activism.

Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonUkrainian official denies Trump pressured president The Memo: 'Whistleblower' furor gains steam Missing piece to the Ukraine puzzle: State Department's overture to Rudy Giuliani MORE’s campaign theme was “stronger together,” and she expressly affirmed that it is possible to be both pro-life and feminist. In working so hard to keep pro-life feminists out of their movement, the organizers of the Women’s March have betrayed that they never really understood their candidate or her message.

Bridget Jack Jeffries holds a BA in classics from Brigham Young University and an MA in American religious history from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. Her research passions include deification, religious feminism (both Christian and Mormon), interfaith marriage, and interfaith dialogue.

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