Pauline Cooper-Ioelu wrote a thought-provoking article about the bankruptcy of “choice” for today’s feminism.
According to Cooper-Ioelu, “Feminism has moved from an analysis and critique of discrimination against women, to a ruthless defense of individualism and choice, particularly in relation to anything related to sex and the body.” This has left contemporary feminism in a helpless position when it comes to critiquing social institutions and practices that are demeaning to women and that keep women from flourishing. Of course, just because something is “chosen” doesn’t mean its empowering, healthy, or good for women, but feminists increasingly find themselves having to defend prostitution, rearing children without help from a father, pornography, abortion, and other anti-women activities simply because some women choose to participate.
Since this so-called “choice feminism” developed around the issue of abortion, it is only fitting the pro-life movement take a leading role in restoring feminism to its original calling. Feminists should be fighting against inequality, trying to shine the light of justice on practices that harm women and hold women back. Not only does abortion arise as a temptation for many women because of inherent inequalities in our society, it creates even more inequalities that harm women and keep them from truly flourishing.
When a man is able to say to a woman, “it’s your choice. You can either abort the child or raise it as your own,” with no societal expectations that he take responsibility for participating in raising that child, that is anti-woman and feminists should be outraged. When a father or boyfriend — or even a mother or grandmother — can coerce and pressure a young woman into destroying her child, that is anti-woman and feminists should be outraged. When women suffer the emotional and physical aftermath of abortion without society even acknowledging these as real problems, that is anti-woman and feminists should be outraged.
There’s a need now more than ever for a true, pro-woman, pro-life feminism that isn’t blinded by the ideology of choice. Our society has become saturated with pornography, our cultural dating habits are leaving young women exploited and used, our obsession with abortion-on-demand has left women hurt and unable to heal. All of these hold women back, all of them are demeaning and lead to inequality.
The pro-life movement has done a fantastic job of showing our culture the true humanity of the preborn child. It’s time we began to focus on the true dignity and honor of women in our society. We need pro-life feminism.