As a young feminist, I tried to keep my pro-life views secret as being pro-choice was a tenet of the majority of feminists I knew to the extent that it was thought you could not be a proper feminist if you were pro-life.
To some extent they are correct. Your views on life are intimately bound up with your feminism or lack thereof. To the extent that I would argue you that you cannot be a feminist if you are not pro-life. Because, as women, our views on abortion reveal whether we accept and celebrate who we are as women – or whether we instead aspire to be like men.
Abortion is fundamentally an attempt for women to be like men, to have the same control over their bodies as men. To have the freedoms and material assets which society more readily gives to men. Common to disadvantaged groups it reveals an emulation of the oppressor and a scapegoating onto a more vulnerable group.
In the case of terrible outrages against women such as rape, the child is an innocent and bringing about the death of this child is obviously inflicting suffering on it and further suffering on its mother. It’s also accepting the idea that a child in some way belongs to its father, which is only a patriarchal notion, like the convention of giving the father’s name to a child and the mother too taking the child’s father’s name.
This is an intellectual piece not a comment on individuals’ situations or decisions. Being pro-life is not about being judgemental – quite the reverse. After the child the mother will suffer most from abortion – though clearly she will or fears she will suffer from having a child. In my experience, women who have had abortions continue to be affected by them many years later or engage in a denial of of their true feelings. American academic Professor Coleman’s research found that women who had had abortions had a 81% higher risk of mental health problems including suicide. (Ironically, under British law abortion is not available on demand, though in practice is it, via the loophole that a women’s mental health will suffer if she continues with the pregnancy. Given research showing the psychological harm caused by abortion this is probably a false position. ) Society, such as British society, has no problem with abortion as it gains in terms of eugenics from the removal of children with abnormalities from the gene pool. Abortion also alleviates the need to assist poorer mothers with social security and from needing to seek and find adoptive parents. I was glad to find that an organisation called Feminists for Life exists in America, working to remove the reasons which lead women to seek abortions. (I quote) Refuse to choose – between a woman and her child. Because women deserve better than abortion.