I’d like you to meet my daughter Olivia Hope. She was born yesterday; this picture was taken just a few hours after her birth. Her birth played a role in my earlier declaration that I would become a feminist.
Olivia (‘Bringer of peace’) was born nearly 40 years to the day after Roe v Wade shattered the peace of the unborn. Roe v Wade, and abortion itself, have become a normative part of our culture. People may debate its merit incessantly, but no one debates its existence. But when I hold my infant daughter in my arms, when I pray that God will use her to bring peace and hope to this world, I find it incomprehensible that we’ve snuffed out the lives of 55 million babies just like Olivia.
This may be shocking to some, but I am able to say out loud that I value many of the services that Planned Parenthood provides. I value their cancer screenings, contraceptive training, STD treatment, as well as menopause treatments, tubal ligations, and vasectomies. In many ways, their mission runs parallel to many Evangelical’s: to prevent unwanted pregnancies in the first place. I also believe the people of Planned Parenthood want what I want: to serve young, defenseless girls.
And I also understand the perspective of organizations like NOW (National Organization for Women). I have a great deal of respect and appreciation for their work in ending sexual discrimination, unequal pay, and violence against women. In addition, I understand that men have been deciding for centuries what women can or cannot do with their own bodies; and I agree that this should end. Even further, I understand how an unwanted pregnancy is often an inconvenience for the unwed father, but can violently redirect the life of the unwed mother. I understand that too many women have seen their lifelong dreams end in the delivery room, while too few men have shouldered the burden and felt the true inconvenience of putting aside their own life to raise another. I believe that NOW, like me, simply wants to tilt the scales of gender justice back towards equality.
And yet, for all our commonality, how I long for my fellow feminists to live up to their name.
How can a feminist fight for the untimely death of even one little girl? How can a nation of feminists fight for the untimely death of tens of millions of little girls?
True feminism can never be founded on a crusade to preserve equal rights for only some women. True feminism rings hollow when it actively forces grown women to fight against unprotected girls. A feminism that fights for the rights of one group of women by trampling the right to life of another group of girls will never be truly feminine.
We rip out the very heart of feminism when its central battle is staged as a mother waging violent war against her own daughter.
Abortion is not feminine, it is not reproductive justice, it is not equality, it is not even human.
Abortion is the end of peace, abortion is the end of hope.
I’m new to whole world of feminism, but this is what I hope my chief contribution to be:
Two daughters (and a son) who will strive to make the world a better place for their daughters. Two daughters (and a son) who will love and want all of their children, regardless of whether their pregnancies were planned or wanted.