Pro-life feminists: they exist
Views 14 | Time to read: 3 minutes | Uploaded: 10 - 4 - 2017 | By: Anna Besh
I am a pro-life feminist. Often these two descriptors are believed to be mutually exclusive; in the eyes of many, a person can be one but not the other. Clearly, there is living proof of the opposite. Though I must admit that in certain spheres of third-wave feminism, pro-lifers are blatantly unwelcome, a reality which seems counterintuitive.
Much of the discord between pro-lifers and feminists comes from generalizations, misconceptions, and assumptions. Fear of being assigned worth based on what one chooses to do with her body along with the desire to assert one’s autonomy are cause enough for feelings of hostility towards pro-lifers. Hostility serves as a means of self-preservation; keep them at arm’s length and everyone is happy. It is important to remember, however, that these fears are often based on preconceived notions, unfair half-truths that sweep entire populations into impossibly divisive boxes.
Pro-life is not anti-woman, as some may believe. It is not anti-ownership-of-one’s-body or anti-celebration-of-sexuality. It is not inherently judgemental, although judgement can be found anywhere if enough rocks are turned over. It does not have to be loud or pushy, and is not ignorant or uninformed.
Pro-life is not so naive to think that life is always the easy choice; it is looking a terrifying reality in the eye and leaning in. It is having the strength to admit that we cannot always understand, are not always in control. It is asking for help and giving support.
Pro-life is also not pro-misogyny. It is not pro-housewife or even pro-stay-at-home-mom (although this is a dignified and valid profession). In its most basic sense, pro-life is simply a posture of open hands, of acceptance. It is the preservation and celebration of life in all forms, reverence for the breath we have been given, and recognition of its fragility. Life is lovely, good, and honorable. It is something that takes immense bravery and strength.
Likewise, feminism as a movement is one that preaches strength, dignity, self-respect, and self-acceptance. It is not destructive, and is not man-hating. Feminism is not burning bras or rebelling for the sake of rebellion; rather, it is a fight for equality, unity, and justice.
Feminism is more than self-empowerment, more than putting an end to dress codes; in its purest form feminism asks that human beings would be regarded as such-- no more, no less.
Clearly, the intersection of values held by pro-lifers and feminists is quite vast, extensive even. Not only are these movements able to peacefully coexist, they are actually quite compatible. Both ask for recognition of the equality that exists among all life, the rights that are earned simply by existing. Both are grounded in self respect and respect for others and neither are destructive in nature. Both pro-lifers and feminists advocate for those who, for whatever reason, are not always able to advocate for themselves. So, yes, I am a pro-life feminist and no, these two are not mutually exclusive.