Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Feminists for Life at Yale

By Chloe Angyal

The Yale Daily News reports today:

"At Yale Law School last Friday, the senior communications specialist for the Feminists for Life of America argued that resources for pregnant students and staff at universities need to be more available so they do not feel that abortion is the only option. While some students in the audience questioned whether, as Winn claimed, a true feminist could be pro-life, four of those interviewed said Winn presented a side of the abortion debate that they had not previously heard."

This bit kind of irks me, though:

"When asked how this viewpoint could coincide with feminism, she asserted that abortion is violent and that violence breaks the tenet of feminism."

Violence does break ONE of the tenets of feminism, but anti-violence is not THE central tenet of feminism. The central tenet of feminism is that women deserve the same rights, opportunities and access as men.
Just as men shouldn't be subjected to violence, nor should women. But the violence of an abortion is a voluntary one that a woman consents to endure, because she deserves to choose what happens to her body. If she doesn't choose to carry a pregnancy to term, and decides to terminate it in a violent manner (because there is no non-violent way to terminate a pregnancy), that is her choice, and is a very different kind of violence to, say, domestic violence, which is inflicted on a woman against her will.
To equate the violence of an abortion, which is willingly endured by a woman, with violence that is forced upon her, is to belittle women's intelligence, as though to suggest that a woman who decides to have an abortion doesn't understand how traumatic the experience will be. Women know how traumatic an abortion might be. And yet, they choose to do it anyway. Because women know what's best for them.

And, honestly, while I agree that there should be more support for pregnant students on college campuses, I think that if Feminists for Life really cared about women, and really wanted to prevent abortions, they'd throw their efforts behind contraception and comprehensive sex education, not behind forcing young women to carry to term babies they aren't prepared to have.

Note: while there aren't a lot of comments on this EqualWrites piece, it was posted at Brazen Careerist (as are all our pieces), where it received a whole lot of attention. Check out the comments posted here.


At November 11, 2008 at 4:53 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Abortion IS a violent act. I don't see how that's disputable.

At November 11, 2008 at 11:44 PM , Blogger Aku said...

I don't think that Chloe is arguing that abortion isn't violent. Her main point, instead, is that "the violence of an abortion is a voluntary one that a woman consents to endure, because she deserves to choose what happens to her body." Abortion is definitely violent, but it's not anti-feminist because it involves a necessary element of choice.

At November 12, 2008 at 12:09 AM , Blogger Mike said...


I enjoy reading this blog because it provides me with viewpoints that I have never really been formal introduced to before. I do have preexisting beliefs concerning the status and correctness of feminism, but because of my relative inexperience with the matter, I read this so that I may come to a better understanding of the relevant issues. As such, I am actually quite ignorant of the formal tenets of feminism. Would you mind clarifying how violence breaks one tenet of feminism? I know I could probably look it up somewhere, but I hope that one of my comments may actually motivate a reply.

As I see it right now, it seems that only engaging in gender motivated violence against women would be anti-feminist. I disagree with your implication that the violence of an abortion is inflicted on and endured by solely the woman. Regardless of whether you believe the product of sexual conception is a person, it is indeed a foreign body. It seems to me that this foreign body bears the brunt of the violence of an abortion.

At November 12, 2008 at 5:06 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a feminist and I am pro-life.

Winn's comment refers primarily to violence against the unborn child, as in being torn to pieces in the process of being aborted. I would have thought that is pretty obvious, until I read this piece.


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