Pro-Life Feminism- Foxes in the Henhouse?

Women Marching From CODE PINK

File this under "not surprised"....
"Why are you so opposed to NOW as a feminist? What is it that you take exception to?", I ask, genuinely curious and reading a button I've never seen before about 'Feminists for Life'. This woman wants the world to know she is not MY sister. I want to understand. I am curious about the women that pigeonhole other women. What does she know about what I think, anyway? Truth be told, I am not always clear about what I think which is why I am terrified of a detached stranger telling me via the law what to think- and subsequently I am pro-choice by logical default more than decisive issue-wrangling. And I have wrangled with many, attempting to sort out my positions reasonably. Trying to abandon emotion for dialectics. For science. I listen, respect the well articulated views, but then somehow come back to my little sonogram printouts of the children at abortion age (12-16 weeks) sucking their thumbs, and I feel sick. Reason leave me.Then I think about my daughter being forced to have a baby- and again, I feel sick. But reason returns as I acknowledge these responses to be very situational and hypocritical, and realize one answer does not fit all. The last thing I am is firm and decisive on this. And yet that makes me plop myself on the side of choice by virtue of the fact that is perhaps situational. Debates are won by hypotheticals, and often not by what is happening right here in our homes. I think that women go through their own deliberations, and I certainly don't walk in their shoes. I don't feel that I can apply my circumstances to theirs. Pigeonholing is a practice with an agenda I think.

This woman tells me:
"NOW does NOT speak for me, I am a liberated woman, I work, I contribute, and being a feminist is not a state of mind or action defined by a few women, bestowed upon all women, and their agenda is not mine.It does not mean I have to be in favor of abortions just because I call myself a feminist and thats all they focus on. How about giving women credit for using some birth control? We want to talk about intelligent, responsible, forward thinking women and then make the argument that abortion is necessary?"

But choice does not mean we want abortion. It does not mean it is a desireable thing. Simplistic framing has us believe that it comes down to pro or con thinking. I think few people are 'pro' abortion in the sense that they advocate it as much as possible! They are 'pro rights, pro autonomy, pro choice, pro health, pro self determination- right?

Getting back, I was not surprised a few weeks ago to see none other than Pat Robertson feature a 'news" segment exploring feminism- pro-life feminism- via organizations that appeal to women that (more readily than I can) separate feminism into isolated issues and in so defining do not feel at home with NOW or other 'leading' women's organizations because they personally oppose choice. They feel that feminism can be 'pro-life'.
Now bear with me, as I do understand that some women who consider themselves feminists have a hard time sharing the panties, so to speak. It is also essential that feminist thinking not become unnecessarily one tracked simply because a known fox is sniffing round our henhouses. It is possible that feminism can embrace women under one umbrella. We can unite around many topics, can't we? Commonality? Why get divisive?
But what troubles me are the foxes and my suspicions about their inroads. My paranoia, perhaps. Right wingers infiltrating the feminist movement, or a matter of feminists not acknowledging diverse views? Is my bias the basis for my skepticism? And why this obvious blatant contradiction- to say that feminism is more than abortion but then focus on a pro-life stance, effectively becoming the opposite embodiment of thier criticism of NOW?
This comes predictably at a time when some women feel that leading women's organizations over-emphasize abortion issues at the expense of many other concerns. There are questions about divisiveness, issue aiming, and certainly I hold the view that there are other pieces on the horizon oft-missed- such as environmental links and health issues. And while I can admit that 'Choice' is perpetually under seige, I have concerns about other *huge* pink matters- toxins, the FDA and marketing of hormones and products to women, lactation barriers, the draft, depleted uranium and birth defects, social welfare and wage exploitation, education, women and civil liberties, women and the law, women and political accountability... Choice is big, don't misunderstand that emphasis. But are we leaving the henhouse door open?

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