Reconciling Feminism with Being Pro-Life

Before I converted, I long identified as a feminist, and I still do. However, nowadays I understand that a bit differently than I did before. Here are some excerpts from my recent Truth and Charity Forum piece. Whole article here.

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Erika Bachiochi recently published an essay called “I’m a Feminist and I’m Against Abortion.” She notes the contradiction of feminist support for abortion:

But abortion, which is often the assumed solution to unexpected pregnancy in our culture, attempts to cure that sexual asymmetry: the biological fact that women get pregnant and men don’t. It does this by putting the responsibility to care for — or dispense with — the life of a nascent, developing human being on women alone.

Abortion expects nothing more of men, nothing more of medicine, and nothing more of society at large.

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At the same time, John Paul II’s letter invites us to recall that the Church is truly the ally of all authentic human goods. He thanks all women: mothers, wives, daughters, sisters, working women and consecrated women then offers his explanation of the nexus of women’s value, which, of course, is based in God, in being created in the image of God. After recalling the story of creation, he says:

“The creation of woman is thus marked from the outset by the principle of help: a help which is not one-sided, but mutual.… men and women are complementary. Womanhood expresses the “human” as much as manhood does, but in a different and complementary way.” (7)

This formulation that John Paul speaks on behalf of the Church is truly the best of all the insights of feminism at once. It proclaims the difference of women, which is a certain truth, while affirming the equality in rational nature and value. While every woman and man is different, we are equal without being the same.

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