I think I am a Pro-life Feminist. And that feels pretty weird to say, considering this widely popular notion going around that feminists can only be feminists if they support abortion.
Lets back up a bit. My mom’s job is to plant women’s clinics all around the state.
My parents were never religious, but during their divorce I decided to start going to church. I found in my church a feeling of belonging. I became incredibly invested in my relationship with God, but with this new relationship, came so many questions. “God sees us in our mother’s womb?” Of course my relationship with God affects my view on abortion, but I honestly think that I would feel the way I do about abortion regardless of my faith. Anyways, I somewhere along the line, I fell in love with resistance literature, with studying about the Juarez murders, the systematic sterilization of Latina women, the artistic reimagining of The Virgin of Guadalupe, rape culture, the glass ceiling.
I read essays on female solidarity, the evolution of feminism, the recognition of the unique hardships of Latina/Chicana and Black feminists verses White feminists. I read Sexton, Plath, Fanny Fern…. The Yellow Wallpaper and The Awakening…. All this research changed the way I want to approach education. If you couldn’t tell, I am incredibly passionate about feminism, about diversifying the literary canon in schools so that female writers are more heavily represented, about approaching literary analysis in the classroom through the lens of feminist literary theory, about the capability of literacy to promote empathy for the female struggle, about acknowledging the ways that gender roles have oppressed both men and women, about giving voice to silenced histories of oppression and sexual violence.
So fast -forward to the present.
You have probably heard the quote “Feminism is the radical notion that women are people” before. I feel that this statement does a pretty good job of capturing feminism. In my understanding, feminism is the fight against the oppression of women and men that is both overtly and subtly embedded in our various societal institutions. Well, according to a number of the feminists who participated in the women’s march, feminism is actually exclusive to those who agree with abortion, as many were outraged that pro-life feminists would have the audacity to show up at the march. Based off of the many articles that I have come across, people are perplexed by the notion that a person like this could possibly exist. “How must they think?” “Will they spontaneously combust?” “Is this even legal?” But since so many people are wondering how a person like me can possibly exist, these are some of the thoughts that I have on the issue in addition to those which are influenced by my relationship with God.
The first is pretty simple: You know that thing everyone was chanting at the march “All humans are equal”? Well I just believe that. If I believe that the baby inside a mother’s womb is a human, and that that mother is also a human, and that all humans are created equal, then I have to believe that both of their lives are of equal worth.
I also have encountered a lot of women who feel that a baby’s life starts to matter whenever the mother says it does. So, one woman can think that life starts mattering when her child is first conceived, and another woman can feel that life beings at the 2nd trimester, and so on. I just don’t think that we have the authority to decide when life starts mattering. I do not think that this can be so fluid, and such a personal preference.
All in all, I am still developing my thoughts regarding abortion, but I hate the idea that people have to be wholly conservative or wholly liberal, and now apparently it is a choice between feminist or blind oppressive woman. Humans contain complexities, and, in the words of Whitman, multitudes!