2019 2nd Runner-Up Essay
There is a misconception in today’s society that pairs the feminist movement with pro-choice ideals; however not all feminists support the choice of abortion. Whole life feminists believe in equality and rights for every life that exists, from the moment of conception to natural death. Feminism has always been committed to protecting and fighting for women’s rights. The modern mainstream feminist viewpoint claims that it is a women’s right to say what happens to her body, they view anti-abortion laws as anti-feminist. Caring for an unplanned child could have the possibility to interfere with a woman’s future and/or she may not be emotionally or financially able to support her baby. It might seem like the right decision. Abortion, however, is a step backwards for feminism and societal equity.
The founders of the feminist movement were pro-life. Elizabeth Stanton references abortion as infanticide, saying “it is degrading to women that we should treat our children as property to be disposed of as we see fit." These women refused to accept the ideal that for women to be equal, they must also get rid of their children. The core values of feminism call for equality, nondiscrimination, and justice for everyone; however, modern feminist perspectives clash with this older viewpoint. New perspectives have taken on the notion that abortions are necessary to enable women. The issue, however, is that this implies that women cannot achieve success if she has a baby. The very thought that abortion is required in order to be equal to men submits to the male dominated structure of society. Modern culture views men’s bodies as the standard and by stating that women must be just like men, it disrespects the special ability of females to sustain life. Asking women to give up their capabilities to maintain life to thrive contradicts the equality that feminism advocates for.
Women often justify abortion as a more humane option when the child has been diagnosed with a genetic disorder, physical disability, or other incurable condition. By going along with an idea such as this, they are claiming the life of disabled individuals is less valuable than others. If my mother had chosen to get me tested for any disabilities, she would have discovered that I have a rare genetic mutation that causes the growth of incurable cancer. Even though I have developed cancer, had several surgeries, and continue to undergo treatments, I am thankful for my life. My suffering does not outweigh the value of my life. If I had been aborted, I would not be able to share my story and inspire stories. I would not be here today, as a future teacher, who is on a mission to make a positive impact on the lives of under-privileged children. Choosing to abort a child because of a disability of any kind is unfair to that child, it is taking away the right to life from someone who is unable to stand up for themselves. Death is not merciful; it denies the fact that unborn children have value and purpose.
Aside from the fact that abortion goes against the main concepts of feminism, there is also the perception that abortion is exclusively a women’s issue. Even though it is biologically a woman’s choice, the act of labeling it as such reduces the expected responsibility amongst fathers to their unborn child. This leads women to succumb to peer pressure and commit the act of abortion. Rather than urging a woman to have an abortion, feminists should be providing support and encouragement to pregnant mothers. They should provide resources and affirmation to women instead of abortion that comes along with physical and emotional distress. Whole-life feminists call for a world in which every living being is appreciated, protected, and cherished. They work to change the patriarchal systems in society that dominates women, promoting equity.
Being a whole-life feminist is so much more than being against abortion, it is about supporting life in every form. It means accomplishing ethical, financial, and societal equality for all living beings through unprejudiced and peaceful practices. It involves fighting for the rights of the unborn and those who cannot speak for themselves. Whole life feminists work to educate and donate resources to deprived mothers, as well as being advocates for children in need. People who are pregnant need a support system, not a society that glorifies the choice of abortion. There is so much power that comes with encouraging and assisting each other. By creating a society of acceptance and life through the recognition of everyone’s value, an unbreakable network of care is created, and stereotypes are broken. The future of the feminist movement is whole life and that future starts now.