Feminists For Life: Refusing to Choose

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It’s right there on the home page of Feminists for Life: “Refuse to Choose.” What a ludicrous admonition! I can see using a slogan like “Choose Life.” But to advise women to make no choice at all (which of course is making a choice when you’re pregnant) is to revert to the mentality of the fifties (and earlier): Be passive. Women are not supposed to make decisions on their own.

Feminism means taking responsibility for your life, your choices and your actions. It definitely does not mean just letting things happen to you. Especially something as important as pregnancy. Ideally, each woman would practice effective birth control methods until she is ready to have a child. And if a pregnancy does occur, the mature, responsible woman will fully consider her own situation and do what is best for her and her baby-to-be. That might mean abortion, but it also means other things, like making sure that you’re materially and emotionally ready to bear and raise a child.

The rest of the slogan that Feminists For Life are fond of using is: “Women Deserve Better Than Abortion.” The implication is that abortion is just something that happens to you–or is forced upon you. That’s exactly the bone I have to pick with anti-abortionists. They act like just because abortions are legal, they themselves will be forced to have them. They ignore the fact that pro-choice people are only protecting the right to make decisions about your own body. Just as no one should be forced to have an abortion, so no one should be forced to have a child.

I wish that women wouldn’t feel that it’s necessary to have abortions. But I also respect their assessments of their situations, as well as their right to make those assessments. I can’t live another woman’s life for her, just as no one can live mine for me. I wish all babies were wanted and blessed with parents who are ready to have them. But as long as that remains a wish and not a reality, women should be prepared–and allowed–to make hard decisions about their own pregnancies. It is irresponsible to tell a woman that she should refuse to make those decisions.

Shame on you, Feminists For Life!

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Ellen Keim

Ellen is a freelance writer, essayist and copy editor, living with three cats and a husband in Columbus, OH.

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