You Don’t Have to Choose Between Being a Feminist and Being Pro-Life

When I tell people that I’m currently an intern at Feminists for Life, they usually look at me like I have a second head. Pro-life and pro-abortion activists alike are full of questions:

What do you mean “feminist”?

What do you mean “pro-life”?

I’ve always been pro-life, but it was only with life experience that I learned how complex the issue of abortion really was. Women typically don’t go to abortion sites out of some kind of anger against the child in their womb. They often don’t see it as a baby and they usually don’t feel like they have much of a choice. The latest statistics show of all of the women who seek abortions:

– 75% say that having a baby would interfere with work, school or the ability to care for dependents,
– 75% say they can’t afford a child,
– 69% are economically disadvantaged,
– 61% already have at least one child,
– and 44% of all abortions are performed on college-age women.

All of this hit home for me when I had my son unexpectedly. I was lucky. I was happily married to a man who had a good job. I had the freedom to stay at home. But many, too many, women are not so lucky.

Although I will never be able to completely relate to those who are less fortunate, I did have much of the emotional turmoil they experience. Although my husband had a good job, there were still lingering doubts on whether we could make this work. I did have to throw my career plans out the window and I did have to make drastic changes to my educational plans. I lost my sense of identity because I had identified so strongly with my career plans. I had no idea who I was or what I was going to do anymore.

I could imagine how difficult it would have been if my husband wasn’t there, if my husband didn’t have a job or if my husband and I were not both pro-life.

To me, being a “pro-life feminist” means being pro-life with a drive to eliminate the reasons why women turn to abortion. No woman should feel that she has to choose between a career or an education and a child. No woman should have to choose between food and shelter and a child. As the organization Feminists for Life says, “Women deserve better.”

Abortion hurts women in many ways, but there is only one that I want to point out right now. Abortion upholds the status-quo. Schools and employers don’t feel the need to accommodate pregnant and parenting women if those women “should have just gotten abortions.” We can’t force the fathers to do their part in paying child support if the mothers “should have just gotten abortions.” We can’t change the social stigma attached to single parenting if we can say that the woman “should have just gotten an abortion.”

I was blessed with a supportive husband and a school that was willing to work around my schedule so I could graduate. Too many women are not so lucky. That’s the reason why I’m a pro-life feminist.