Tuesday, August 29, 2006
Pro Life Feminism,Today and Yesterday
I used to get sick and tired of being told the shibolleth that one could not be a feminist if one was not pro choice, often in the form of ill informed rants. Next time pro choice feminists want to invoke the legact of Susan B. Anthony and other feminist foremothers on any issue they should take into account what their views actually were on abortion. The legacy of Susan B. Anthony may live on, but it does not live on in those who trash her legacy by creating a party line for not only all feminists but for all progressives generally.
They may argue that Anthony's (and Wollstonecraft's etc) views were in the context of their time, and that they should not be a blueprint for the views of feminists today. They are entitled to do this. What they are not entitled to do, in my opinion, is to make supporting what Alice Paul termed 'the ultimate exploitation of women' a party line, and silence any dissent on the issue in a neo Stalinist manner.
They are not entitled to insist we celebrate this 'ultimate exploitation' as a civil liberty that we must rejoice in.
If the views of the early feminists should not be a blueprint then neither should 'pro choice' be one either. Let the individual look at the facts and reach her (or his) own conclusion. But this is precisely what the femintern stops it's adherents from doing. It is taken as a truism that one is not a feminist unless they support the fight for 'choice'. Abortion is often mixed in with other issues, it being taken for granted that to be a progressive is to be pro choice.
I am in fact a social libertarian on nearly every issue - I support the decriminalisation of prostitution, am pro porn and support the legalisation of drugs. But my rights end where somebody else's begin as far as I am concerned. As I grant the foetus human status abortion is not my right.
I would not ever demand, if my position were the ascendant one, that everyone agrees with it in order to prove their progressive status. I therefore wish that my opponents would stop making it a litmus test.