by Bonnie Finnerty, Education Director
Because I am a woman one might expect me to whole-heartedly embrace the celebration of Women’s History Month during March. After all, this is an opportunity to celebrate my ancestral sisters, applauding their testing of boundaries and breaking of barriers. And for the most part, I greatly respect the legacy left by these brave women, reminded that whatever I might accomplish, I stand on their shoulders. So why the hesitation?
While grateful to the trailblazers who’ve cleared a path for subsequent generations, I am deeply saddened by the collateral damage that has ensued in the struggle toward equality. For in our effort to achieve one thing, some women mistakenly thought we had to sacrifice another. And what we’ve lost changes the very essence of who we are.
It is no small thing that we women are THE life-bearers of the entire species. We alone can grow human beings in our bodies, craft a cerebral cortex, knit a network of veins, erect a skeletal system. We alone can nourish this life with a perfect food forged by our miraculous bodies. We literally make the men and women of tomorrow with our very own cells. Now that’s power. A power given no man. A power and a privilege that should not be taken lightly. Or tossed away. Or aborted.
But in the fight to have opportunities equal to those of men, some have confused “equal to” with “same as”. Eager to embrace the masculine, with all its power and promise, some have forsaken the feminine, abandoning a gift that is uniquely given to women.
Too often we women are lumped together as the women’s movement, portraying us as united in support for the so-called “right” to abortion. But many women, perhaps a majority, do not believe that abortion is a path toward liberation or social justice or equality.
Rather, we pro-life feminists understand abortion as another form of oppression: forcing women to choose between birthing the burgeoning life within or ending that innocent life because of fear, pressure, or lack of resources. Abortion supporters promote a world of either/or, as in either sacrifice your child or you can’t succeed, while ironically claiming that they are all about choice.
But true feminism doesn’t limit women’s choices, nor force them to deny what makes them uniquely women. True feminism promotes a world of and/both, a world where motherhood and career aspirations can coexist and be fully supported. A world where women need not choose death for their children to walk through the doors that have been opened to us. That is the world for which first generation feminists like Susan B. Anthony and Alice Paul fought, and it is to that noble mission the modern women’s movement should return.
Alongside all the amazing accomplishments women have achieved, we should also celebrate and revere the vocation of motherhood. On our journeys to the board room, operating room, and courtroom, we should view fertility as a gift to be treasured, not a “disease” to be treated. We should see the potential of our own children and the legacy we can leave the world by investing our time and love in them. While celebrating women’s history, we should not be ruthlessly exterminating the history-makers of tomorrow.
With the great progress the pro-life movement is making in sharing the truth and beauty about human life in all its stages, I am hopeful that future Women’s History Months will not rely on abortion as a necessary step toward women’s success in society, but will instead, be a celebration of all that a woman is and all that she can be, including the sacred, irreplaceable, and incredibly rewarding role of mother.