An Authentic Concept of Woman will Build a Culture of Life
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(c) Dorinda C. Bordlee, Esq.*
This January marks 30 years of a failed social experiment called legalized abortion. As we look to the future to assess ways to rebuild our dehumanized culture, it is helpful to look back in history to review what the original woman's rights advocates said about abortion. Were these bold women who fought for the dignity and rights of women in favor of legalized abortion? Take a look at their words, and decide for yourself:
"Abortion is the ultimate exploitation of women." Alice Paul, author of the original Equal Rights Amendment (1923).
"[Abortion] will burden her conscience in life, it will burden her soul in death; but oh, thrice guilty is he who...drove her to the desperation which impelled her to the crime!" Susan B. Anthony, The Revolution, 1869. Susan B. Anthony organized the woman's suffrage movement which worked to get women the right to vote.
"When we consider that women are treated as property, it is degrading to women that we should treat our children as property to be disposed of as we see fit." Elizabeth Cady Stanton in a letter to Julia Ward Howe, October 16, 1873. Recorded in Howe's diary at Harvard University Library. Stanton is a co-organizer of the woman's suffrage movement.
The political agenda of groups like NOW, including its current efforts to obstruct judicial appointments of well-qualified jurists who respect the dignity of human life and the authentic nature of freedom have been widely discounted. NOW's philosophy of radical feminism is simply not responsive to the real lives of real women.
Radical feminism seeks to create a society (and has in fact achieved a society) in which freedom is a drastically individualistic matter: it's all about me. This erroneous notion of freedom gives no place to solidarity, to openness to others and service of them. It ends up becoming the freedom of the strong against the weak who have no choice but to submit.
Authentic feminism takes an integrated and balanced approach to the roles of women both in the family and in the workplace. Where she differs from man, a true feminism understands that these differences are constructive and complementary. A true feminism encourages collaboration between men and women, such that we stand united in addressing the many problems of our day.
The outdated concept of old-line feminism that NOW espouses is a stance that is isolationist where men are concerned; and even more isolationist where unborn and even born children are concerned. The result in 1973 was the invention of a "right" to sever those relationships by legalizing abortion on demand - the sad and deadly legacy of a feminism that exalted the isolated woman - abortions without spousal consent or even notice, and abortions on minor girls without notice to parents.
Authentic feminism takes a realist approach. It faces the reality that the violence of abortion has led to disaster for women, their children, and our culture. Authentic feminism challenges the world to accept woman in all of her life-giving glory: whether by bearing and nurturing human life, and/or by creating and cultivating an initiative that benefits the world through law, medicine, academia or the marketplace.
The unique gifts and talents that women bring to the table in both work and family position us to have enormous impact in rehumanizing our current culture of death. The "feminine genius" is that woman finds herself by making a sincere gift of herself. Women can teach the world how to balance work and family such that market economies are at the service of humankind, rather than humans in slavish service of the market.
Women are equal with men in dignity, but different in our feminine nature and identity. Women are icons of self-giving love. Countless women have managed the often herculean task of raising families and making their mark in all areas of society. We have done so with style and grace, rejecting the false concept that we must maim our bodies and destroy our offspring to make a difference in the world.
We are women. We have talents. We have children. And for that we should no longer apologize.
*Dorinda C. Bordlee, is the mother of four young children, and is legal counsel for Americans United for Life, a national public-interest law firm that specializes in all areas of bioethics law and the life issues.
You can contact Dorinda at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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