Why I Support Women's Rights
By Alissa Golob, Co-founder of Right Now
“Cautious, careful people, always casting about to preserve their reputation and social standing, never can bring about a reform.”- Susan B. Anthony
Today is International Women’s Day. It’s also my birthday. Not too long ago, a 19-year old woman was standing in a hospital room awaiting the results of her first pregnancy test. She was a first-year university student with no money and no intention of becoming pregnant.
“I’m pro-baby and everything, but I can schedule you an abortion if you like”.
Those were the first words out of the doctor’s mouth after she told my mother her pregnany test was positive. Those are the words I think about every year on my birthday, not only so that I call my mom and thank her for choosing to have me despite her difficult circumstances, but also because it’s such an important day for women.
International Women’s Day should be celebrated. Women have had to fight for decades; from the right to education to the right to vote, and it wasn’t easy. Famous suffragette Alice Paul was arrested seven times. She participated in hunger strikes while in prison and was even beaten by police. These struggles are far from over, and I’m not just talking about Jennifer Lawrence’s pay parity problem. Just four years ago, fifteen year-old Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head in Pakistan by a masked gunman because she blogged about how important education was for girls. Forced and child marriage, female genital mutilation and gendercide are still happening in many parts of the world today, and need to be universally condemned. Equality in society and in the workforce are important values all countries should hold true.
The crazy thing to me is that when most people talk about women’s rights, they include abortion. This is especially ironic considering that our feminist foremothers opposed abortion, and even worked to address the root causes that drive women to abortion in the first place. Susan B. Anthony once said, “sweeter even than to have had the joy of caring for children of my own has it been to me to help bring about a better state of things for mothers generally, so that their unborn little ones could not be willed away from them”. Even Alice Paul said that abortion is the “ultimate exploitation of women”. So why do modern-day feminists choose to ignore these core values traditional feminists stood for?
"It is precisely because I support women’s rights that I cannot support abortion. Abortion is a reflection that we have failed women, and have forced them to settle for less."
Women are driven to abortion by a lack of resources, support and laws to protect them and their children. Instead of fixing these root problems, current legislators and “advocacy” groups tell women that abortion will empower them and free them of their problems, when all it does is leave them isolated, wounded and alone.
As a woman, how can I support a procedure that psychologically damages women, increases their risk of cancer and of suicide? How can I support something that leaves women scarred and unprotected from coercion? Women’s magazines like Marie-Claire are recognizing how harmful even the abortion pill can be. Abortion rights are not women’s rights, they are anti-women’s rights.
It’s insulting to the core of who we are as women to say that the only way we can achieve true equality is to abort our children. As Dr. Elizabeth Fox-Genoves, professor at Emory University realized, “modern feminist ideology relies on the disquieting premise that for women to achieve full dignity and freedom they must become as much like men as possible. For a woman to become the best she can be, she must become as little like a woman as possible”.
Women shouldn’t have to become men to be equal to men. Women’s child-bearing abilities are unique and amazing. Just ask Jim Gaffigan:
Not to undermine the importance of fathers, Jim acknowledges and rightly admires what makes women so special, in so many ways. We need to embrace our bodies, not reject them.
This International Women’s Day, let’s unite to support non-violent and life-affirming choices for women, like adoption and parenthood. Let’s adhere to the basic feminist principles of nonviolence, nondiscrimination and justice for all, including the unborn. And above all, let’s support women, like my mother, who have gone through and will go through unplanned pregnancies, in practical ways, like ensuring they are supported on campuses, in their workplace and in their homes.
This International Women’s Day, join me in celebrating our rights, our liberty, and above all, our life.