Feminism and abortion are opposing concepts. They are incompatible. The one invalidates the other.
This election season has focused in large part on the dignity and rights of women. In the most schizophrenic manner, the Democratic candidate has claimed to be a champion of the rights and dignity of women while also promising to make abortion restriction-free all the way through the ninth month of pregnancy.
This is how we honor women? This is what it means to be free and have “rights” as women? This is the sign of a society that holds women in high regard?
Oh, I can hear the angry readers now. I know what you think. I bet I have been placed in the category of uneducated, unsophisticated, and oppressed religious freaks. It’s ok. Just keep reading.
Here is why you can’t be a feminist and pro-choice. St. Pope John Paul II said it best in his Letter to Women (1995):
“. . . the choice to have an abortion always remains a grave sin. But before being something to blame on the woman, it is a crime for which guilt needs to be attributed to men and to the complicity of the general social environment.”
As JPII is declaring his gratitude for the “genius of women.” He holds firm to the truth that abortion is a grave sin. He does not, however, hold that this sin/choice is “personal” sin or restricted to women alone!
The public discourse on abortion has settled exclusively on the “rights” of women to choose abortion and not the failure of men to protect the dignity of women. Let us make sure men have as much sex without restriction, consequences, or obligations while denigrating the awesome life-giving power of the female body. How feminist are you feeling right now?
Feminism according to my graduate education (not as uneducated as you thought, huh?) is concerned with the dynamics of oppression present in society. The “social environment” JPII referenced includes the community’s failure to support a women’s material, social, and spiritual needs so that abortion is not an option. Why does Planned Parenthood get supported with $500 million a year in taxpayer funds, but your local crisis pregnancy center is scratching out an existence on donations and fundraising events?
Furthermore, “complicity” as used in the passage has political ramifications in the “social environment.” To be complicit is to participate in wrongdoing. Voting for an evil thing while being “personally opposed” is being complicit in evil. It is a participation in the wrongdoing! There is no invisible barrier between the evil I do and the evil I condone. My soul takes on both – equally.
From the Catholic world view, there is no personal sin. That is to say that the Mystical Body of Christ shares in the grace of one person’s virtue and the sin and spiritual death of another. We cannot ignore abortion and claim it is a “personal” choice with no impact on the society at large. Abortion has become a cannibalization of the dignity of women as well as society’s future.
A final quote from St. John Paul The Great:
“America you are beautiful…and blessed…. The ultimate test of your greatness is the way you treat every human being, but especially the weakest and most defenseless. If you want equal justice for all and true freedom and lasting peace, then America, defend life.”
-Pope John Paul II