As we head into a new year and an impending presidential race, all of our cultural hot-button issues are competing for political and media attention. One that keeps coming up: feminism and women’s issues. How will our next president be pro-women? Will this be the term of the first woman president? How will our next president respond to Planned Parenthood or the 20-week abortion bill? Will this year mark progress or regress in the battle for women’s rights?
“Feminism” is a word used so much and in so many different ways that it has almost lost its meaning. If you only read the media headlines, you might think being pro-life and being pro-woman are somehow diametrically opposed. This new year is an opportune moment to define our terms and ask ourselves what it really means to be pro-women. When we do this, we find that the pro-life movement has every reason to wear the “feminist” badge proudly, and that pregnancy resource centers in particular are the pro-women organizations we should be supporting.
Being a feminist should mean being an advocate for women’s political rights, their domestic protection, and their social well being. If it were that simple, pro-life activists would be considered soldiers on the front lines of feminism. Unfortunately, the “feminism” that mainstream culture has embraced tends to look down on the distinctly feminine aspects of life, and instead often seeks to turn women into men.
That might sounds extreme, but a recent win for “feminism” demonstrates this well –just over a year ago the story broke that Facebook and Apple intended to offer a new benefit to their female employees — egg-freezing. It was lauded as a feminist victory and a great example of how businesses could be more pro-women. On the surface, it does sound pro-women — it allows women to focus on their career in their twenties and thirties just like men can without worrying about their biological clocks. One of the problems, is that this reproductive technology is highly underdeveloped and offers women a false sense of future, family, and security while encouraging them to make a major life sacrifice. Also, this view supports the underlying assumption that women’s reproductive natures are somehow a problem for businesses. If we could get rid of that very feminine quality, and make them more like men, everyone would be happier.
Abortion clinics are another example of this logic. They often suggest that the best option for women is to focus on not getting pregnant or ending their pregnancy. These clinics offer nothing to mothers, as we’ve discussed before. They further a culture that seeks to strip women of the most basic things that make them women.
In her article “How Feminism is Failing Millennial Women,” Georgetown Law Student Cynthia Reed says, “It is not anti-feminist to be honest about the desire to have a family and/or children. It is not anti-feminist to be strategic about career planning, given the constraints placed on women in the workforce.” She goes on to call for “treatment that addresses the realities of being a women,” in contrast to being treated like men.
This treatment is exactly what Pregnancy Resource Centers offer. The American Association of Pro-life Obstetricians and Gynecologists says, “Pregnancy Resource Centers have been called the kind, calm, nonjudgmental face of the pro-life movement. These ministry centers offer hope to women facing unplanned pregnancies by providing practical help and emotional support.”
These are the true feminist institutions. In a world that makes little to no room for pregnancy, Pregnancy Resource Centers offer education, counseling, and support to women who find themselves in the midst of this most-feminine phenomenon. They exist to serve the underrepresented women of our age – the mothers. They are conscious of the reproductive choices facing women today and they empower women to embrace their femininity and the miracle that is childbearing.
If 2016 is to truly be a year for women, it will be because of the pro-life and pro-women advocates we support. At Save the Storks, we seek to empower and mobilize Pregnancy Resource Centers to further their life-saving work, and we invite all who are true feminists to join us!