Pro-life women are portrayed as being on the outside looking in when it comes to today’s feminist movement, but they actually are truer to feminism’s roots.
That’s the message of Andrea Mrozek, program director with Cardus Family and a long-time observer and commentator on family and women’s issues.
“Modern feminism and what most of us experience today is pretty hostile to
pro-life,” said Mrozek, who is also founder of the pro-life website ProWomanProLife.org. “But the roots of
feminism are not. So in drawing on those roots, pro-life women are in a strong
The original feminist movement, the abolitionists seeking an end to slavery and then the suffragettes of the late 19th and early 20th century, were actually more pro-women and would have more in common with pro-lifers today, argues Mrozek, who spoke on the issue at the annual deVeber Institute Lecture Nov. 8 in Toronto.
“Really, the onus isn’t on pro-lifers to reconcile that,” she told The Catholic Register. “The onus is on the second-wave feminists to reconcile with their own roots.”
The evolution of thought came in the 1960s and the “Sexual Revolution” with its strong emphasis on “so-called reproductive rights.” That launched this second wave and took the women’s movement on a hard turn away from its roots, said Mrozek. It led to a splintering of the movement, with a “lack of a common cause because it has left behind its classical liberal roots that would allow for freedom to prevail.”
Feminism now is under such a broad umbrella that it means very different things to different people.
“It’s a very messy world out there in feminism today and I’m not 100-per-cent sure that they know what they stand for and that makes it difficult for others to join,” she said.
Today’s mainstream feminism has taken such a hard turn to the left that it is coming out of an almost Marxist tradition, and that’s where it has alienated a large portion of those who would normally call themselves feminists, she said.
“I don’t believe that Marxist thinking works.”
There are common causes to be found around women’s issues, particularly in the developing world, said Mrozek. But it’s hard to “make common cause when, first of all, feminism today includes abortion in their roster of issues.”
It’s “wishful thinking” to believe more women will embrace the feminism of the pro-life cause, but Mrozek said a strong case can be made for pro-life women being more pro-women than their pro-choice comrades, “whether you use the term feminist or not.”
There are groups out there that broaden their cause beyond the classic pro-life subjects of abortion and euthanasia. She cites Rehumanize International. It has a mandate of ensuring that each life is respected, valued and protected by opposing all forms of aggressive violence, including human trafficking, torture, unjust war, capital punishment and police brutality.
This broadening of the ideological positioning of these types of pro-life groups, Mrozek said, is indicative a movement in a new direction.
“If you want to draw in people of different persuasions, you have to take in
the ‘consistent life
ethic,’ ” she said.
The Catholic Register