Why I Am a Pro-Life Feminist: Women’s Rights and Abortion “Rights” Don’t Mix

Opinion   |   Emily Derois   |   Aug 29, 2016   |   11:12AM   |   Washington, DC

In a recent article published by Cleveland.com, Marilyn Kopp described why she identifies both as pro-life and a feminist. The president of the Ohio chapter of Feminist for Life eloquently explained that defending women’s rights also means defending the unborn from abortion.

Kopp began by explained that the early feminists were staunchly pro-life. She quoted several suffragettes, beginning with Mattie Brinkerhoff who said, “When a man steals to satisfy hunger, we may safely conclude that there is something wrong in society – so when a woman destroys the life of her unborn child, it is an evidence that either by education or circumstances she has been greatly wronged.” Brinkerhoff saw abortion not as a solution to a woman’s problems, but as a horrible act that indicated even bigger problems in society as a whole.

Kopp also cited Victoria Woodhull, the first female presidential candidate in the U.S., who wrote: “Men must no longer insult all womanhood by saying that freedom means the degradation of woman. Every woman knows that if she were free, she would never bear an unwished-for child, nor think of murdering one before its birth.”

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As Kopp pointed out, leading feminists defended the unborn when the women’s rights movement began – the opposite of what is happening in the movement today. “The Revolution,” a feminist newspaper published by Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, wrote that abortion was “child murder.” The newspaper would not print advertisements from patent medicines, as they essentially were “thinly disguised abortifacients,” Kopp wrote.

Kopp compared abortion to women’s inequality in the last century. She explained, “It is unjust today, as it was a century ago, for women to feel forced to choose between their life plans or their own children in order to participate freely and equally in society.”

Kopp concluded the article by providing several life-affirming options for pregnant women, including the Feminists for Life College Outreach program and pregnancy care centers. In doing so, she reminded readers that there is help available for women and their unborn babies, especially those in difficult situations.

Advocating for unborn life does not negate from woman’s rights. Rather, it protects the rights of all women, both born and unborn. Hopefully, Kopp’s article (published in a mainstream news source) will allow readers to consider the pro-life position and realize that defending life at all stages protects women, including those of future generations.