Thursday, August 18, 2005


Katha Pollitt's article Feminists for (Fetal) Life in this weeks' Nation is brilliant.

In it, she distinguishes between the feminist stance on abortion and that stance taken by the group Feminists for Life, of which Jane Roberts, wife of Supreme
Court nominee John Roberts, is a donating member.

In my opinion, she is right on. "Feminists" recognize not only the constraints placed on women's choices (to me, that is the avenue that links feminism and economics, which is all about examining constraints), but also the fact that women are moral agents who do not need the State to interfere with their decision making process-at least not differently than the way that it interferes with men's choices.

Here is the last, eloquent, paragraph:

Exposing the constraints on women's choices, however, is only one side of feminism. The other is acknowledging women as moral agents, trusting women to decide what is best for themselves. For FFL there's only one right decision: Have that baby. And since women's moral judgment cannot be trusted, abortion must be outlawed, whatever the consequences for women's lives and health--for rape victims and 12-year-olds and 50-year-olds, women carrying Tay-Sachs fetuses and women at risk of heart attack or stroke, women who have all the children they can handle and women who don't want children at all. FFL argues that abortion harms women--that's why it clings to the outdated cancer claims. But it would oppose abortion just as strongly if it prevented breast cancer, filled every woman's heart with joy, lowered the national deficit and found Jimmy Hoffa. That's because they aren't really feminists--a feminist could not force another woman to bear a child, any more than she could
turn a pregnant teenager out into a snowstorm. They are fetalists.

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