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We hope to see an end to proabortion stands in other feminist organizations. By diverting time and energy into abortion legislation, these groups have deemphasized the struggle for legal and social equality. In addition, they have deterred many potential feminists from joining the movement.
We are an independent organization. We accept men on an equal basis with women. Our goals now follow:
(1) To encourage prolife feminists to join the feminist movement. (2) To acquaint prolife people with the goals of feminism.
(3) To provide a forum for women who feel that joining a proabortion feminist organization would compromise their principles.
(4) To encourage women to become educated in pregnancy, childbirth, and other aspects of female sexuality.
(5) To help people to become knowledgeable on both sides of the abortion issue.
(6) To encourage efforts to alleviate the problems in society which cause women to seek abortions.
(7) To promote equal opportunity and equal protection of the laws regardless of sex.
(8) To take an active part in eliminating sexual stereotyping in the mass media advertising, and childhood education.
(9) To promote a strong, flexible family structure.
(12) To develop strategies for teaching women how to develop competitive techniques in the world without sacrificing warmth and nurturance in the home.
(13) To develop strategies for teaching men how to be nurturant toward their children without sacrificing their self-image or their ability to function competitively in the world.
(14) To develop strategies for gaining equality through our own strengths as women and not at the expense of the rights or property of others.
(15) To preserve the right of those women who wish to remain in the home as full time wives and mothers.
[From the National Catholic Reporter)
TALK OF “WANTED CHILD" MAKES FOR DOLL OBJECTS
(By Sidney Callahan) I'd like to start a campaign against the idea of “the wanted child.” This phrase is dangerous to children, even in small doses. The people who use the phrase in efforts to control population or sell family planning programs are well meaning, but they are sowing the seeds of subtle destruction.
The corruption involved is quite simple to grasp. If you start talking and thinking about a child as a “wanted child” you cannot help but put the idea into people's heads that children exist and have a right to exist only because someone wants them. And alas, the opposite conclusion is also there waiting for us : if it's an “unwanted child" is has no rights.
It's destructive of family life for parents even to think in these categories of wanted and unwanted children. By using the words you set up parents with too much power, including psychological power, over their children. Somehow the child is being measured by the parent's attitudes and being defined by the parent's feelings. We usually want only objects, and wanting them or not implies that we are superior, or at least engaged in a one-way relationship, to them.
In the same way, men have "wanted” women through the ages. Often a woman's position was precarious and rested on being wanted by some man. The unwanted woman could be cast off when she was no longer a desirable object. She did not have an intrinsic dignity beyond wanting. That's what they mean in protests against being a sex object.
Well, talking about the "wanted child" is making a child a "doll object." When you want one, you make one or buy one, and it then has a right to exist as a glorified form of property. And woe be to the child who is no longer wanted, or who is imperfect in some way. Or who in the church does not satisfy. Has satisfaction been given, sir? If not, the merchandise is returnable, you know.
The point I'm trying to stress, of course, is that old idea in our common culture that each human being has inviolable rights and dignity no matter what. If you're a Jew and they don't want you in Nazi Germany, it's Germany's shame. If you're black and they don't want you in the club, that's the club's crime. If you're a woman and they don't want you in the job, it's their fault. The powerful (including parents) cannot be allowed to want and unwant people at will.
In family life, this idea of unique inviolable dignity and intrinsic value is especially needed. Since emotions are so strong and despendency needs are so urgent, the temptation to cop out is ever present. We don't hang in there because we always want to, or want something or somebody. The old parent, the sick spouse, the needy child are not always wanted.
So who cares what you want, or whether other people want you? Human beings are human beings. Every individual has his rights. A child's very existence is claim enough.
[From the National Catholic Reporter)
FEMINIST AS ANTIABORTIONIST
(By Sidney Callahan) Let's get our feminism together. Right now. The feminist cause is being betrayed by the men and women pushing for public acceptance of the principle of abortion on demand. Arguments used in urging routine abortion deny fundamental values guiding the whole women's movement.
On the issue of abortion radical feminists have completely identified with the male aggressor; they spout a straight machismo ideology, with a touch of Adam Smith. The worst of traditional male power plays are being embraced and brandished by those who have suffered from them the most. Every slogan in the pro-abortion arsenal is male-oriented and a sell-out of feminist values. For instance:
(1) “The fetus isn't human and has no right to life.” But the feminist movement insists that men cease their age-old habit of withholding human status from women, blacks, Jews, Indians, Asians and any other helpless or different instances of human life. Women encourage rights to life, and value potential life. To deny the fact that human life is always a growing process through time is a failure of imagination and emphathy. Out of sight, out of mind, may do for a bombardier's conscience but not for a feminist movement dedicated to ending unilateral suppression of life. Embryonic life is also life, life with a built-in future.
(2) “Any problem pregnancy should be terminated early by a qualified medical professional employing the best technological techniques.” Yet the feminist movement has persistently protested impersonal professional technologies which efficiently ignore not only emotions but the real roots of complex human problems. Males have always searched, destroyed, cut, burned and aggressively attacked anything in the way without regard to context, consequences and natural interrelationships. Women have been committed to creative nonviolent alternatives which seek more lasting solutions. Feminist values are highly attuned to conservation and the achievement of social and ecological health. What irony that a society confronted with plastic bags filled with fetal remains, or fetal "wastage,” could worry more about the problem of recycling the plastic. So where have all the flowers gone?
(3) "A woman has the right to control her own body." How valiently the feminist movement has struggled against the male obsession to control. As they find in every prison, to fully control, you kill. The Dostoevski hero comes to mind who extinguished an insignificant life in order to assert his existential freedom to control his destiny. Any view of mere bodies as separate and subordinate to the self smells of an alienation reminiscent of male gnostic anxiety. Men have always tried to detach themselves from the body, viewing female bodies in particular as a form of property. Men are only too happy to separate female "reproductive systems” from the self. More middle-class men favor elective abortion than any other group, not only because it accords with male convenience, male strategies, but also because it suits the male norm of a human body. Full feminine sexuality is a threat, better to have women look
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at their own bodies as objects which they can manipulate at will and keep under control. Privately, discreetly, efficiently, with no messy demands.
(4) "Males have no right to speak or legislate on the abortion issue, since abortion is solely a matter between a woman and her physician." This argument is used to browbeat men (how to mau-mau the male power structure), but it is contrary to other feminist demands. Women now insist on their right to speak out on war not only because their husbands and sons die, but because it is a human concern. Feminists justly demand equal male-female cooperation, decision-making and mutual responsibility in all areas of social life. In particular, women will no longer bear the sole responsibility for childbearing. They insist (quite rightly) that men and the society at large accept their responsibility for the next generation by providing public day-care, health programs and other measures which will support and help women. Only with abortion does community concern become disallowed. Men are angrily disqualified, although over half the aborted fetuses are male and all fetuses are fathered. Each fetus not only has a direct link to a male, but genetically and physically it is linked to the human species as a whole. Who owns the human species? Or the gene pool? Who owns life? We don't let people in the name of private property pollute their own water, contaminate their own air or shoot their own eagles ; so how can aborting potential human life not be a public socio-legal concern.
I propose that a truly feminist approach to abortion would ;
(1) Display an advocacy of life no matter how immature, helpless or different it is from white, middle-class, adult males who have heretofore preempted the right to be fully human.
(2) Affirm that full feminine humanity includes distinctly feminine functions. Women need not identify with male sexuality, male aggression and wombless male lifestyles in order to win social equality. Getting into the club is not worth the price of alienation from body-life, emotion, emphathy and sensitivity.
(3) Assert that abortion is a two-sex community decision in which the rights and welfare of women, fetuse child n, fathers, families and the rest of the community be considered and arbitrated. The whole society has a responsibility for human life and the next generation. Women and men should urge and support nonviolent creative alternatives to abortion. Facing such a painful problem we cannot give in to simpleminded sexist slogans and a property rights ethic. Life is not that easy.
[From the National Catholic Reporter]
(By Charles E. Fager) What service does abortion serve in our society? It eliminates an obstacle to the freer mobility of certain women within it. The letters were full of outraged detail about just how much of a social and economic disaster an unplanned pregnancy can be for a woman-particularly a woman alone, particularly a woman trying to break out of the old wife-mother role she has been raised to fit into. To me this is all evidence that our social order is organized inhumanely, that it excludes as well as the nonwhite, the poor, the aged and others, pregnant mothers and the unborn.
It is enough of a struggle to raise wanted children adequatey if you are not affiuent, to try to do it alone, and while pursuing a vocation, is extremely difficult. It is not hard to see why, as one writer put it, a woman could feel “She has the right to decide against physical pain, discomfort and disfigurement; she has a right to decide against rearing a fatherless child; she has the right to decide against assuming ultimate responsibility for another human being; she has the right to decide against the physical and emotional drains of child-rearing. She has the right to decide for autonomy; she has a right to decide for satisfaction in work and fulfillment in non-biological creation; she has a right to decide in favor of that freedom traditionally granted man, namely, to pursue truth or folly, unfettered, unencumbered, nurtured instead of nurturing, encouraged rather than encouraging, comforted as opposed to giving comfort, mobile, not static, moving forward as a whole, free, growing organism."
If a decision to abort means a choice between these options, it is hardly surprising that many women would choose the abortion.
But why couldn't women faced with such a repugnant choice perceive abortion as a radicalizing experience, an ordeal into which they are coerced by an inhuman social order, and through which they could better be able to see its inhumanity? Why couldn't that experience be seen the way submitting to the draft and serving in Vietnam has been by so many GIs—as a situation in which they are coerced into participating in the immoral destruction of life, and which left them full of rage at those who put them in it?
The answer appears to be the acceptance of the fetus-as-nonhuman argument. Militant feminists have felt it necessary, as part of their campaign to get restrictive abortion laws repealed, to insist that the act is of no moral weight whatever. As one writer insisted to me, “including the unborn in the question of abortion is absurd. ... The carrying of this unwanted tissue can be compared to having an incurable cancer in your body. What morals are involved in removing a tumor, after all it is also an unwanted mass of tissue that the body has created ?"
There are, as many of us have read elsewhere, weighty theological figures ready to agree, among them none more forthright than professor Joseph Fletcher, who wrote to me, “A fetus is a parasite, tolerable ethically only when welcome to its hostess. If a woman doesn't want a fetus to remain growing in her body she should be free to rid herself of the unwelcome intruder."
To me this is a tragic mistake; and the sanction given it by the use in the Supreme Court's decision of a concept of “viability” is the weakest part of Justice Blackmun's opinion. I have examined carefully every rationale for such a position, and have found none that is not shot through with internal inconsistencies and contradictions. Most boil down to the proposition that a fetus is not human if someone else, usually the mother, chooses not to regard it as human, a standard we would not permit to be applied to any other form of human life, potential or realized.
But the point to keep before us is that the source of most “unwantedness" is institutional. It is the present social order, and the attitudes that sustain it, which will not accept and make provision for "unwanted” pregnancies (that is, pregnancies not supported by the options of affiuence) and the women who carry them. This "unwantedness" is enforced on women through a frightening panoply of sanctions.
Many of the letters insisted that as a male I could not posisbly have any understanding of what a woman faced with an unplanned pregnancy had to deal with. Yet I think that most of my generation faced a situation which, viewed from the angle I have just suggested, is in many ways analogous.
I am speaking of the draft. It served the function of providing the manpower for our war machine, a function that in our time has been seen widely as morally repugnant. It came upon us individually, in isolation, with demands for a substantial chuck of our time (much more than a pregnancy incidentally), and possibly our lives. Great institutional forces came with it to enforce its demands upon us. In this situation each of us had to make hard choices, moral choices, choices which made a great deal of difference in our lives.
The point of the analogy is that for many men, in many ways, the draft became the occasion of consciousness-raising and then resistance, a resistance from which a movement among them and many others grew. And now that the battle over legalities seems to have taken a decisive turn, why could not the women's movement come to regard unplanned pregnancies as occasions for resistance and mutual support because the preservation and potential of life was involved ?
Such a perspective would, I believe, take it in significantly different and more promising directions than the present disregard of fetal humanity and the moral welght of abortion decisions can. If it is unacceptable for a society to treat people of color or people without money as less than suman and not entitled to a fair share of the fruits of that society, how can we be ready to permit individuals to make such judgments independently of moral considerations?
A radical understanding of the meaning and value of life, in my view, must be, in fundamental opposition to that of our established order, as broad and nearly absolute as possible, both horizontally—including all manner and condition of people and vertically, from the moment life can be detected until the moment it ends. We should work to build a society that embodies this view
as closely as possible; and where the forces of the status quo deny it, even and particularly in its beginning, that is where the making of a revolution should start.
Abortion is the taking of a life. -Mary Calderone, MD, former medical director of Planned Parenthood.
An abortion kills the life of a baby after it has begun. -Plan Your Children for Health And Happiness, NY, August, 1963, Planned Parenthood.
Fertilization, then, has taken place; a baby has been conceived. —Alan Guttmacher, MD, late president of Planned Parenthood.
Each country will have to decide its own form of coercion. At present: the means available are compulsory sterilization and compulsory abortion. —Alan Guttmacher, MD.
... failure of the voluntary restraints has made government controls (on population) absolutely necessary. -Congressman Richard Lamm.
Population control, whatever form it takes, must be mandatory to be successful. We must consider enforced contraception, whether through taxation on surplus children, or through more severe means, such as conception-license replacing or supplementing marriage license. —Robert Ardrey, Life.
Just as we have laws compelling death control, so we must have laws requiring birth control—the purpose being to ensure a zero rate of population growth. -Edgar Chasteen, in The Case for Compulsory Birth Control.
In a social climate in which unwanted pregnancy is sufficient indication for abortion, criteria for selective abortion might be broadened considerably, eg eliminating carriers of a sickle cell or cystic fibrosis gene or even of two X chromosomes at the request of the parents, who have their own ideas of what constitutes the optimal brood of offspring for them, qualitatively as well as quantitatively. —Orlando J. Miller, M.D. in Symposium On Intrauterine Diag. nosis.
(From the Columbus Citizen-Journal, Mar. 29, 1974)
(By Sylvia Brooks) Planned Parenthood of Columbus is at least two weeks behind in problem pregnancy counseling, and in some cases the delay is so long women wanting simple abortions can not get them in local clinics.
The problem, according to executive director Mary Harris, is that the agency does not have enough staff to handle the volume, and now over 55 per cent of the patients are being referred by private physicians.
Local clinics, using a simple surgical procedure, will only do it on women 12 weeks pregnant, or under. Over that, the procedure becomes more complicated and should be done in a hospital.
Mrs. Harris feels Planned Parenthood has been “caught in the middle," and the agency has had to stop all other kinds of sexual and reproductive counseling to meet the need.
The Citizen-Journal talked with many agencies doing similar counseling, Planned Parenthood staff, patients and others.
All said some women are being forced to go to New York because they can not get an appointment at Planned Parenthood before the 12th week of their pregnancy.
Planned Parenthood does not give out telephone numbers of local abortion clinics over the telephone, and requires people to come into the agency in person for information.
Mrs. Harris says the personal contact is important:
“We feel it is our obligation to counsel with a patient and not just be a conduit. We counsel in all our other programs.'
However, she said because of the increased demand, the board of the agency would probably reconsider the prohibition against giving telephone information.
Many professional counselors, however, do not agree. Ann Kaplan, with the Abortion Education Society of Ohio, says Planned Parenthood should give out clinic numbers over the telephone and not insist on counseling.
“They (Planned Parenthood) see abortion as a major, traumatic experience and that each woman needs professional counseling. I just can't agree,” Mrs. Kaplan said