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Living the Gospel of Life -- Study Guide

Paragraph Thirty-six

Reflection

There is such a thing as authentic, Christian, pro-life feminism. Unfortunately, the pro-abortion movement has hijacked the "feminist" movement, but it was not that way in the beginning. Those who established the women's rights movement in America opposed abortion. Susan B. Anthony called it "child-murder," and Elizabeth Cady Stanton said, "When we consider that women are treated as property, it is degrading to women that we should treat our children as property to be disposed of as we see fit."

Authentic feminism is pro-life, because it is based on equality. It recognizes the real difference between the two sides of the abortion debate. The difference is not that we love the baby and abortion supporters love the woman. The real difference is that they think you can separate the two and we say you cannot. The destiny of mother and child are inextricably linked. You cannot hurt one without hurting the other, and you cannot love one without loving the other. To be pro-life is to be pro-woman.

Feminism also listens to the voices of women. It hears their voice of despair when nobody is willing to help in a crisis pregnancy, and seeks to make room for both mother and child. It also hears their voice of pain when, having gone through the ordeal of abortion, they declare that it was a dead end, and reach out for someone who can restore their hope and peace. Numerous programs of post-abortion healing are serving women every day. The Silent No More Awareness Campaign helps people to find these programs, and also provides opportunities for women to share with the rest of society their pain and sorrow over the loss of their child. The Campaign has organized women to stand publicly in prayer holding signs that say "I Regret My Abortion," and to tell the story of how they were exploited. National celebrities such as Jennifer O'Neill, Melba Moore, and Dr. Alveda King -- all of whom have had abortions -- have joined the Campaign.

The bishops indicate that women can play a unique role in helping elected officials appreciate the sanctity of life. A perfect example is how one of the Silent No More Awareness gatherings at the Supreme Court impacted Democratic (and formerly pro-abortion) Senator Zell Miller. He writes in his book A National Party No More, "The most poignant sight for me at this year's annual pro-life march and demonstration in Washington, D.C., was the large number of women holding signs saying they regretted their abortions" (p.106).

Discussion Questions

Describe the relationship between "authentic feminism" and "equality."

How can women share their unique perspectives with candidates and public officials?

Click here to listen to a talk by Fr. Frank Pavone on Church teaching and authentic feminism.

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