On a pack of cigarettes, we see WARNING: Smoking causes lung cancer, heart disease, emphysema, and may complicate pregnancy. Some pill bottles read WARNING: Do not drive or operate heavy machinery while taking this product as it may cause drowsiness. Abortion has packaging too, but it’s provided by pro-abortionists—and the liberal press and politicians that deliver for them—so it’s: Never is heard a discouraging word and the skies are not cloudy all day, twang.
First-wave feminism came into being in the mid-19th century with the goal of gaining for women the right to own property, the right to vote (suffrage), and equal treatment in other areas like education and divorce. Abortion was seen as a crime forced upon women by men unwilling to accept responsibility. Early feminists believed that equality for women could end abortion: “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” (Elizabeth Cady Stanton). “Abortion is the ultimate exploitation of women” (Alice Paul, who drafted the original version of the Equal Rights Amendment). “I deplore the horrible crime of child-murder . . . No matter what the motive, love of ease, or a desire to save from suffering the unborn innocent, the woman is awfully guilty who commits the deed. It will burden her conscience in life, it will burden her soul in death; But oh! Thrice guilty is he who . . . drove her to the desperation which impels her to the crime” (Susan B. Anthony).
Second-wave feminism began in 1963 when Betty Friedan published The Feminine Mystique, her bestselling cri de coeur in which she claimed many if not most women were unfulfilled being only housewives and mothers. She never mentioned abortion. Three years later, a group of 28 women, including Friedan, started the National Organization for Women (NOW), focusing on a woman’s right to equal education and equal pay. It was a couple of men who would add abortion to feminism’s must-have list. Journalist Lawrence Lader and abortionist Bernard Nathanson—the duo that later founded the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL)—concluded they would need feminists on board in their effort to get abortion legalized. One of their strategies was to assert publicly that between five and ten thousand women died each year from illegal abortions, a massive exaggeration but one given credibility by reporters who didn’t do proper research and just ran with it. The Sexual Revolution was hip, liberal, and attractive for fairly obvious reasons, but in order for it to succeed it was vital that unwanted children casually conceived in this “free-love” culture never had to be born. Of course, free-love is only “free” for men if women agree to pick up the tab.
Lader and Nathanson convinced Friedan and other influential women that legal abortion would assure female equality. In 1967, proposals offered at the NOW Membership Conference at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C., included supporting the “right” to abortion. Journalist Sue Ellen Browder’s book Subverted detailed this event: “Friedan has saved the vote over the abortion resolution for last. Without warning, she suddenly shocks many delegates, including Marguerite Rawalt (a retired IRS attorney who served as a 1961 appointee to President John F. Kennedy’s Commission on the Status of Women), by belligerently pressing for full repeal of all abortion laws.” Reasonable voices were drowned out by radicals who “ha[d] shown up in unexpected numbers to cast their votes for abortion.”
The rest is sordid history.
My own feminist declaration took place not in a D.C. hotel but at home. We were a family of four children, two boys and two girls. As part of our chores my sister and I had to make our brothers’ beds. It was just something we did, and I didn’t give it much thought until the day I was a bit slow getting to it, and my eldest brother jerked his head towards his room and told me to “take care of that.” Something snapped in me. I walked away from him, refusing to make their beds any more. This created an immediate conflict, because it meant my sister would have the whole chore to do. I told her the best thing for her would be to refuse also. That was a revolutionary act beyond her depth, so she lodged a complaint with The Parents instead. But eldest brother had gotten to them first. He was miffed at what he saw as too much independence on my part. Middle brother took a wait-and-see stance. At first my parents let it slide, figuring I would come around. I didn’t.
The first indication that I might have a kindred spirit in mom was when my father came into my bedroom, ostensibly to “show me how to make a bed.” I stood there in disbelief as, in that sing-song voice men sometimes use when explaining something to a female (we have smaller brains, you know), he patiently demonstrated the mechanics of bed-making. I interrupted him, saying: “Yes, and what you are doing right now is making a hospital corner.” He looked up at me, surprised. I went on: “Do you really think this is because I don’t know how to make a bed? I’ve been doing it all this time, haven’t I?” Of course he knew I knew how to make a bed, he was just hoping to evade the issue. He straightened up and looked at me. “So, you think you have a case, do you? Fine, you can stake your claim tonight after dinner.” Fact was at that moment I didn’t have anything clear in my mind. No, I didn’t like how my brother had gotten high-handed with me, but that could be resolved by his simply being more polite. My objection was bigger than that. It had something to do with fairness.
So now it’s after dinner. My father’s argument was immediately laid out: “Everyone has chores, not just you. The girls make the beds but the boys take out the garbage.” I pointed out that yes, they do, and the girls set the table. “See!” he exclaimed, “you just have different work, that’s all!” Then he started to wrap things up as if the discussion were over. “No,” I insisted, “it’s different. It’s different because garbage is what’s left after a meal they’ve shared in, and setting the table is preparing for a meal we girls will share in. But our making their beds only serves them. It’s one-sided.” My father shot mom a look, signaling her to weigh in now. She just shrugged one shoulder and said: “She’s right.”
Apparently, there’s been a third and fourth wave of feminism. Third-wave feminists came on the scene in the early 90s, seeking to expand the rights of LGBT and minority women (welcome to the girl’s swim team, buddy?). Fourth-wave feminism, begun around 2012, seeks “greater gender equality by focusing on gendered norms” (Wikipedia). Sounds to me like they’re living off of grant money from navel-gazing gender-studies foundations while evading the real issues.
Women’s reproductive-rights marches would make more sense if they included demands to encourage vasectomies, not just as a sporadic, placard-waving veiled threat, but for real—supported by the medical establishment and promoted by the government as a women’s health issue. Cue the eye-rolling and condescending asides about how naive I am because everyone knows that will never happen. Right. And nobody’s going to stop you from making their bed for them either. When I see male politicians—their fists clenched, their voices trilling in indignation—saying how really angry they are that anyone would dare threaten a woman’s right to choose while studiously ignoring any mention of a 15-minute out-patient procedure that is reversible, I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.
My words sound hard-boiled, don’t they? Look, any government promotion of bodily interference is serious over-reach. All I’m trying to do here is see if “What’s good for the goose is good for the gander” survives the transfer from fairy tale to today’s world. Uh-oh! It does! In terms of alimony, custody agreements, and not giving up one’s seat on the train, that is. So, why is it so-called feminists readily accept sole responsibility for the consequences of a one-sided sexual revolution? Maybe they’ve just gotten used to tidying up after men.
If abortion politics came in a bottle how would an accurate label read? WARNING: This product causes sleepwalking through life while grandstanding politicians use you to advance their media exposure and very loud but ultimately submissive gals convince you that volunteering for all the work is operating from a position of strength.