Lament of a pro-life feminist

Pro-life feminism sign (CNS)

It's time for a new kind of feminism – one where it's okay to be pro-life, writes Kate Moriarty on Eureka Street.

I'm what you might call a feminist outsider. It sounds cool when I put it that way, like I'm some sort of rebel.

I'm a passionate believer in the rights of women. I believe every girl should have the opportunity to be educated, and that workplaces need to become more accommodating of families. I spend a worrying amount of time shouting "You wouldn't say that if she were a man!" to political commentators on the radio.

I'd like to be called a feminist. But I don't think I'm allowed to be. You see, I also believe a baby is a person before she is born. And I believe that person has rights.

It's okay. I'm used to not fitting in. At high school, I was all too eager to raise my hand in class, and this made it difficult to make friends. I spent lunchtimes in the school library. The stony refrain "You can't sit with us" still echoes in my ears, 20 years later.

I'll admit, it's an uncomfortable belief to hold. I'm aware that there are many women who have undergone abortions, for whom discussion of the issue would bring additional pain. And many feminist commentators have made it clear that opposition to abortion is unforgivable.

Many of the women I talk to who are pro-life tend to keep their mouth shut. They don't want to be lumped in with the handful of extreme pro-lifers who are mostly about shock tactics. And even many of the women I talk to who are pro-choice are uneasy about late-term abortions. But how do you come out and say, "I'm pro-choice, but I'm not pro-that"?

Perhaps I, too, should smother the unease I feel when I consider that in Victoria, Tasmania and Canberra it is legal to perform an abortion up until the ninth month of pregnancy. Perhaps I shouldn't let it bother me that personhood, and the rights that come with it, seems a matter of mere geography; of which side of the uterine wall a baby happens to be on. Perhaps, if I want to be a feminist, I need to bite my tongue, stop raising my hand to ask questions, and be more submissive.

Or perhaps it's time for a new feminism.


Lament of a pro-life feminist (Eureka Street)

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