Op-ed: By Rachel Garfield, Class of 2019
I live in an unusual place on the Internet. I am a feminist and am engaged in many virtual circles that talk about women’s equality. I have been following many of these pages for years because they are the ones, for the most part, who are loudly speaking out against the systemic sexism that women from many different backgrounds face in our society. At the same time, I’m also pro-life. On my own, I don’t think that these two identities conflict with each other, but a lot of other people try to tell me that they do. I hear from many pro-lifers that I shouldn’t label myself a feminist because “they” are all pro-choice, and I hear in my feminist circles that you cannot be a “real” feminist without being in favor of abortion legalization.
Because of my commitment to equality, I would usually be tempted to say that a woman should have total control over her own body and in most circumstances I will stand by that. But I would also say that a woman’s fetus, although it is inside of her, is not her. She and the fetus have different DNA, have separate hearts, brains, and senses. If it they did not, I would 100% agree that a woman should have the choice to have an abortion, but it is not her body that she wants to remove and effectively extinguish, but another’s. The choice about their right to freely live is not hers to make.
The thought of becoming a parent unexpectedly is intimidating. We have these visions of what we think our lives will be, and anything that unexpectedly changes that can be frightening, We need to stop believing the lie, though, that parenthood gets in the way of our lives: it is a high privilege to bring children into this world or raise them. Children are a blessing. Ask any parent and they will tell you: their children are the most important parts of their world.
Roe v. Wade perpetuates a worldview that underestimates women. It implies that when life doesn’t go as expected and things might change or be hard, you have to have a way out because you probably couldn’t face it and still do anything else. Women are incredible and can handle a lot. Life is hard and we can face our challenges head on, but no one said we should have to do it alone. We must make more family positive policy and social changes to support parents.
Here we are, 45 years after Roe v. Wade was ruled, and I am not convinced that it has made women advance more towards social equality. I see a lot of women who are trapped because they have been told that they cannot give birth to a child and pursue their dreams, that they have to choose one or the other. If anything, I think after 45 years that it has left a lot of people left with loss in their hearts.