Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Pro-Life And Feminist

Over at Feminist Law Professors, Bridget Crawford recalls a conversation about whether someone can be a feminist and pro-life. Some people argued that it's possible that one could recognize the difficult decision involved and respect other women's right to make the decision, but never have an abortion themselves. Others argued it's impossible because pro-life by definition seeks to deny women the right to choose to have an abortion.

What I don't get is why feminism requires adherence to the view that abortion should be legal. My understanding of feminism (as the term is used broadly) is that it seeks to obtain for women equal legal and civil rights and an equal place in society. Why can't such an admirable stance be congruous with the idea that a women's right to control her body is outweighed by the right of the fetus?

Suppose someone believes life begins at conception. And suppose she is a feminist and therefore believes a women has a right to control her own body (I'm not even sure why those two concepts have to be linked). Why can't she believe that the fetuses right to live is trumped by the women's right to abort?

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