Are women’s bodies a problem to be overcome, or a gift to society? Pro-life feminists are challenging mainstream feminist discourse by affirming that the totality of womanhood, including her capacity to generate new life and her call to motherhood, is a good to be shared with all.
The NWF was founded in 2004 by purple-haired Destiny Herndon-De La Rosa. Herndon’s conception was unplanned. She calls her mother’s choice to carry her to term—and all the sacrifices that went along with it—a demonstration of “true feminist strength.” According to her, abortion is not a solution to women’s oppression, but a symptom of oppression:
We have this culture that trains women from a very young age that their sexuality is their only power, which…breaks women down from such a young age and sexualizes every aspect of their being. Then when they end up becoming pregnant, they feel like the merciful thing to do is have an abortion because they’re not good enough to be this child’s sole provider—that they can’t do it. So that all kind of goes back into…this mentality that women aren’t strong enough. And when we started putting those connections together, we realized that we couldn’t just be pro-life, we couldn’t just be feminist. These two both have much more in common than we even realized.
Herndon’s claim that her mother’s sacrifice of giving birth is a demonstration of true feminist strength indicates that strength is not just the exercise of power, but the gift of self. It is this uniquely feminine mode of giving that distinguishes a woman’s dignity from a man’s. This call to give is written in the reality of our bodies. If a woman defines her dignity solely in terms of political agency, then she runs the risk of reducing herself to a mere mechanism in a machine of power. Until feminists approach matters of personhood with a healthy sense of realism, they will never be able to transcend the oppressive systems they are trying to escape.
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