How the Pro- “Choice” Movement Failed American Women

How the Pro- “Choice” Movement Failed American Women January 21, 2008

I received this outstanding letter from Feminists for Life and thought I would share parts of it with you. FYI: Weddington is the attorney who fought to overturn Texas’ anti-abortion laws. All bolded text is mine.

As her arguments for abortion before the Supreme Court made clear, Weddington saw the discrimination and other injustices faced by pregnant women. But she did not demand that these injustices be remedied. Instead, she demanded for women the “right” to submit to these injustices by destroying their pregnancies.

Weddington rightly pointed out the unmet needs of students: “…there are many schools where a woman is forced to quit if she becomes pregnant.” But Weddington didn’t argue against pregnancy discrimination or even for alternate solutions for a pregnant student.

Weddington did no better for women in the workplace. “In the matter of employment, she often is forced to quit at an early point in her pregnancy. She has no provision for maternity leave… She cannot get unemployment compensation under our laws, because the laws hold that she is not eligible for employment, being pregnant, and therefore is eligible for no unemployment compensation.”

For women with serious medical needs, she further noted: “There is no duty for employers to rehire women if they must drop out to carry a pregnancy to term. And, of course, this is especially hard on the many women in Texas who are heads of their own households and must provide for their already existing children.”

Weddington clearly saw the bind low-income women face when experiencing unplanned pregnancy: “At the same time, she can get no welfare to help her at a time when she has no unemployment compensation and she’s not eligible for any help in getting a job to provide for herself.”

Weddington repeatedly said that women need “relief” from pregnancy, instead of arguing that women need relief from these injustices.

What if Weddington had used her legal acumen to challenge the system and address women’s needs?

By accepting pregnancy discrimination in school and workplace and the lack of support in society for pregnant women and parents, especially the poor, Weddington and the Supreme Court betrayed women and undermined the support women need and deserve.

Since then, millions of women have paid the price, struggling in school and the workplace without societal support. After all, when “it’s her body, it’s her choice,” it’s her problem.

And as we continue to see, 35 years after women won the right to terminate their child’s life, working mothers are continuously discriminated against in jobs, society has zero mercy on the dilemma of working mothers because she CHOSE to give birth to her child, so SHE bears the FULL responsibility of that decision.

Weddington’s comments still stand true today and yet how much “choice” is there when single mothers are punished so much by society? No day care support, no support from discrimination (you have to first prove it), no affordable health care. Sounds like coercion to me.

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  • Matt K

    My wife and I are proud members of Feminists for Life. We both work and study at an Evangelical Christian university that unfortunately is completely unaccommodating to mothers. FFL is working hard to bring this deadly discrimination to an end.

  • M.Z. Forrest

    society has zero mercy on the dilemma of working mothers because she CHOSE to give birth to her child, so SHE bears the FULL responsibility of that decision.

    You speak as if there is something wrong with that. “Working Mothers” is being used as a euphemism. Their working has nothing to do with their motherhood and is actually opposed to it.

  • SMB

    ‘Their working has nothing to do with their motherhood and is actually opposed to it.’

    Uhh…come again, MZ?

  • radicalcatholicmom

    MZ: uh huh.

  • M.Z. Forrest

    Whereas most folks see children as a feature of families, feminists see children as an obstacle in pursuit of their personal fullfillment. Ensuring the comfort of women who have eschewed men from the family is societal craziness. One could certainly choose to mitigate the perversion, but I prefer to address the perversion itself.

  • radicalcatholicmom

    MZ: change this around and talk about men. Men are both fathers and parents. All Feminists want are the same opportunities for mothers. Women should not have to chose between a career or a child, but increasingly they find they have to. Up to 70% of ALL mothers work outside the home and I seriously doubt those mothers are all the feminists you think they are. You are bizarre and insulting to all mothers who work to feed their children.

  • M.Z. Forrest

    Feminists want to be men in other words.

    While not all 70% would indeed be feminists, the number certainly isn’t zero and is closer to 70% than most would like to admit.

    I’m not insulting to mothers who work to feed their children. I’m insulting to mothers who think their mothering work can be 2 hours a day while they’re busy getting fullfillment. Quite frankly you and other feminists like yourself are insulting to mothers who do ‘work’ caring for their home. All of this is a diversion from the reality that abortion is a form of selfish indulgence that will not be diminished by appealing to the form of selfish indulgence that says parenting can be relegated for the most part to the State and its subsidized daycares.

  • arewak

    While some ‘bra-less’ feminists want to be men, most feminists are only actually fighting for equality – equality in terms of elevating the feminine.

  • Michael

    Feminists want to be men in other words.

    Anyone who would say that doesn’t know what it means to be a man.

  • radicalcatholicmom

    MZ: Isn’t that SO ironic considering I am a Stay at Home Mother? And you are working parent and you are not participating in “selfish indulgence” as you say?

  • No no – don’t interfere, RCM. I’m enjoying watching MZ dig a hole. I’m hoping MZ has a fold-out couch…