In so speaking, Missy was co-opting these terms, conveying something entirely different from our culture’s natural understanding of “feminism” and “pro-choice.” By “feminist,” she meant, “I am a woman in every sense of the word. I am not ashamed of my body. I am not ashamed that it can make and carry babies. I am not ashamed of being a mom.”
And by pro-choice, Robertson was affirming that God wants women to have more choices than abortion when it comes to unplanned pregnancies. “God is pro-choice,” she declared, “and He always chooses life.”
The Rise Of ‘Jesus Feminism’
I thoroughly appreciate Robertson’s clever appropriation of these words to make a point. But lately, this idea that feminism is compatible with Christian and pro-life convictions has grown in acceptance, thanks in large part to Sarah Bessey, author of the popular book “Jesus Feminist.” In the book, Bessey argues that feminism is simply the “radical notion that women are people too.” And since Jesus affirmed women, Christians can become feminists.
Jesus feminism is simple and catchy, but the entire notion is a farce. It’s like saying Marxism is merely the notion that the proletariat are people too, ignoring the ideology of class warfare and revolution that undergirds the entire movement. Like Marxism, feminism is a full-fledged ideology. And though it’s true that the first wave of feminism dealt with legitimate women’s issues like women’s suffrage and the right to own property, modern feminism has become synonymous with two ideas that are inextricably linked—exchanging roles with men, and “reproductive rights” (i.e. abortion).
Women And Men As Functional Equivalents
Feminist icon Gloria Steinem once said a “Liberated Woman” is “somebody who had sex before marriage and a job afterward.” Note, to this woman who embodied American feminism, feminism is not about women being people; it’s about women being men—or at least their functional equivalents. It’s about women being able to have sex without consequence, and being able to get married without having to shoulder any child-rearing or domestic responsibilities.
Of course, women aren’t men. We have wombs. We get pregnant. We carry babies inside us for nine months—and afterwards, we nurse them for months and even years. At least we used to.
But now, thanks to contraception—and abortion when contraception fails, which it inevitably does—we can function as men. And that, to feminists, is precisely what women’s liberation is all about. That is why abortion (or euphemistically termed “reproductive rights”) will always be a central tenet of feminism.
The Pro-Abortion Legacy Of Feminism
As I explain in “Redeeming the Feminine Soul,” the ideological founder of modern, or so-called second-wave, feminism was Simone de Beauvoir, an admirer of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, the founders of communism who advocated abolishing marriage and the family. Like them, Beauvoir envisioned a society where the state would supplant the family, all housework would be nationalized, and mothers would be moved from homes to factories.
“Woman cannot be emancipated,” Beauvoir wrote, “unless she takes part in production on a large social scale and is only incidentally bound to domestic work.” Not surprisingly, Beauvoir openly supported abortion and actually wrote the Manifesto of the 343. This was a declaration signed by 343 women, including Beauvoir, admitting that they had gotten abortions when they were illegal in France, and demanding the “freedom to have an abortion.”
Betty Friedan, the woman credited with launching modern, or so-called second-wave feminism, was a great admirer of Beauvoir’s. In fact, Friedan dedicated her classic, “The Feminine Mystique,” to Beauvoir—a book that essentially repackaged Beauvoir’s twisted ideas for American consumption.
Like Beauvoir, Freidan rejected the idea that “anatomy is destiny” and discouraged women from accepting any gender-specific roles, including motherhood, if unwanted. Friedan cofounded the National Organization of Women (NOW) – a group that cites “reproductive rights and justice” as one of its six core values. She also started what today is called NARAL Pro-Choice America, the “only national lobbying and membership organization devoted solely to maintaining the availability of safe, legal, abortion.”
Stunningly, some “Jesus feminists” have proposed that Christians should embrace Freidan. In fact, Katelyn Beaty, editor-at-large for Christianity Today and clear admirer of Sarah Bessey, wrote an article several years ago entitled “The Human Mystique.” In it, she baptizes Freidan’s devaluation of the home in biblical language, suggesting that when women fail to “make something of the world beyond the private space of home,” their “Imago Dei is dimmed.”
Beaty doesn’t advocate using abortion as a means of liberating women to impact their world. But her underlying assumption is the same as Freidan’s: true fulfillment for women lies outside the role of wife and mother and in the marketplace.
The Rise Of ‘Porn-Positive’ Feminism
Some claim that feminism has changed since Beauvoir, Freidan, and Steinem’s heyday—and they’re right. Now feminism boasts a third and fourth wave. But neither of these variations have deviated from feminism’s integral promotion of abortion rights.
Third-wave feminism, also known as “sex-positive” or “porn-positive” feminism, is all about embracing sexual license and the hook-up culture (i.e. becoming like the most libertine and sexually predatory men), while also pursuing the goals of second-wave feminism. That is, career first, and love, marriage, and family later (if at all).
These daughters of second-wave feminists swallowed the message of the Sexual Revolution: that indulging themselves sexually in every way is essential to fulfillment. Not surprisingly, these feminists are gushing about Hugh Hefner right now, calling him a “sexual revolutionary” and a “champion” of reproductive rights. They completely ignore the ways in which Hefner exploited and degraded women, and the fact that his promotion of abortion was completely self-serving.
But like Hefner, third-wave feminists not only don’t want babies tying them down, they don’t want a serious relationship doing that either. As Hanna Rosin, author of “The End of Men and the Rise of Women,” writes: “(F)eminist progress right now largely depends on the existence of hookup culture. … For college girls these days, an overly serious suitor fills the same role an accidental pregnancy did in the 19th century: a danger to be avoided at all costs, lest it get in the way of a promising future.”
What About Fourth-Wave Feminism?
Fourth-wave feminism isn’t quite as disastrous as its predecessor, and could be interpreted by some as sympathetic to the pro-life cause. Fourth-wave feminism is all about “intersectionality.” It’s about identifying how forces that oppress one group of people may interact or overlap with the forces that oppress other groups, and then acting in solidarity with these groups. The Women’s March, for example, included many causes seemingly unrelated to feminism, like LGBTQ rights, environmentalism, and Black Lives Matter.
No doubt, the most oppressed group of people in the United States are the unborn, slaughtered at the breathtaking rate of about one million a year. Fourth-wave feminists should be championing the pro-life cause, and some groups are trying to make the case that true feminism embraces life.
But these groups are severely marginalized by most feminists. In fact, at the Women’s March, pro-life feminists were excluded from participating, and the March issued a statement confirming that its official position is pro-choice.
Moving Beyond Feminism’s Ideology
Women need to realize that feminism and Christian, pro-life convictions are not compatible. Feminism is an ideology built on a false premise: the idea that women cannot find fulfillment in embracing their most basic God-given capacity—the ability to bear children—but rather must pursue a career and worldly achievement.
Certainly, many women have found great purpose and joy outside of motherhood; singles can be just as fulfilled as their married counterparts. But raising children remains one of the greatest accomplishments (and fulfillments) of many women’s lives. I am glad our society now allows women to work and use their skills and unique gifts outside the home. But unfortunately, we’ve achieved this progress at the expense of motherhood itself. And this is tragic.
As Danielle Crittendon wrote in “What Our Mothers Didn’t Tell Us,” “If previous generations of women were raised to believe that they could only realize themselves within the roles of wife and mother, now the opposite is thought true: It’s only outside these roles that we are able to realize our full potential and worth as human beings.”
Women Aren’t Men. We Should Celebrate That.
This is the lie that fuels feminism, which in turn, fuels abortion. And this is why Christians and pro-life Americans should have no part in either. Our greatest fulfillment as women isn’t found in fighting our natural function. And what is unique to women—the ability to conceive and bear children—is not a curse, but a blessing.
Women are not men. God made us gloriously, wonderfully, and functionally different. And if there’s one thing that embodies girl power it’s giving birth to a baby!
So as women, let’s proudly embrace our differences. And let’s stop pretending that feminism embodies some beautiful ideal about women being equal to men. It’s about pretending that women are men and that motherhood is a second-class calling. That is not a pro-woman idea. It’s a dangerously misogynistic one.