With the passing of Roe v. Wade’s 41st anniversary, various Christian sites have been offering pieces on abortion—the continuing, incremental struggle to see progress on a state level, the fruits of activism in the trenches, and more. My favorite by far is Owen Strachan’s inspiring, convicting piece on how he personally became an engaged participant in the pro-life battle. There have also been various discussions on rhetoric and strategy. Abby Johnson’s data on the effectiveness (or lack thereof) of holding graphic signs outside a clinic is particular interesting.
One article I read recently actually dates back to May of last year. It was featured on the site Christ and Pop Culture, where I contributed a piece of my own some time back. The title was “How I Changed My Mind About Abortion.” While the article made good points about how abortion springs from a broken view of sexuality and harms women instead of freeing them, certain lines and phrases niggled and nagged at me.
On the one hand, the author, Julia Herrington, is refreshingly candid about the balancing act of pro-life feminism. She writes:
Secretly, I’ve always felt that abortion wasn’t ideal and maybe not even right. But it’s complicated to believe that when you’re a feminist, and it’s certainly not something you profess publicly. Who am I to presume to know what is right for another woman? Am I, as a feminist, willing to assert that abortion isn’t right? Would I not be robbing women of authority over their own personhood, something women have fought arduously for, for far too long? A year ago, I would have rather been caught barefoot in the kitchen, in an apron with red lipstick on my mouth, baking for all the boys, a caricature of the “problem without a name” rather than to be found in close proximity to the pro-life camp.
Perhaps, then, we shouldn’t be surprised that when the light bulb finally came on for her while working at a Pregnancy Resource Center, it was still filtered through a feminist lens: “As I considered these issues in the last year, my perspective changed dramatically because I determined that abortion does not actually benefit women.”
What is missing from this picture? Continue reading “The Rhetoric of the Abortion Debate”