Re: “Abortion action, not opinion, is the issue” (letter, 6-27).
The writer pitted the rights of fetuses against the rights of women and insisted that those who elevate the former over the latter are not “pro-women” and therefore not feminists.
However, attempting to circumscribe feminism to those who are pro-abortion is not only problematic, but historically inaccurate. Most notably, Susan B. Anthony called abortion “child murder.”
Because feminism has come to refer to both the philosophical idea of justice based on the equality of the sexes as well as to several waves of particular political movements, the term encompasses a fairly broad range of specific beliefs which are often contested within the general tradition.
Unfortunately, what gets lost in all the talk about whose rights are most important is the idea most fundamental to feminism – the elimination of injustice towards those who are oppressed and disadvantaged by those in dominate positions of power.
At the heart of the issue remains the question, “What type of society do we want to be?” Do we want to be the kind of society that devalues and oppresses the vulnerable and marginalized? Or do we want to be the type of society that works to remove exploitive structures?
I would suggest that extending respect and justice to the unborn would be congruent with the feminist ideal. Pitting mother against child is not.