“It’s been a while since I’ve seen this level of outrage from women,” said Carolyn Egan, spokesman and pro-abortion activist for the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada, in a press release regarding MP Stephen Woodworth’s introduction of a motion to create a committee to re-examine whether an unborn child should be considered as a legal person under the Criminal Code. “Women are fed up with these not-so-subtle attacks on their fundamental rights via private member bills and motions.”
Exactly. All of Canada’s women. How many were there last I checked? 16,890,895, 53.4 per cent of the population, according to the 2006 census. The Conservatives must be reeling from the piles of angry letters and e-mails they get from the women of Canada. In fact, according to the Globe and Mail, “over 50 activists rallied on Parliament Hill” on April 25 in protest. What a crowd!
Hold on. What about me? I’m a woman and I’m in favour of Woodworth’s motion. And what about all the women active in the pro-life cause? LifeSiteNews reported that over 19,000 pro-lifers came to Parliament Hill for the 2011 National March for Life. They weren’t all men. Indeed, when you look at the pictures, there are plenty of women.
Don’t worry. Babette Josephs, the Democratic State Representative for Pennsylvania, has already solved that problem. At a rally held by the Democratic Committee of Lancaster County, Josephs criticized the female Republican representatives who had co-sponsored a pro-life bill mandating that women having an abortion first have an ultrasound. “What is wrong with these women? What are they thinking about?” she said. “Are they women? Or are they men with breasts?”
Well, if you put it that way, then maybe pro-abortion activists and Democrats do speak for all ‘real’ women when they claim there is a “war on women,” whether by Mr. Woodworth and the Conservatives in Canada or by the Republicans in the United States. The millions of others that think differently are simply “men with breasts.”
It is disingenuous to characterize measures restricting abortion as a “war on women,” if anything, because of polling. The 2011 Environics poll commissioned by Life Canada found that 30 per cent of women, as opposed to 25 per cent of men, thought life should be protected from conception. The 2008 Angus Reid Strategies poll determined that 44 per cent of Canadian women and 48 per cent of men felt abortion should always be permitted, although the percentage of women who thought it should always be legal was two points higher.
Regarding Americans, a Gallup poll conducted from May 5-8, 2011 found that, while 29 per cent of women versus 24 per cent of men thought abortion should be legal in any circumstances, 24 per cent of women versus 19 per cent of men wanted it outright banned. Polls suggest, then, that support and opposition for abortion is around the same among men and women. There are even pro-life feminist organizations, such as Feminists for Life of America and REAL Women here in Canada. If we are just to look at public opinion, then, why isn’t the war on abortion a war on men as well?
The effects of abortion, though, are independent of public opinion. Is it pro-woman to worship a procedure that can cause cervical and uterine injuries, hemorrhaging, breast cancer, depression, premature birth, and even infertility? Is it pro-woman to support the unfettered right to eliminate unborn girls because they are less valued in the parents’ culture? If anything, abortion causes real physical and emotional trauma among women.
And really, what is so liberating about tampering with one’s reproductive system to kill a child? Joyce Arthur writes for the ARCC that “women’s equality rights under the Charter cannot be realized without access to safe, legal, fully funded abortion – otherwise, women would be subordinated to their childbearing role in a way that men are not.” In effect, pro-abortion activists want women to become “men with breasts.” According to them, to be pro-woman is to deny motherhood and to persuade women to act equal to men. Not equal in worth, but equal in everything. What this suggests is a disdain for what women are by nature and a feeling that the qualities of manhood are more valuable. It is a war on women.
We can respond to the war by affirming the importance of the unborn child to the dignity of women. Pope John Paul II gave us an excellent starting point in his 1988 apostolic letter, Mulieris Dignitatem: “Parenthood – even though it belongs to both – is realized much more fully in the woman, especially in the prenatal period. It is the woman who ‘pays’ directly for this shared generation, which literally absorbs the energies of her body and soul … no program of ‘equal rights’ between women and men is valid unless it takes this fact fully into account.”
Pauline Kosalka, a reporter for The Interim, graduates from the University of Toronto in June after completing her Bachelor of Arts in history.