The deVeber Institute for Bioethics and Social Research held its first annual free public lecture on Nov. 8, with inaugural speaker Andrea Mrozek, program director of Cardus Family. Mrozek’s talk was titled, “Women’s happiness, women’s health: the feminist fight against abortion.”

Mrozek began by saying that, in her experience, the use of the word “feminism,” as a free-standing term is far too vague. To illustrate her point, she explored the differences between first and second wave feminism, highlighting the first wave’s emphasis on equity – support for the equal dignity of human persons – and the second wave’s underlying precept of life as a zero-sum competition between the sexes, which sometimes requires government intervention to “even the odds.”

Mrozek suggested that there may be room for the construction of a new-but-old feminism that is neither anti-family nor anti-life that focuses more on equal opportunity and less on the war of the sexes. However, if such a thing were to be constructed, she believed that it would need to be drawn from the principles of early feminism, which regarded abortion as a symptom of women’s oppression, rather than the principles of the second wave, which remain largely hostile to pro-life values.