Politics and religion are the subjects of yesterday’s fights. There are today two statements which guarantee changing a pleasant conversation among friends into a hostile brawl. To say either “I am pro-life,” or “I am a feminist,” will start the attack. To say “I am a pro-life feminist” will ensure a full-scale war.

Feminism is a lot more than bra-burning and uni-sex washrooms. Also, it is more than just another equal’ rights movement. True feminism, under all the rhetoric and publicity, is based on a concern for our full humanity, for our integrity and dignity as human beings. It is perhaps unfortunate that the label Women’s Liberation is used. This is not solely a subject for women’s concern; any man can and should be happy to call himself a feminist.

While a feminist is deeply concerned that women are given the same rights, pay and opportunity as men, she is also concerned that every woman receives the respect due the position she holds in society. Those women who choose to espouse the traditional role of wife, mother and home-maker are of equal stature to those who are childless and homemakers and those, childless or not, who are in the workforce.

The radical feminist will often argue that it is a male dominated society which restricts her access to abortion, thus forcing her to bear unwanted children and keeping her subservient. “Pregnant, barefoot and in the kitchen” is the old cliché of the confirmed male chauvinist. She argues that it is her right to choose whether or not to bear a child, it is her body.

Access to a medically safe abortion on demand is a red herring. Not only is the woman involved in running a risk of death, physical complications, even future sterility, she also faces a long term emotional trauma – facts usually ignored. Not only does she do this to herself, the hard truth is that abortion is always fatal – the child is killed. Where is the feminist caring for others, why would she demand this as a right? Why does she not channel her energies into nurturing those in crisis pregnancies? Why not start examining the values of a society that sees its weakest members even more violently abused than any of the women she is seeking to liberate?

True feminism, as I have defined it, concerns our dignity as human beings. It is therefore patently absurd to argue that abortion is permissible. We cannot affirm the dignity of a woman or man and then deny that dignity to an unborn child. A woman cannot ask for respect for herself while destroying the life created within her. The woman who calls herself a pro-abortion feminist is a contradiction in terms, she is not a feminist, she is merely a pro-abortionist.

Many pro-life men and women who are feminists have played down some of their principles in order to emphasize their pro-life stand. It is time we restore the balance so that these just and powerful ideals get the attention they deserve.