Pro-life millennial women speak out

Grace Woo, featured in the video below, is a senior at the Catholic University of America. Grace Woo, featured in the video below, is a senior at the Catholic University of America.

Can you be pro-life and a feminist? What about a pro-life socialist? Can you be a libertarian and support restrictions on abortion? 

The answer is yes, though that might not be the impression many have of the pro-life movement. America spoke with seven millennial women from across the ideological spectrum who all identify as pro-life. Some describe the isolation that comes from wearing that label in certain circles. “When you are part of left politics,” Elizabeth Bruenig says, the pro-life position “can be a little bit of an island.” Other express frustration over a political landscape that does not accommodate a consistently pro-life, pro-woman ethic. “Agitated is a very good word,” says Addie Mena, “that there doesn't seem to be a place for pro-life feminists in modern society.”

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But, even in the midst of what is, for pro-life voters, a particularly disheartening presidential election, these women remain hopeful about the future of the movement. And hearing their thoughtful, personal perspectives on one of the most neuralgic issues in American politics might give you hope, too. 

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Crystal Watson
1 year 1 month ago
Another question that could be asked is 'can you be pro-choice and Catholic/Christian/religious?'. The answer would be yes - a majority of Catholics and Christians want abortion to remain legal.
alan macdonald
1 year 1 month ago
In the eyes of the Roman Catholic Church the answer is an unequivocal "no", always has been always will be.
Vince Killoran
1 year 1 month ago
There are (at least) two issues at work here: "Do we support the decriminalization of abortion?" and "Are we prolife?" It is possible for Catholics to be the latter and not the former.
alan macdonald
1 year 1 month ago
Again, "no".
Vince Killoran
1 year 1 month ago
Great--now, how will you re-criminalize abortion? Will the women who have abortions be arrested on murder charges? If not, why not? Maybe a lesser charge like manslaughter? Surely, they can't be let off scot-free. The self-identified pro-life movement folks have painted themselves into a corner on this.
Tim O'Leary
1 year 1 month ago
Vince - I think you are pro-life in that you accept the humanity of the unborn, even while you do not want government to protect those humans from choices their mothers make. But, that is a moral incongruity of its own just as much as the one you propose for pro-lifers. This is why the personally opposed positions have such holes in them - agreeing a human is being executed and also wanting that killing to be legal. Since the goal is to protect as many humans as possible, the pro-life movement has stayed away from dealing with the mother's complicity in the crime, and focused on the structure of sin around the abortion industrial complex: Planned Parenthood, the doctors, alternative choices for women, etc. By the way, infanticide, especially in the 1st year post-partum, has a different consequence for a mother than others. You may not be aware that thousands of mothers kill their children in the USA each year after birth (vs. nearly a million before birth). See this rather shocking report http://via.library.depaul.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1152&context=jhcl
Vince Killoran
1 year 1 month ago
Try as we might to avoid the thorny issue of the mother's culpability, there it is. When you write " to protect as many humans as possible" I'm not sure what you mean--do you mean that it is a tactical move or something else? Until the pro-life movement can address this head-on it does come across as posturing, inconsistent, &/or shallow thinking. The "abortion industrial complex" is an intriguing notion but the vast majority of women I know who have had abortion did so fully-informed and for a wide range of reasons. They were not duped. (Many "personally-opposed" folks also seek ways to reduce abortion.)
Martha Murray
1 year 1 month ago
I agree with you and never understood why the mother is not held accountable in the destruction of her unborn child. In other arears of law, the deliberate killing of the unborn by a third party is considered murder or manslaughter. Why are mothers any different. The abortion industry thrives because of the women who present themselves there deliberately seeking abortion. This is really outside of a religious context; it is a human tragedy with societal consequences for generations to come. Right now, the mother has a legal right to destroy her child, our future citizen, the next generation. Until the elephant in the room is unveiled, I guess it will continue..sadly. So much for hope and change.
Martha Murray
1 year 1 month ago
I certainly hope the majority of Catholic women do not want abortion to remain legal. Unless something has changed, the Church teaches us that abortion is a grave more evil.
Crystal Watson
1 year 1 month ago
The church teaches the same thing about contraception and virtually all Catholics use contraception. "White evangelical Protestants are the only major religious group in which a majority (54%) favors completely overturning the Roe v. Wade decision. Large percentages of white mainline Protestants (76%), Black Protestants (65%) and white Catholics (63%) say the ruling should not be overturned. Fully 82% of the religiously unaffiliated oppose overturning Roe v. Wade." http://www.pewforum.org/files/2013/01/Roe-v-wade-full.pdf
Martha Murray
1 year 1 month ago
That certainly does not make abortion morally right or a good thing for society. It just means there are a lot of cafeteria catholics and misguided souls taking surveys. I continue to pray for the end of abortion in this country, it is a foundational value to protect, love and defend the sanctity of life from conception through natural death.
James Griggy
1 year 1 month ago
First, Americans need to realize that pro-life encompasses a whole lot more than just being against abortion. Whether we label it "feminism" or not, principles of justice would indicate that assuring women have equal status, opportunity and compensation for their efforts is our duty. I will get flack for saying this, but "reproductive rights" is far from the main point of feminism. The problem is too many confuse "anti-abortion" with "pro-life" and "feminism" with "reproductive rights". Once you understand that feminism is not equal to reproductive rights, it is absolutely clear that one can be a pro-life feminist and a good Catholic or Christian. There is no conflict.
Tim O'Leary
1 year 1 month ago
Great video - and impressive to see these courageous young women risk ridicule, shunning and even physical threats for standing up for the unborn. A million children have their lives cut short through abortions in America every year, so all other pro-life causes (such as the 28 murderers who were executed in 2015) pale by comparison in terms of the magnitude of the injustice. I would answer the opening question above with yes, yes and yes. The recognition that the unborn human being deserves human rights goes well beyond religious believers, just as the anti-slavery movement transcended religious belief. For example, feminists for life (http://www.feministsforlife.org/) has been around since 1972 and has many members. There is also an atheist pro-life organization http://www.secularprolife.org.
Joseph Guiltinan
1 year 1 month ago
Ultimately this has to be an education issue. Even if abortion on demand were to be declared unconstitutional (most unlikely regardless of who the new Supreme Court justices are) abortions would still take place -- somewhere. We need efforts to support adoption and to educate people on the sanctity of life. This (especially the latter) is a tough job. It requires a major national marketing effort. (Yes, marketing, just what the NRA does). Sadly, the Church lost much moral authority on this question by the decision to ignore the recommendations of a special committee on birth control 50 years ago.
Crystal Watson
1 year 1 month ago
You can educate people about facts but the Catholic church's stance on abortion is not about facts, it's about religious beliefs. The US is a pluralistic society with people of many different faiths and of none - to expect them all to fall in line with Catholic doctrine is unrealistic.
Tim O'Leary
1 year 1 month ago
Crystal - abortion is a human rights issue, just like slavery, and human rights campaigns are only won by education and the witness of others, especially survivors of abortion (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I4WJIvbEdWk, and http://www.savethe1.com). Science is clear that the being in the womb is a human being (and not another species). Every doctor and mother treats the being in the womb as a person, unless told otherwise by the mother. The law treats the being in the womb as a person if the mother says so, and will even call it manslaughter if the child is killed by a drunken driver in an accident, or violence against the mother. The 77% of Americans who support laws prohibiting sex selection abortion do so because they see it as a denial of girls' human rights (they are not against sex selection contraception). A yougove.com poll found 66% of Americans agree the unborn in the womb is a person (52% agreed life begins at conception, 18% that personhood begins at birth, the rest somewhere in between). Those who are "personally opposed" are only that because they believe the unborn is a human being (they are not personally opposed to contraception). While religions teach that human rights should be honored and protected, that doesn't mean it is a religious issue. These atheists/secularists do not cite religion as their reason for opposing abortion http://www.secularprolife.org.
Crystal Watson
1 year 1 month ago
There are a lot of concepts and terms that make the issue complex and it's hard to define then where people really stand. Certainly life begins at conception, but that's not the same thing as saying that personhood begins at conception. And if there is some kind of personhood, is it of the same weight as the personhood of the mother .... should an embryo have the same rights as a woman or girl? Most people don't believe so - that's why abortion is not murder and women who get abortions are not arrested for murder under our laws.
Tim O'Leary
1 year 1 month ago
Crystal - If there is any truth to the idea of equal human rights, then no person is greater or lesser than another. It is not affected by age or size or mental or physical capacity. Also, every human person has a soul and we will meet those souls in heaven. You are right that women are not arrested for killing their unborn children. Many are even praised for it. But, many things in history were very wrong even though they increased the perpetrator's status - the number of wives a Sultan had, the numbers of slaves on a plantation, etc. The American Medical Association, a scientific organization, had no problem calling abortion murder in the past (http://horatiostorer.net/AMA_vs_Abortion.html). Here is a quote from that website, that is as true today as it was then: "Without entering into any unnecessary detail upon this delicate and ungracious topic, it may suffice to allude only to the ghastly crime of abortionism, which has become a murderous trade in many of our large cities, tolerated, connived at, and even protected by corrupt civil authorities, and often patronized by newspapers whose proprietors insert conspicuously the advertisements of these male and female vampires, for a share in the enormous profits of this inhuman traffic in blood and life. "These murderers, for such they are, are well known to the police authorities; their names, residences, and even their guilty customers and victims arc no secret to the authorities; they have their boxes at the post-office, loaded down with their correspondence and fees; take their seats at the opera; promenade our fashionable thoroughfares, and drive their splendid equipages upon our avenues in proud magnificence, while the “blood of the slaughtered innocents” is crying against them for vengeance."

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