By Elizabeth Troutman
Editor’s note. Elizabeth finished fourth in National Right to Life’s 2020 Oratory Contest.
When accepting her 2020 Golden Globe award, Michelle Williams attributed her successful career to her abortion, saying, “I wouldn’t have been able to do this without employing a woman’s right to choose. To choose when to have my children and with whom.”“
In contrast, consider the story of Caitlyn Dixson. When Caitlyn was sixteen, she discovered she was pregnant. Her mom told her a child would interfere with her future and scheduled an appointment at Planned Parenthood. Caitlyn received an ultrasound in which she saw only the top of her son’s head, but that was enough to compel her to walk out of the clinic. The summer before her senior year, she gave birth to a son, Caden.
After finishing high school, she attended college full-time and worked nights, graduating with a double major a year early. She now serves as Executive Director of Iowa Right to Life, lobbying for legislation that protects babies like her son and women looking for support in desperate situations like herself. Caitlyn speaks of her experience, saying, “I was told by so many people that choosing life for him would be the end of mine, but it was the beginning.”
The key difference between these two women is that in Michelle Williams’ story, a woman achieves fame and fortune supposedly enabled by the termination of her preborn child, while in Caitlyn Dixson’s story, a woman finds her strength by realizing she does not have to choose between her dreams and her son. This is the question: Which one of these stories is truly more empowering?
Modern feminists tell women they must choose between having a family and an education or successful career. However, feminism must return to its pro-life roots because real feminism fights for the rights of all women from conception to natural death. This is seen in the humanity of preborn women, the unstable historical connection of abortion and feminism, and the legal basis of abortion.
While first-wave feminists defended the rights of mothers in the workplace, current feminists tell women the only path to success is through aborting the “clump of cells” hijacking their life, though the science of embryology establishes that from the earliest stages of development, the preborn are “distinct, living, and whole human beings.”
According to The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology, “A zygote is the beginning of a new human being. Human development begins at fertilization…”Since scientists on both sides of the abortion debate recognize the humanity of the unborn, including former Planned Parenthood president Dr. Alan Guttmacher, and half of abortions end the lives of females, true feminists should not fail to advocate for the rights of preborn women.
Secondly, looking into feminism’s roots can reveal where it has gone wrong and where it should go in the future. The first feminists fought for equal pay, equal opportunities, and equal respect, and saw abortion as oppressive to women and children. Women’s suffrage advocate Elizabeth Cady Stanton said, “When we consider that women have been treated as property, it is degrading to women that we should treat our children as property to be disposed of as we see fit.” In fact, it was two men, Larry Lader and Bernard Nathanson, who pushed to include abortion in the women’s rights movement. They convinced Betty Friedan, an originally pro-life feminist leader, that women could only achieve true equality through the legalization of abortion.
However, their intent was not to protect women, but to provide a way for men to avoid accountability in response to the sexual revolution’s push for bodily autonomy. Due to Lader and Nathanson, feminism was transformed from a movement of equal rights to the belief that women are best equipped to achieve success if childless.
Thirdly, the legal history of abortion in America demonstrates that it is not pro-woman. In the 1973 decision Roe v. Wade, the U.S Supreme Court ruled that the “right of privacy” is “broad enough to encompass” a right to abortion. The court ruling allowed states to make abortion in the third-trimester illegal, contingent on the existence of exceptions to protect the life and “health” of the mother.
The argument of Justice Harry Blackmun, writer of the majority opinion, rested on the precedent that a woman’s right to choose is covered under the right to privacy, which originated in the 1965 case Griswold v. Connecticut, where the Supreme Court ruled that certain state restrictions on contraception were unconstitutional as they violated a married couple’s right to privacy. In Eisenstadt v. Baird, the right to privacy for the acquisition of contraceptives was extended to unmarried people. In Roe v. Wade, this right to privacy was extended to the right to kill a child in the womb, quite a leap for this theory.
Issued on the same day as Roe v. Wade, Doe v. Bolton defined the “health” of the mother as “all factors” that affect the woman, thus legalizing abortion on demand for all reasons. Both Norma McCorvey of Roe v. Wade and Sandra Cano of Doe v. Bolton did not want abortions, and neither had one. They were used as political pawns, and their lives are testaments to the fact that abortion legislation is not meant to support women, but to exploit them when they are most vulnerable.
Now I ask you to reexamine the stories of Michelle Williams and Caitlyn Dixson. I have established that the rights of even the most helpless women begin at conception, the origins of today’s abortion rights movement in the exploitation of women, and the anti-woman legal basis of abortion. Which sounds more empowering: telling women success is too difficult when pregnancy interferes, or telling women that they are strong enough to choose life as well as choose their career?
Caitlyn Dixson, not Michelle Williams, is the empowered woman because she did not accept the lie that she was not strong enough; instead, she fought to have both her child and her dreams, proving that we must not settle for a feminism that tells women what they cannot do. To save feminism, and restore its original purpose of empowering women by providing them with equal opportunities, and celebrating all they are capable of, members of the pro-life movement must take back the feminist movement, and return to where the early feminists left off in the fight for the rights of all women, both born and preborn.