Abortion rights, often portrayed as integral to women’s equality, has “cheapened women” and harmed the progress of actual equality among the sexes, according to a conservative legal scholar.
Erika Bachiochi, a fellow with the Ethics and Public Policy Center, gave the keynote address at the March for Life conference held Thursday morning at the Renaissance D.C. Downtown Hotel, the day before the National Mall rally.
During her remarks, Bachiochi surveyed the intellectual history of feminism in the United States, noting that early feminists believed that women’s rights benefited from encouraging better sexual behavior among men.
For 19th century American feminists, “sexual integrity was the key precondition for authentic equality and collaboration between the sexes.”
This included a resolution passed at the 1848 Women’s Rights Convention at Seneca Falls which called for “the same amount of virtue, delicacy, and refinement of behavior that is required of woman … be required of man.”
“Notice that they sought not to reject the high standards to which women in society were called at that time, but rather demanded that men adhere to those standards as well,” said Bachiochi.
Bachiochi noted that a common suffragist slogan at the time was “Votes for Women, Chastity for Men” and that “voluntary motherhood,” defined as engaging in short term or long term abstinence, was a common cause among feminists.
Bachiochi argued that this concept was rejected by the second half of the 20th century, with abortion supporters shifting the argument to say that, rather than have men improve their sexual behavior, women should be allowed to have the ability to forsake a child.
She quoted from a 1969 legal brief which argued that since “the man who shares responsibility for her pregnancy can and often does just walk away …” women should be able to do the same via abortion.
“Sexual equality then, in this altogether new view, was found not by demanding that men be required to meet women with a high standard of mutual care and responsibility,” said Bachiochi, but through dominating others.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Michael Gryboski