No Higher Court: Contemporary Feminism and the Right to Abortion

By Germain Kopaczynski | Go to book overview

INTRODUCTION
"A FIGHT AGAINST THE WORK OF GOD"

SETTING THE STAGE

H erbert Marcuse once observed that the feminist revolution is in theory the most radical of all revolutions: the French and Russian revolutions were fought against works of human beings; the feminist revolution is a fight against the work of God.1 We shall investigate the relevance of this observation as we view the work of four important feminist writers on abortion: Simone de Beauvoir, Mary Daly, Carol Gilligan, and Beverly Wildung Harrison.


Preliminary Considerations

At the outset we would do well to introduce a distinction regarded by many contemporary feminists as based on Beauvoir's distinction between woman born and woman becoming, encapsulated in the phrase: "One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman." This is the distinction between "sex" and "gender."2Kate Millett expresses it

____________________
1
Herbert Marcuse, "Marxismus und Feminismus," Jahrbuch für Politik 6 ( 1974), p. 86, speaks of feminism as "possibly the most important and potentially radical movement of contemporary life." It is quoted in Jutta Burggraf, The Mother of the Church and the Woman in the Church: a Correction of Feminist Theology Gone Astray, in Helmut Moll (ed.), The Church and Women: A Compendium ( San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1988), p. 239 note 7.
2
According to Christina Hoff Sommers, Who Stole Feminism? How Women Have Betrayed Women ( New York: Simon and Schuster, 1994): "Sex/gender feminism" ("gender feminism" for short) is the prevailing ideology among contemporary feminist philosophers and leaders" (p. 22). It is they who have stolen feminism, according to Sommers.

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No Higher Court: Contemporary Feminism and the Right to Abortion
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgements xiii
  • Preface xvii
  • Introduction - "A Fight Against the Work of God" 1
  • Chapter One - Simone De Beauvoir, 1908-1986 19
  • Chapter Two - Mary Daly, 1928- 61
  • Chapter Three - Carol Gilligan, 1936- 101
  • Chapter Four - Beverly Wildung Harrison, 1932- 137
  • Chapter Five - Pro-Choice Feminism 181
  • Chapter Six - Pro-Life Feminism 203
  • Bibliography 227
  • Index 239
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