No Higher Court: Contemporary Feminism and the Right to Abortion

By Germain Kopaczynski | Go to book overview

CHAPTER FIVE
PRO-CHOICE FEMINISM

Can a woman be both a feminist and anti-choice on abortion?...The question cannot be answered, of course, without asking another, more fundamental question: what is feminism? This is not the place to digress into such a theoretical discussion, but it is worth pointing out that feminism is growing more diverse, is developing more "schools" of thought, than ever before. It would have been much easier to come up with a comprehensive definition of feminism in the early seventies than it is now. Still, to the vast majority of feminists, abortion is a bedrock issue. By some indeed, it is viewed as the foundation of feminism itself. No less a feminist than Simone de Beauvoir recently affirmed her belief that freedom for women "began with the womb:" "I have not stopped fighting for the essential feminist message -- the right of abortion."1

____________________
1
Kathleen McDonnell, Not an Easy Choice. A Feminist Re-examines Abortion ( Boston: South End Press, 1984), p. 88. McDonnell tells her readers that the quote from Beauvoir appears in Paul Webster, "De Beauvoir Reveals Sartre's Macho Ways Sparked Her Crusade," Globe and Mail, May 19, 1984, p. E 12. See also Beauvoir's comment in Alice Schwarzer, After 'The Second Sex': Conversations Witb Simone de Beauvoir," p. 47: "We hope to convince the public that women must be assured of the right to procreate freely, of public support for the burdens of motherhood -- especially crèches -- and of the right to refuse unwanted pregnancies through contraceptive measures and abortion. We are demanding that these be free and that women have the right to choose." The last words of this quote call to mind the title of Beverly Harrison's book on abortion.

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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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