Posted by Professor Domnica Radulescu
Dear Ms. Chopin,
Although I find myself on sabbatical leave and traveling in Turkey at the moment I felt so outraged at yet another attempt to misuse the term and the conception of feminism as a cover up for backward ideologies that I felt compelled to respond.
It seems that the use or rather the misuse of the many meanings and implications of feminism by anti-choice groups such as the one you lead has been the hot thing for some time now. Besides the insult that such distortions of politics bring to the intelligence of so many of us, the huge hypocrisy of this deliberate confusion is even more offensive.
If it is true that there are many kinds of feminism and one needs to speak of feminisms rather than feminism these days, one bottom line that all the waves and branches and kinds of feminism have in common is the respect for women's basic reproductive rights and for women's rights to be in full possession of the choices that govern their own bodies.
The so called "pro-life" groups adopted the notion of feminism and the more positive language of expressions such as "pro-life" as well as appropriated some feminist language such as "the baby' s right to choose" during the seventies and early eighties when they realized that blowing up planned parenthood clinics wasn't a most productive way of pushing their agenda.
Anti-choice groups don't have to call themselves feminist and shouldn't do so just in the hope that anybody who upholds and lives by pro choice values is going to suddenly have an epiphany of some kind and start believing that you actually can both call yourself a feminist and believe such as things as: "personhood starts at conception," and then maybe also embrace Sarah Palin as their personal hero to top it all.
The values of the anti-choice speakers that your organization has been bringing to campus as well as the so-called "pro-life" ideologies and groups on this campus and in our country in general while being under the pretense of a "pro-life" agenda truly have quite too often the following "anti-life" agenda: against the life and the health of grown, breathing, thinking, feeling women, mostly underprivileged women, against the lives of the many children that are suffering from abject poverty, homelessness, AIDS or other diseases and who are NOT being adopted by you or your speaker or the millions that consider themselves "pro-life," and the list goes on. Proper sex education in schools, access to legal and affordable forms of contraception and abortion, concern for women's health, care and policies for the millions of suffering children in the world, these ARE indeed authentic feminist values as well as true life affirming values and ways of existing in this world in this century.
Until you think that you can support at least a couple of the above-mentioned principles, and until you bring us examples of AIDS or cocaine dependency syndrome babies being adopted by you and the speakers you are bringing to campus or the members of your group, please stop the pretense of a true dialogue and of "feminists pro-life" masquerade.
Professor of Romance Languages
Head, Women and Gender Studies Program