Volume > Issue > Why Feminists & Prolifers Need Each Other

Why Feminists & Prolifers Need Each Other


By Juli Loesch Wiley | November 1993
Juli Loesch Wiley, a Contributing Editor of the NOR, is a mother and writer in Johnson City, Tennessee.

The women’s movement is composed of a number of strikingly different teams all wearing the same jersey. Some of these teams huddle to­gether as allies; others clash as opponents; still oth­ers aren’t even playing the same game.

Molly Yard, former president of the National Organization for Women, said that the two central demands of mainstream feminism are the Equal Rights Amendment and abortion. Yet the 10,000 member Feminists for Life supports the ERA but opposes abortion. And 50 years ago Eleanor Roosevelt, who inspired much of the modern women’s movement, saw abortion as irrelevant to women’s advancement, and opposed the ERA vigor­ously all her life on the grounds that it would hurt working women. So who’s the feminist?

Hugh Hefner’s liberated daughter Christy, the president of Playboy Enterprises, claims that sexual entertainment is “progressive” for women, but Andrea Dworkin, founder of Women Against Pornography, insists that it is degrading. So who’s the feminist?

In her 1970 book, The Female Eunuch, Germaine Greer promoted contraception. Today the YWCA, the American Home Economics Association, and the Girl Scouts promote contraception. But the flamboyant Greer is now denouncing international contraceptive promoters as “imperialists” and “corporate criminals.” So who’s the feminist?

The American feminist movement has over the past 25 years supported no-fault divorce and looked with toleration on premarital sex, extramarital sex, and surrogate mother arrangements (a modern form of contract concubinage). But the African women’s movement has been in the forefront of the fight to eliminate concubinage, prostitution, and polygamy, and to assert faithful lifelong monogamy as the cultural norm. So who’s the feminist?

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