A pro-life panel on Tuesday discussed how the sexual revolution of the 1960s hijacked the women’s movement — and how those behind the revolution persuaded reluctant feminists to join the fight for legalized abortion.
The panelists for the Tuesday event, which was live-streamed, included Lila Rose, president and founder of Live Action, a media nonprofit dedicated to ending abortion and inspiring respect for all human life; Sue Ellen Browder, a former writer for Cosmopolitan magazine and the author of “Subverted: How I Helped the Sexual Revolution Hijack the Women’s Movement”; and Dr. Helen Alvare, a law professor at Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University in Virginia.
Rose asked rhetorically how the feminist movement, which was fiercely pro-life at the outset, became synonymous with abortion — and “taking the life of another.” “The real cultural battle today is not with feminism,” said Browder, “but with the false joining of the women’s movement and the sexual revolution.”
Betty Friedan, who launched the modern feminist movement with her 1963 book “The Feminine Mystique,” was adamantly pro-life originally, said Browder.
In Friedan’s own memoir, “Life So Far,” published in 2000, she wrote, “Ideologically, I was never for abortion. Motherhood is a value to me … I believed passionately in 1967, as I do today, that women should have the right of chosen motherhood. For me, the matter of choice has never been primarily the choice of abortion, but that you can chose to be a mother. That is as important as any right in the Constitution.”
Early feminists were fighting for equal opportunity in academia and in the workplace, said Browder. She herself was fired from her newspaper job after she became pregnant — standard practice in those days, she said.
Friedan despised any aims to turn women into sex objects, she also noted — which was happening at Cosmo, where Browder was urged to make up stories about sexual freedom. That’s something she now regrets. She’s made it her life’s work today to educate people about how the right to abortion was insidiously inserted into the feminist movement.
Live Action and the Heritage Foundation co-hosted the panel discussion ahead of the 46th Annual March for Life, set for Friday, January 18, on the National Mall in Washington, DC.
The March for Life is the largest humanitarian event in the world, with many concurrent marches nationwide. “Unique from Day One” is this year’s theme. The event has taken place every year since 1974.
Last year, President Donald Trump became the first sitting president to address the March for Life in Washington via satellite feed.
“Science is behind the pro-life movement,” says March for Life president Jeanne Mancini on the group’s website. “We see that medical and technological advancements always affirm the pro-life movement. For example, DNA is present at fertilization and no fingerprint on earth, past, present, or future, is the same. We know, too, [that] a baby’s heart beats at just six weeks and we can distinctly observe it ourselves with ultrasound technology.”
“As science progresses, we see clearly that every life is unique from day one in the womb.”
Many don’t see it that way, alas. Since the 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision that legalized abortion on demand in all 50 states, more than 60 million voiceless souls have been terminated. The largest abortion provider in the nation is Planned Parenthood.
Vice President Mike Pence, a staunch pro-life advocate, will make an appearance at the annual March for Life on Friday, speaking at a dinner rather than at the larger rally held on the National Mall, according to the Washington Examiner.
Pence addressed the March for Life earlier, in 2017, shortly after he and President Trump were sworn into office.
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Elizabeth Economou is a former CNBC staff writer and adjunct professor. Follow her on Twitter.