Today we have a treat from a guest writer, Naomi Lakritz. Naomi will be known to many of you, as she was a columnist with the Calgary Herald for so many years. Her perspective is so valuable. Enjoy.
I am pro-life. That means I can be dismissed as a far-right Christian fundamentalist, correct? Sorry, you lose. I am Jewish. I am on the left on some issues, right of centre on others. It depends on the issue. I’m not predictable. But you are predictable, aren’t you? Because I know that since I am pro-life, you won’t allow me among the ranks of feminists, will you? Feminists are required to be pro-choice.
Permit me to disturb your blinkered thinking, but I am indeed a feminist. I believe in equal pay for equal work and all the other causes feminists hold dear. Except for one. I don’t believe in destroying unborn humans. But as for everything else? Not only am I a feminist, I have done all the things feminists applaud women for doing. I raised three children alone after dumping an emotionally abusive husband, when the children were 7, 2, and 8 months. I never had a single weekend to myself all those years of child-raising because said husband moved across the country and couldn’t be bothered with his children anymore. Which, in every way, was a blessing. While raising those three kids as a single mom, I worked full-time as a journalist. I have spent more than 30 years working at daily newspapers and I rose to the top of the heap to be a nationally known columnist and member of the editorial board of a major metropolitan daily newspaper for the last 18 years. And during those three decades in journalism, I saw, and angrily deplored, plenty of instances of sexism in the business. It infuriates me when women are treated as inferior to men.
Oh, and I’m sorry to shatter another stereotype you may be harbouring, but I must mention that even though I was a single mother, none of my children ever got into any trouble. They grew up into responsible, highly moral adults and contributing citizens. The two oldest are professionals in their respective fields, the youngest is studying to be a paramedic.
But back to my pro-life stance as a feminist. I find it ironic that anyone who is pro-choice is considered to be progressive. I don’t see the act of dismembering unborn babies as a progressive thing to do. It seems quite regressive to me. In fact, it’s barbaric. Babies do not suddenly acquire the quality of being human the day they are born. They had it all along. Life is a continuum and we mothers, of all people, should be acutely aware of that fact. The fetus whose first feeble kicks could be felt around 15 weeks into pregnancy was already a fully-formed individual before that; all that remained for it was to grow. That unborn baby becomes the infant crying with colic at 3 a.m., then the toddler taking his first steps, the five-year-old picking a grubby fistful of dandelions for mom, the 10-year-old on skates with NHL dreams, the teen with the purple, spiked hair, the serious college student, the adult out in the working world. This was always the same person, moving along the continuum.
There should be no discussion about when a fetus can feel pain, when it is “viable”, or at what stage in pregnancy it becomes sentient and aware of itself. Or at least, there should be no such discussions in relation to deciding when abortion is permissible. Those things should be relegated to the study of embryology for its own sake, and I suggest that we will never know how or when sentience occurs.
Pregnancy is about the life of a new human being. Bottom line: You don’t kill human beings. I am a feminist who is pro-life. There is nothing incongruous about that statement.
Naomi Lakritz is a former columnist with the Calgary Herald and the Winnipeg Sun. She is the owner of Naomi Lakritz Editing Services.