Meet Lila Rose, Anti-Abortion Crusader & Co-Opter Of Feminism

Lila Rose, a twentysomething anti-abortion activist who conducts “sting” operations on Planned Parenthood, penned a piece last week for the news site Politico about the voice she says has been absent from the debate over women’s health care: “that of the anti-abortion feminist.”

Now, it’s not a news that a feminist would also be opposed to abortion; there have always been feminists who have made the individual choice not to have an abortion when presented with an unwanted pregnancy. The problem is when women who call themselves feminists and are also anti-abortion try to climb into my bed, my OB/GYN office, my medical records, and tell me what to do — women like Lila Rose, who writes:

We are women who view the intentional killing of children not as a constitutional right, a matter of privacy or a necessary evil but, rather, as profoundly anti-woman and the antithesis of love. … We are women who believe that something precious is lost when fertility is intentionally excluded from marriage, a sacred bond and a total giving of each spouse to the other. We are women who believe that sex and pregnancy aren’t just health issues; they are also inextricably linked with family, morals, faith and values. And we are women who love everything about being a woman, including being mothers.

I thought we settled this back when Sarah Palin started calling herself a feminist, but hey, let’s go at it again: 

Lila Rose begins her piece with a potshot at liberal women, who she says have “eagerly embraced the role of victim, advancing the idea that woman are casualties of a ‘war on women.'” Strange then, that her piece focuses on all the ways that women are currently being victimized by feminist advances like access to birth control, legal abortions, and divorce laws. Without any sort of factual data to back it up, Rose writes “the availability and use of cheap birth control coincided with increases in the rates of sex addiction, divorce, unmarried childbearing and abortion.” (Are you sure you don’t want to check your facts about the divorce rate rising, Lila?) In the same vein, Rose also claims “while contraceptives and legal abortion promised to eliminate the exploitative attitude of men toward women, they have had the opposite effect.” As a finishing touch at the end of the piece, she makes digs at feminists who supporting legal abortion, referring to her and her ilk as the  “truly emancipated women [who] embrace their intrinsic dignity.” I guess us pro-choice feminists are just slaves to the male libido and in possession of zero self-respect?

Of course, Lila Rose and other anti-abortion activists are well-within their rights to believe sex and pregnancy “aren’t just health issues … they are also inextricably linked with family, morals, faith and values.” They would hardly be the only ones to believe so. But what they don’t have the right to do is to speak for all women and impose their personal morals/values on anyone else. Like Sarah Palin, she’s co-opting the term “feminist” for her own reasons which, ironically, are completely antithetical to what feminism actually stands for. Lila Rose is utterly unclear on the basic premise of feminism that it should be a woman herself — not her culture, not her faith, not her government, not anyone else’s culture or faith or government — who makes decisions about her life and body.  She’s got another thing coming if she thinks she can impose her values onto my  medical decisions whilst calling herself a feminist. 

I’m not surprised that Lila Rose has penned this op-ed, or even that she twists the facts to present a rosy view on Rick Santorum (women love him!) or abstinence-only education (it’s going great!).  But I am scared by it — and fearful that because she’s so young, she still has time to inflict much more damage.


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