Photo by Suzanne Herrin
By Suzanne Herrin
Brenna Lewis, a pro-life feminist and regional coordinator for Students for Life, spoke about her views in a talk “Confessions of a Pro-Life Feminist” in the Torian Room on February 9. After marching in the Women’s March on Washington for female equality, she says, “It was really disheartening to go to a women’s march whose pillars were feminism and equality for all women and feel so threatened and unwelcome… We were publicly disinvited from this march for being pro-life. It was just really sad to be a woman uninvited to a women’s march.” Lewis demands feminism for all by stating, “Feminism shouldn’t be equated with pro-choice.”
“Originally, feminism meant embracing rights for all women and everyone. The early feminists endorsed non violence and embraced femininity. Abortion is an act of violence.” A defender of women’s rights, Lewis says that she believes in “equal rights for all women, including unborn women.” As a result, she believes that we need to “speak up for the helpless.” Lewis says that “social justice is restoring harmony to communities and restoring basic relationships.” In addition, “Social justice requires preventing abortion of disabled babies and any babies. Social justice pushes us to defend all life, no matter how small.”
With Lewis’s leadership, Students for Life is accomplishing its goal of providing women with not only adoption or child care resources, but also a reassuring voice reminding them that they have many options besides abortion. “In many cases all it takes is one person to compassionately discuss other options to convince her to change her mind” said Lewis. She also goes on to stress that “For many women, the baby itself isn’t the problem –often it’s a financial situation or an abusive boyfriend. Pregnancy resource centers can give the woman more options. We are here to help women.” In addressing radical supporters of life that use violence as means of condemning abortion she says, “I hate to group them all together, but the pro-lifers that stand outside of abortion clinics and use megaphones to scream at women are not going about it the right way.” Students for Life is here to help women: “It’s all about compassion,”says Lewis.
The pro-choice feminist slogan, “my body, my choice” contradicts Lewis’s pro-life feminist belief that “The fetus is not her body, rather it is a sovereign zone in her. The fetus in the uterus is its own person. It may even have its own blood type. All it needs is time. We want to help mothers decide to give the baby a chance by providing this time.” As a feminist, Lewis values the health of the mother just as much as the health of the baby. “Many women develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) after having an abortion,” says Lewis. Students for Life aims to help women avoid putting themselves at risk.
According to Lewis, “The word ‘choice’ has become synonymous with autonomy; however, bad choices do exist.” She poses a hypothetical question: “If I can do anything I want to my body, would it be ok for me to decide to deliberately harm the fetus by ingesting something that could produce physical deformations such as morning sickness medicine?” She argues that many pro-choice feminists often use rhetoric that “is degrading to women, it’s like saying, ‘you can’t handle it.’”
Lewis expressed her opinion that Planned Parenthood is making it convenient for women to have abortions given that “80% of Planned Parenthood clinics are within five miles of a college campus. Planned Parenthood is preying off of my generation.” Lewis believes that Planned Parenthood takes advantage of women not only by suggesting abortion as the only option, but also by taking their money. When questioned about her views on some of the other women’s health services of Planned Parenthood, Lewis responded, “Planned Parenthood does do some good things, no doubt, but they also do abortions. I cannot give money to a business that does such a bad thing.”
Lewis spoke about her approach to contraceptives, which she says she is completely in favor of: “Contraceptive devices that prevent the formation of an embryo are essential in preventing unwanted birth.”
All in all, Lewis, a pro-life feminist, aims to eradicate abortion and save lives through her organization, Students for Life. She believes that it is our duty to stand up for all women, including the unborn.