Hillary Clinton is right: you can be a feminist and pro-life

Last week, Daily Life published an article by Ruby Hamad entitled, “Hillary Clinton is wrong: You cannot be a feminist and ‘pro-life’.”

I beg to differ.

I originally sent this piece to Daily Life in the hope of engaging with Hamad on this important women’s issue, but the response I received was: “unfortunately it’s not quite right for us.” This lack of openness to dialogue is disappointing from a news publication.

The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee and I may not see eye to eye on many things, but we do agree on this: you can be a feminist and pro-life. How do I know this? Because I am both.

I am passionate about women’s rights and achieving equality for women in all areas of life.

But I am also passionate about human rights, starting with the inherent dignity and right to life of all human beings, no matter their age, capabilities, sex, race and so on. I could not be pro-women and pro-women’s rights if I were not first pro-human and pro-human rights.

Hamad’s reasons for why one cannot be a feminist and pro-life essentially boil down to four myths.

Hamad maintains that feminism is about women’s liberation and thus entails the freedom of women to control their own bodies. She asserts that this includes the freedom to decide when and if she should reproduce and the choice to have an abortion if she does not so wish.

According to Hamad, one cannot therefore be a feminist without supporting the right of women to make their own choice as to whether or not to have an abortion.

Our culture’s obsession with autonomy often means that choice is heralded as one of the greatest goods or even a right, often with little regard for what is being chosen. However, choice is not a good in itself. It is essential to consider what is being chosen. Continue reading

  • Rachael Wong is a barrister from New Zealand. She is currently working with the Law Reform Commission in Samoa to bring about legislative reform to improve the lives of Samoan women and girls.
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