To the editors:

Achy Obejas’s piece on the prolife picketers at Lutheran General Hospital [Our Town, May 19] leaves the impression that abortion opponents are motivated by a horror of nonprocreative sex. As a representative of a prolife group which contains a goodly number of gays, lesbians, and contraceptive users, I can safely say that this need not be the case. A number of us prolifers object to abortion because we believe it to be not only the violent taking of a human life but a symptom of, rather than a cure for, women’s oppression. We reject the usual argument against the full humanity of fetuses–the claim that they are too dependent, too undeveloped, too biological to count as persons–because we find it suspiciously similar to arguments against the humanity of women. The link that we see between sexism and abortion is also suggested by the reasons that so many women resort to it. Frequently women put themselves through this painful, difficult experience because their male partners have refused to share responsibility for contraception and child rearing and because the academic and business communities have made it unnecessarily difficult to combine motherhood with economic survival, let alone professional and educational achievement. In addition, they have been socialized to blame these problems on their own bodies rather than on a misogynist culture which fails to respect and accommodate their unique physical capacities.

People who oppose abortion on these grounds may not be highly visible on the picket lines, but we do exist. Instead of gathering outside clinics, we generally prefer to engage in political lobbying or hands-on social work that will help reduce the need for abortion. Obejas is entitled to disagree with our position, but she should not attribute it to a phobia of so-called sexual perversity.

Mary Krane Derr


Chicago Chapter

Feminists for Life of America

E. Hyde Park