In the wake of a series of shocking videos exposing Planned Parenthood for selling aborted baby body parts to researchers for scientific experimentation, Glamour magazine, which styles itself as speaking for liberated women across America, has just declared Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards one of the recipients of its “2015 Women of the Year” awards.
Glamour’s pronouncement is a direct slap in the face to the rising tide of pro-life feminists across America, who feel betrayed by Planned Parenthood’s deceptive claim that the fetus is just a “clump of cells” and not a real human person.
But Glamour’s fierce defense of Planned Parenthood doesn’t surprise me, because I, too, used to be immersed in that propaganda-driven “group think” that infects the minds of those who work in the women’s magazine industry. In the 1970s and 1980s, I worked as a freelance writer for Helen Gurley Brown’s Cosmopolitan and other glossy women’s magazines to manufacture articles meant to hard-sell abortion as a reproductive “right” all women needed to be truly “free.” Sadly, it was a lie then, and it’s a lie now.
Abortion is not a “right” any smart, strong woman today wants or “needs” to call herself “free.” A pregnant mother and her baby are not isolated and independent from each other. They are a “unity of two.” What hurts the baby hurts the mother and vice versa. As pro-life feminist Frederica Mathewes-Green has plainly put it: “No woman wants an abortion as she wants an ice-cream cone or a Porsche. She wants an abortion as an animal, caught in a trap, wants to gnaw off her own leg.”
When Betty Friedan, widely known as “the mother of the modern women’s movement,” wrote The Feminine Mystique in 1963, she did not even mention abortion as a woman’s “reproductive right.” Suffragist Alice Paul, who fought tirelessly for the passage of the 19th Amendment, which in 1920 finally guaranteed women the right to vote, called abortion “the ultimate exploitation of women.”
Even Planned Parenthood’s founder Margaret Sanger opposed abortion, which she characterized as “barbaric” and as being, along with infanticide, “the killing of babies.” It was only after abortionist Alan Guttmacher had become president of Planned Parenthood and Sanger had died that the organization began lobbying for the repeal of all abortion laws.
So how did we get to the point where so many women’s magazine editors in New York City today believe that destroying the life budding within her womb is a “health right” every woman needs to be free?
In a nutshell, it was a man — Larry Lader, the founder of the National Association to Repeal Abortion Laws (now NARAL Pro-Choice America) — who convinced Betty Friedan to insert abortion into the women’s rights movement. On November 18, 1967, the night the National Organization for Women drew up its political “bill of rights,” only about 100 people were present. No reporter was allowed into that meeting in the Chinese Room of the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C., to witness the uproar that ensued over the abortion vote. Only 57 people voted to insert the abortion “right” into the women’s movement that night. One-third of the ardent feminists at that Saturday-night meeting angrily walked out and later resigned from NOW over the abortion vote.
Yet the following Monday morning, NOW claimed in a press release that their organization was speaking for “the New Woman power block [sic],” a massive force which supposedly included nearly every woman in America. In reality, when it came to abortion, NOW was speaking for only 57 people in the Chinese Room. But journalists bought the ruse hook, line and sinker, and Glamour’s editors are still drinking the Kool-Aid.
Women’s magazine editors need to stop perpetuating the illusion that abortion is every mother’s inalienable “right,” (as sacrosanct as her right to equal pay for equal work or her right to go to med school).
Instead of proclaiming Cecile Richards their hero of the hour, Glamour’s editors need to break out of their “Manhattan bubble,” begin thinking clearly for themselves and recognize they’ve been deceived.
Sue Ellen Browder is the author of “Subverted: How I Helped the Secular Revolution Hijack the Women’s Movement.”