In an address at St. Norbert Catholic College in Wisconsin, radical feminist Gloria Steinem said that religion was “patriarchal” and “all about controlling reproduction.”
As Breitbart News reported on the upcoming controversial event last October, Steinem spoke at St. Norbert’s in De Pere, Wisconsin, last week and was praised by the school in a press release announcing the speaker of the event as a “founder of the women’s movement,” an advocate for “social justice,” a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2013, and a “spokeswoman on issues of equality.” No mention, however, was made about Steinem’s advocacy for abortion.
The event, attended by over 800 people on campus, was severely criticized by Bishop David Ricken of the Diocese of Green Bay, who said the feminist icon’s “whole career and life is a grand affirmation of the pro-abortion movement.”
Despite Ricken’s disapproval, the college continued with Steinem’s address. College spokesman Mike Counter told the Cardinal Newman Society, “An important way for our students to hone their critical thinking skills is to be exposed to a wide variety of ideas and perspectives.”
Ricken, nevertheless, responded, “How refreshing it would be if St. Norbert College were to decide to be a vibrant Catholic college that embraces the Church and her teaching in its entirety, not just the social justice teachings (which SNC does so well), but also the doctrinal and moral teaching of the Gospel and the Church.”
“Rather than excusing it by finding ways to reason around it or to argue against it, why not embrace it with a real and comprehensive intentionality,” the bishop added.
English professor Dr. Karlyn Crowley, who introduced Steinem, said in her remarks, “As the face of the women’s movement… Gloria Steinem leaves us in awe.”
Very soon after the start of her address, Steinem praised abortion for launching her into feminism and joined fellow radical feminist Bell Hooks in a pro-abortion “dialogue.”
“[I]f one in three of us in this nation, then and now, has had this experience [of abortion] at sometime in our lives, why is it illegal, why is it dangerous?” she asked. “Who owns women’s bodies, who says we can’t control our own reproductive lives?”
In their “dialogue,” Steinem and Hooks agreed that abortion and euthanasia were necessary for feminism.
Steinem articulated the left’s support for total sexual freedom as having been born of the women’s movement and the desire to be free of masculinity.
“The masculine role is a prison,” said Steinem. “It may be better, it may have wall-to-wall carpeting and people to serve you coffee, but it is a prison nonetheless.”
Steinem went on to say that “there is no such thing as gender… We made it [gender] up.”
“Why are the same groups against lesbians and birth control?” she added. “The patriarchal system… controls reproduction and says it’s only moral and okay when sexuality… can end in reproduction. And everything else is wrong. That means sexual expression between two men or two women, it means women’s ability to control it ourselves [is wrong].”
Claiming that “patriarchal religion is all about controlling reproduction,” Steinem said, “Religion is a name for politics in the sky. Religion is just politics you can’t talk about.”
To counter the Steinem event, pro-life student group Knights for Life at St. Norbert’s featured an address by Feminists for Life of America president Serrin Foster on Thursday evening.
Foster presented her speech, titled “The Feminist Case Against Abortion,” to a reportedly standing-room only crowd.
As the Cardinal Newman Society reports, Foster’s address focused on several phenomena, including the anti-abortion early-American feminists and how abortion advocates hijacked the women’s movement in the 70s.
Foster said of her talk that “pro-lifers of all ages were so excited and enthusiastic about our rich feminist history.”
Jesuit media America magazine published Foster’s speech, in which she said:
Not all feminists support abortion. Properly defined, feminism is a philosophy that embraces basic rights for all human beings without exception—without regard to race, religion, sex, size, age, location, disability or parentage. Feminism rejects the use of force to dominate, control or destroy anyone…
Abortion solves nothing. Almost four decades after Roe, we mourn the loss of 57 million American children that we will never meet. We will never know what they might have contributed to this world. But we must also remember the hundreds of women and teens who have lost their lives to legal but lethal abortion because they did not want to inconvenience us with their pregnancies.
We mourn with the parents of Holly Patterson, who died from sepsis after she took RU-486, and with the parents of Dawn Ravenell, the 13-year-old girl who never came home after she had an abortion without her parent’s knowledge. We mourn with the husband of Karnamaya Mongar, a poor immigrant who died as a result of her abortion at the hands of the convicted murderer Kermit Gosnell. Where is the outrage from women’s advocates?
Foster explained that women who were abolitionists and fought to free slaves also took on the fight to free women and children from the slaughter of abortion.
“More than a century ago, the same women who fought for women’s rights and for the rights of slaves to be free also fought to protect women and children from abortion,” she said. “Feminism was born of abolition. All people are equal. Not all choices are equal. We envision a better day, a day when womanhood is celebrated, mothers are supported, fatherhood is honored and every child is cherished.”