No Room for Dissent in Women’s Movement Today
Cleta Mitchell, an attorney who represents Republican candidates and conservative groups, says the women’s movement has morphed into a giant abortion rights lobby.
By Cleta Mitchell
New York Times
Is there a “women’s movement” in 2017? What is it? Who is it?
I became involved with the women’s movement in the early 1970s, when, as a junior at the University of Oklahoma, I was one of five founders of the Oklahoma Women’s Political Caucus. For over a decade, I traveled the state working for ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment. Later, as an Oklahoma state legislator, I was a champion of women’s rights, including supporting abortion rights within the Roe v. Wade framework.
In the 1970s, we fought for legal equality and eradication of the laws, based on English common law, that put women in the same legal category as children and insane persons. We wanted access to the Ivy League schools, the professions, the clubs — everything. Wherever men could go and become successful, we wanted to be there, too.
And we got it all. Big time. The antiquated statutes were repealed. Women got into the professions and the C-suites and the schools and the TV news anchor desks. We got there. We ARE there. So why, pray tell, were those women and girls wearing those ridiculous hats at the purposeless “women’s marches” in January? Why do they perpetuate the Freudian question, “What do women want?”
The women’s movement has ebbed because it succeeded. Yet the suffragist Susan B. Anthony’s mantra “Failure is impossible” has been so hijacked by post-millennium feminism that declaring victory is unforgivable.
All that a “movement” could responsibly achieve, has been achieved. My 32-year-old daughter doesn’t know the meaning of “girls not allowed.”
Now, it is up to individual women to lean in, step up or walk through the doors opened by and for us over the last 40 years. Our fight was ostensibly about respecting women’s choices, whatever they may be.
But the women’s movement doesn’t live up to that idea. If women choose to be chief executives and officeholders and columnists and doctors and partners in law firms, great! If they choose, however, to be moms and wives and attend Bible study or bake cookies, they are “bitter clingers” and “deplorable.” And if they happen to be conservative professional women, they are invisible.
The ugly truth is that the women’s movement has morphed into a giant abortion-rights lobby, demanding abortion far beyond the Roe v. Wade trimester construct. For someone like me, who has done a lot of soul-searching over the years, ultimately coming to believe that life begins at conception, I’m no longer welcome in the women’s movement. Women who oppose abortion are deemed contrary to the very idea of equality. Being a feminist in 2017 equals zero tolerance for anti-abortion views.
We are told that legal abortions protect women from deadly back-alley abortions. Feminists, then, should be the vanguard of strict licensing and enforcement of regulations governing abortion facilities and practitioners. Instead, they object to regulation on the grounds of restricting “choice.”
Yet, how do feminists reconcile the mission of protecting women from male brutality and predators when a perpetrator is the abortion industry itself? Think Philadelphia abortion provider Dr. Kermit Gosnell, convicted in May 2013 of murdering three infants born alive during attempted abortion procedures, as well as 21 felony counts of illegal late-term abortion, and 211 counts of violating the 24-hour informed consent law. He had been charged after the deaths of seven newborns whose spinal cords were severed with scissors after being born alive during attempted abortions, and an adult patient who died after an abortion.
Feminists did not spread the word about Dr. Gosnell or demand investigations to ensure his evil wasn’t being practiced elsewhere. Nor did he receive any of the round-the-clock media sensationalism afforded Representative Todd Akin, Republican of Missouri, after his statement in 2012 about “legitimate rape.” Such is the double standard from the abortion-rights mainstream media.
This is feminism today: abortion. No limits, no debate, no conversation. No nuances, no caveats, no tolerance. Wear your “pussyhat” and don’t ask questions.
But women are not that monolithic, nor that pliable. I know, work with and am friends with scores of women who are smart, talented, strong, capable, independent, who are also pro-business, pro-life, pro-gun, pro-traditional marriage, devout Christian, Jewish, conservative women, as well as others who are neutral or simply nondoctrinaire.
The “feminist club” tolerates no such independent views. In fact, there’s a special feminist seething against such women who rise to public prominence. Think Kellyanne Conway.
The vestiges of a once proud women’s movement have deteriorated into a new politically correct tyranny where women are subjected to the presence of men in places that should be safe and should protect women’s privacy, like restrooms, all in the name of “equality.” Was this was the enlightenment we had in mind 40 years ago? It certainly wasn’t what I intended.
We’ve come full circle, ladies. The laws we fought to eliminate so women could have equal chances for success are being supplanted by laws and rules that promote perverted behavior that are threatening to women and girls. Wonder how Title IX is supposed to work when males decide to compete for the state girls’ golf title. It is happening. And women’s “leaders” are all for it.
Society’s ills are many. The number of women living in poverty, for instance. But the greatest protections against female poverty are girls’ finishing high school, getting full-time jobs and not having babies out of wedlock. Oppressive big government policy solutions promoted at the women’s marches by the communist Angela Davis and by Hollywood starlets have never worked and never will. Not for women, not for anyone.
Are there still obstacles facing women in society? Yes, there are. But American women’s equality under the law is what I worked for and is, today, a reality. And I, for one, am not ashamed to declare victory.
Cleta Mitchell is a Washington lawyer who represents Republican candidates and conservative groups in matters involving campaign finance, election law, lobbying compliance, ethics and financial disclosure.