Feminist speaks at Belmont Abbey, explains original group message
BELMONT — "There are women who died from illegal abortion, but no one has bothered to ask what drove her to abort."
Questioning abortion, Serrin Foster, president of Feminists for Life of America, explained the pro-life stance of "original feminists" from the late 19th and early 20th centuries during a public talk she gave at Belmont Abbey College on March 14. She hailed these women as true feminist pioneers and described the true feminist ideal they inspired.
For example, suffragist Elizabeth Cady Stanton called abortion "murder of children, either before or after birth," Foster said.
"I really liked the historical aspect of her talk," said freshman student Joanna Ruedisueli. "I thought feminism was started in the '70s and was just about birth control. I had heard of Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, and I knew they were for voting, but nothing else."
Pictured above: Feminists for Life president Serrin Foster (right) poses with Room at the Inn president Jeannie Wray (left) and Cindy Brown (center) who serves on the boards of both organizations. (Mary B. Worthington, Catholic News Herald)
Through Feminists for Life of America, Foster lobbies for "practical resources and emotional support" for pregnant women, especially on college campuses. Working in tandem with campus health centers, Foster helps to provide pregnant students with the "non-violent" options of parenting and adoption.
After helping establish such procedures at one campus health center, Foster was confronted by the director: "I am still pro-choice," the director told her, "but you made me realize there was no choice in the choices I was giving women."
It is the work of Feminists for Life that directly influenced the decision for Room at the Inn to open a maternity home to the campus of Belmont Abbey College. The home is ready to begin accepting pregnant students this summer, and is believed to be the first facility of its kind in the U.S.
"Before the talk, I was the 'except' type," said prospective student Kristina Bailey. "She completely changed the way I think about abortion."
Having read the writings of both Margaret Sanger (founder of the abortion facility chain Planned Parenthood) and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, sophomore student Grant Eddy attended out of curiosity on "why some feminists don't agree with abortion," he said. "This talk definitely inspired me to get involved (in pro-life.)"
"I enjoyed this empowering message about women," said Peter Devlin, a member of the Knights of Columbus from St. Joseph Church in Kannapolis. "I would like to see the pro-life feminist message take a step further to encouraging chastity and rejecting contraception, because casual sex and contraception demean women. This would be a more complete package for the feminist lobby."
"Abortion is a reflection that we have not met the needs of women," Foster said. And Feminists for Life is working to see that those needs are met so that there can be an end to abortion.
— Mary B. Worthington, correspondent
Pictured: Construction is almost competed on the Room at the Inn maternity dorm at Belmont Abbey College. The facility is ready to accept pregnant student this summer. (Mary B. Worthington, Catholic News Herald)
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