Opinions, Column

An Open Letter to Kristan Hawkins

Dear Kristan Hawkins,

As a pro-choice—or “pro-abortion,” as you prefer—young woman, I rarely get the chance to hear pro-life arguments. The few pro-lifers I have met simply explain their stance using their Christian faith, but they hardly ever provide enough reasons to give an hour-long talk. So when I heard about your event, “Lies Feminists Tell,” I was eager to learn about the pro-life party from a direct source. And after hearing your talk, I am eager to respond to you.

I wanted to address why I found your terminology of pro-abortion versus pro-life confusing. Personally, if I claimed that I was pro-choice, and someone “corrected” me and said, “no, you’re pro-abortion,” I would say yes. I would say that I support the choice to abortion. I do not hide behind the word. Your claim that people would know abortions are immoral if they saw them happening is simply baffling to me. Given the thousands of OB-GYNs who regularly perform abortions, I doubt witnessing the procedure could be as morally scarring as you say it is—otherwise, no ob-gyn, pro-choice or not, would condone it.

But the reason why it is not my first instinct to say I am “pro-abortion” is because I am not advocating for abortions in every single circumstance. I am not going up to pregnant mothers and telling them to get abortions. I am advocating for choice. I do not believe women need a special hormone to make them equal to men, as you claim pro-choicers say. I am saying we should have an option to be on birth control. People who do not want to take that option can still do whatever they want. I don’t look at women who do not take birth control any differently, because I don’t see the person who is on the pill as somehow genetically superior. To say that anyone believes so is completely absurd.

And, on the flip side of that coin, if you want me to address myself as “pro-abortion,” then you should address yourself only as anti-abortion. You stated that pro-lifers oppose abortion but do not support life in all circumstances. You cannot make such a broad claim for your platform, when in fact, the exact opposite is often true. Many in the pro-life party maintain a “consistent pro-life ethic,” which means they advocate for the lives of all people, including “people living in poverty, people suffering from police brutality, immigrants and refugees.” Sad to say it, but I don’t think I can call you the face of the pro-life generation—maybe you can head the anti-abortion generation, but I guess that doesn’t sound as nice.

In your question and answer segment, you asked if a baby born during a failed abortion is as much of a baby as one that crosses the border in an illegal immigrant mother’s arms. The woman who answered your question stated that the failed operation does not yield a baby, but I have to disagree with her. I find that the former case does, in fact, yield a baby. However, in the talk you yourself admitted that the first case is rare (though you didn’t mention that “less than 1 percent of all abortions are done after 24 weeks,” and much of that 1 percent is in order to protect the mother’s life). In contrast, the entire purpose behind Trump’s anti-immigration rhetoric is that so many of these women are crossing over with their babies that we will have to support off of taxpayer dollars. I believe that both babies have just as much of a right to life, and the case you referenced has to be rarer than the case of illegal immigrant children. Both babies would be provided for in a perfect world, and there is nothing saying that one should be preferred over the other. So if you are going to use this example, you have to admit that a baby on the border deserves as much of a chance at life as a baby resulting from a failed abortion.

You also equated aborting a pregnancy from rape to killing a 2-year-old child. You stated that abortion is just as sinful as a mother choosing to give birth to her rapist’s child, and then murdering that child because she is constantly reminded of her painful past. Again, I would have to disagree with you on account of a pivotal difference in the two cases: In the case of an abortion, the mother knows that she cannot take on the child. She knows that it would be too painful for her. But, the morally repugnant aspect of the case you gave is the fact that the mother decided to take on that life. The mother decided to have that baby. Because that decision is so momentous and life-changing, it is not one that can be forced onto someone. However, such a case is much more likely in a world where abortions are outlawed, and mothers are made to take on lives they cannot handle.

Finally, I want to share why I choose to be a feminist in the 21st century. I choose to be a feminist because I know that I do not have to be categorized as different from men. I also know that implying that women are superior is wrong, even if it is in a joking way about how my husband can’t cook hamburger patties. I choose to be a feminist because I want to have these discussions with pro-lifers, anti-abortionists, whatever you choose to call them, and because I want to ask questions to people like you—though, from the Q and A session, I felt that it was you who didn’t want a discussion to happen.

As much as you say pro-lifers are the next wave, I would disagree with you. And as a democratic feminist, I think this disagreement is okay. Dear Kristan Hawkins, I think you are stuck in first and second wave feminism, and I think that if you cared to see what third and fourth wave feminism are really about, you would know that we’re not trying to force unnatural hormones onto every girl in the country. We’re not saying she needs a pill to be equal. We’re saying she has rights, and that she can use them as she pleases. We are the ones who see her not as a means for having a baby, not as someone who can only have sex when she is ready to be a mother. We see her as a human, as a person.


Alicia Kang

March 31, 2019