Radical Feminism, Abortion and the Ruination of Romance: The 2010 LLDF Annual Benefit

LLDF held its Annual Benefit on November 18, 2010. The venue was the Terrace Room at the Lake Merritt Hotel in Oakland, California. The Terrace Room is a 1920s art deco supper club with a panoramic view of Lake Merritt. Throughout the evening, the lake presented a backdrop of city lights sparkling over the water.

The program began with an invocation by Fr. Lawrence Goode and a pledge of allegiance to the flag led by Col. Ron Maxson, one of the founders of LLDF. LLDF board chairman John Streett then welcomed the guests and introduced other board members and staff in attendance. One of those introduced by John was Nikolas T. Nikas, Esq., a past LLDF board member. Nik is also a founder and president of his own pro-life non-profit organization, the Bioethics Defense Fund (BDF). To Nik, therefore, went the honor of introducing the keynote speaker of the evening, Dorinda C. Bordlee, Esq. Mrs. Bordlee is Vice President and Senior Counsel of BDF. Nik affectionately described Mrs. Bordlee as a “warrior princess”.

When her turn came to speak, Mrs. Bordlee did not deny the accuracy of Nik’s characterization of her. She recounted the story of a good friend who had had an abortion at age 18 or 19, and the devastating affect that decision had continued to have on her friend’s life even many years later. Upset that anything or anyone would so hurt her friend, and armed with her law degree, Mrs. Bordlee set out to do something about it. For the past 15 years, she has dedicated her professional life to the pro-life movement.

The title of Mrs. Bordlee’s talk was “How Roe Ruined Romance”. In a lively yet serious-minded presentation, Mrs. Bordlee discussed radical feminism, observing that it has become so deeply embedded in our culture that it is actually taught in university courses under that name.

Mrs. Bordlee quickly captured the audience’s attention (especially that of the men) when she announced that she would answer the timeless question, “What do women want?” “They want,” said Mrs. Bordlee, “simply to love and to be loved.” But radical feminism denies this simple truth and in fact denies the very nature of women. According to radical feminists, what women want is to assert themselves and to compete with men—in fact to have absolute equality with men. To them, said Mrs. Bordlee, this is nothing less than sameness with men. Since men do not have unwanted pregnancies (or any other kind), women must have abortion available in order to make them the same as (equal to) men.

Unfortunately, in 1973 the United States Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade enshrined abortion as a constitutional right (aka “the right to privacy”), a decision conceded even by abortion proponents to be bad constitutional law. However, in the 1992 case Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the Supreme Court shifted ground and adopted the radical feminists’ “equality” argument:“The ability of women to participate equally in the economic and social life of the Nation has been facilitated by their ability to control their reproductive lives. Did the early women’s rights advocates equate equality with abortion?

“Absolutely not”, said Mrs. Bordlee. In fact, they saw abortion as “the ultimate exploitation of women.” (Alice Paul) Radical feminism replaced the ideal of “to love and be loved” with a new ideal: to use and be used.

But while our society and our court system have come largely to accept and to justify abortion based the rationale of “women’s equality” propounded by radical feminism, the real reasons women choose abortion are far less noble-sounding. Mrs. Bordlee cited studies that have shown that women who had abortions almost invariably did so to accommodate the wishes of others. The most common reasons given by women for choosing abortion are lack of emotional support or pressure to abort from husband, boyfriend or parents. In many instances, such “support” as is offered amounts to, “Don’t worry. I’m here for you if you need help paying for an abortion.”

Mrs. Bordlee’s prescribed antidote for radical feminism and its deadly consequences for the unborn is what she calls “authentic feminism” or “relational feminism”. Authentic feminism recognizes that women are equal to men in human dignity, but different in identity; that women find fulfillment not by imitating men, but by being complementary to men; and that women can and should accept and embrace their feminine nature, not deny it.

In a practical level, Mrs. Bordlee cited abortion alternative policies and services that can help to compensate for the lack of support received by expectant mothers: women’s right-to-know laws, pregnancy care centers (including ultrasound), and family-friendly work policies.

A return to authentic feminism would render altogether unappealing the radical feminists’ rationale of “equality” that has made abortion acceptable to much of our society, and on which Roe v. Wade’s progeny, Planned Parenthood v. Casey, was decided.It would also undoubtedly give a big boost to old-fashioned romance.