The Dobbs decision represents a defeat of feminists at the hands of other women

The Dobbs decision represents a defeat of feminists at the hands of other women. By Naomi Wolf.

The organized, institutional, heavily funded US feminist movement, which for fifty years has predicated American feminist ideology, and its own donor appeals, on the foundation of defending Roe, is calling this ruling a travesty.

I am going to argue that the defeat of Roe is not in fact a defeat of women but a necessary evolution in the law, in response to women’s ascendancy in America over the last fifty years. …

Delegitimizing the Supreme Court by those who would rule in its place:

The Roe decision is being used as a pretext for a campaign to delegitimize the Supreme Court. This anti-SCOTUS campaign fits in as part of the larger war on our democratic institutions …

Members of the Court are being abused, intimidated and threatened … On Twitter, the Justices who decided in favor of overturning Roe are being doxxed again, this time along with posted instructions for making pipe bombs.

The White House itself used language that departed from the important American tradition of reverence for the Supreme Court as the legitimate arbiter of the Constitution, an authority that we accept whether we like the Justices’ individual rulings or not: our own President demonized the Supreme Court’s Justices from the White House bully pulpit, calling them perpetrators of “an extreme ideology,” and damning the Dobbs decision as “a tragic error”:

“Make no mistake: This decision is the culmination of a deliberate effort over decades to upset the balance of our law. It’s a realization of an extreme ideology and a tragic error by the Supreme Court, in my view.” …

Feminists overreached:

I believe that the Dobbs decision was an almost inevitable reaction to devastating overreach by the organized pro-choice movement, especially in the last twenty years. …

Today, a woman — a woman — posted to me on Gettr: “I have always been on [board] with 1st trimester abortions. But when they started pushing for late term abortions I could no longer go along with that. So if I am forced to choose full term abortions or no abortions, I am going to side with no abortions. The left just had to keep pushing and that is where I draw the line. I am hoping that we can come together and dial back the insanity.”

I agree with this Everywoman. But organized feminist pro-choice activists increasingly ignored those millions who shared this woman’s reasoned position, and did so to their own destruction.

Pro-choice activists were not content to defend the right to terminate a pregnancy in the first trimester, which are the limits on readily available abortion throughout Western Europe (where, notably, there is almost no anti-choice activism).

The organized feminist left were not content to use the language or policies that polls supported, of seeking a country in which abortion would be “safe, legal and rare.” Rather, they pushed, in state after state, to enshrine that “right” up until very the day of a baby’s birth.

At what point does a “right” become a murder?

This is hard to believe, but a number of blue states have no time limit at all for how late in a pregnancy a woman can choose to abort. “States that allow for late-term abortions with no state-imposed thresholds are Alaska, Colorado, District of Columbia, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, and Vermont.” …

Too far:

The pro-choice movement lost the middle of America — as well as losing the moral high ground — by its insistence that, state by state, we must allow teenage girls to be able to choose abortions without parental consent or even knowledge. … 39 per cent of teens’ abortions take place without any parental knowledge. …

A fourteen year old reasonably enough can’t be presumed to drive a car safely, can’t sign up for military duty, can’t vote, can’t own property in her own name.

Why? Because she is a child.

But the pro-choice movement wants to put her in a situation in which she is making a monumental decision to end the life of her fetus — a decision that will affect the girl emotionally, and certainly her fetus physically, forever — advised only by self-interested, ideologically driven adult strangers, who do not even know the girl? …

Way too far:

The movement insisted on adding the “right” for abortions to be paid for by the state. …

I know a number of people, moderate politically, who are Catholics or Orthodox Jews. They say that they would not lobby against another adult’s private decision to have an abortion. But they draw the line at being asked to fund it, because of their own moral or religious principles. …

It’s not 1973 any more:

In 1973, when Roe was decided, women had just begun to be accepted into many universities. Marital rape was legal. Contraception was hard to secure in many places. Housing, credit and property ownership discrimination against women was not yet illegal. It was legal to discriminate against pregnant workers and to use gender in discriminating against even lawyers in law firms. Few significant professions had female parity. Date rape was hard to prosecute. Rape was hard to prosecute. Incest and sexual abuse of children within the family were still shameful secrets for which the victim was blamed. Single mothers and teen mothers were stigmatized. One could go on and on about how many fewer options, and how much less power, women in America had when Roe was decided. Women really were victims of powerlessness in 1973, helpless to change their circumstances, in ways that supported the argument that they needed a Federal-level right to abortion access, simply to survive as human beings. …

An American woman does have choices and powers she did not have in 1973. She can buy contraceptives. Birth control pills are now over 99% effective in preventing pregnancy. … A woman or her partner can buy condoms anywhere, without secrecy or guilt in most communities. A package of 12 condoms costs $7.98. Information about contraception is easy to find. Single mothers, unmarried mothers, are no longer ostracized in most communities. Teen mothers are no longer typically exiled from their communities in 2022, as they were in 1973. Women in America in 2022 have access to professions, credit, degrees.

It’s woman versus woman now:

The abortion rights fight now is no longer as it has been characterized for 50 years by liberal feminists: it is no longer a matter of helpless young women being victimized by oppressive, old white men.

Rather, in 2022 this fight is one between women and women: between female leaders at high levels who simply, deeply, disagree. It’s women outside the Supreme Court who are protesting for Roe. And it’s women outside the Supreme Court who are protesting against it. It’s women who lead the pro-choice movement. And it’s women who lead the pro-life movement. …

There is now almost a statistically insignificant difference in the view of women and men in terms of support for abortion rights. …

Conservative pro-life feminists see pregnant women, or women faced with unintended pregnancies, or families with unexpectedly pregnant teenage daughters, as being more capable, resourceful, morally adult, and responsible, than do many feminists on the Left, whose discourse tends to cast all unexpectedly pregnant girls and women, whatever their circumstances, as being equally helpless victims to be saved by the Daddy State (or by the right kind of nonprofit).

Now women will make the abortion laws in the US:

America has changed too since 1973 in terms of who holds political power. In state legislatures, women are a substantial plurality. In the top ten states for female representation in the legislature, over forty per cent of the state legislators are women. In Nevada, women lawmakers are the majority. And even where women are not the majority of state lawmakers, they are nationally the majority of voters.

So, paradoxically, sending decisions about abortion access back to the States is actually, in my reading, a truly feminist outcome.

While liberal feminists may have liked Roe as a metaphor — it felt poetically and existentially right to have the Supreme Court affirm a Constitutional right to an abortion, even if the language was not really there in the Constitution — the fact is that returning the argument to the states means putting the issue of abortion in the hands of — women. Because in election after election, more women turn out to vote than men. …

I agree, as a feminist, with the Justices in the majority: that the end of Roe is actually, believe it or not, a feminist outcome — as it is one that assigns modern American women — not the hypothetical ghost-women of 1973 — the deciding voice.