Most of us have been so distracted by real (and "real") news -- madmen with bombs (or the desire for them), elections, Madonna's adoption -- that we haven't had time to notice a milestone cultural event. At last, this fall, on the cover of "Ms." magazine, liberal feminism officially jumped the shark.
Most well-informed Americans have had little indication since bra-burning days that old feminism's flagship magazine still existed. It does, unfortunately, and its most recent edition is quite a shameful display. The fall cover proclaims "We Had Abortions," as if it were a badge of honor -- as if anyone could believe such a thing.
If abortion really were so conducive to women's happiness and success, seems strange that we have groups and Web sites dedicated to post-abortion healing. We even have the occasional abortion clinic that gives women a time and place to mourn their lost children.
The "Ms." cover wasn't the first time the magazine has done such a thing.
In its heyday, the gals ran a similar proclamation. In the latest issue, reflecting on the good old days of taking on Phyllis Schlafly and the anti-Equal-Rights-Amendment crowd, the sisters recall, "In its 1972 debut issue, 'Ms.' magazine ran a bold petition in which 53 well-known U.S. women declared that they had undergone abortions -- despite state laws rendering the procedure illegal."
So why scream it again now? Serrin Foster, president of Feminists for Life of America, views the "Ms." antics as a good sign for her (and the rest of us). "We used to react to them. Now they're reacting to us," she tells me. The cover, no doubt, was in part a response to Feminists for Life and pro-lifers like them who have been focusing on a "Women Deserve Better" (than abortion) message in recent years. Feminists for Life, which has Patricia Heaton of "Everybody Loves Raymond," as a devoted celebrity spokeswoman, got unprecedented attention when it was reported that now Supreme Court chief justice John Roberts's wife, Jane, had worked with them in the past.
The "Ms." cover, coincidentally, hit newsstands at about the same time Feminists for Life started an e-mail Q&A featuring "pro-woman answers to pro-choice questions." In it, Foster answers the most frequently asked questions she gets while traveling around the country presenting her pro-life feminist message to college students. She tackles tough stuff like "What if her partner, friends or family have abandoned her? Or what if she's poor?" "What about 'the life of the mother?'" And "What about rape? What if it was your daughter who was raped?"