Christianity,  Culture

Why Abortion Is the Sacrament of Feminism

Frederica Mathewes-Green explains why abortion remains the sacrament of feminism. The fact that she was once an ardent feminist herself makes her perspective quite compelling. She argues that feminists sought to be equal to men with respect to having a career and having a promiscuous sex-life. The main obstacle to those two goals was the possibility of a pregnancy. So abortion became the necessary condition for careerism and promiscuity. Women could not have complete sexual and professional freedom without unfettered access to abortion on demand. She writes:

Thus these two bad ideas come together, pressing in like the jaws of a vise, and making a woman feel she has no escape but abortion. Feminism sought (1) increased access to public life, and (2) increased sexual freedom. But that participation in public life is significantly complicated by responsibility for children, and uncommitted sexual activity is the most effective means of producing unwanted pregnancies. This dilemma—simultaneous pursuit of behaviors that cause children and that are hampered by children—inevitably finds its resolution on an abortion table.

Feminists defend abortion with desperate passion because the whole shaky structure of their lives depends upon it…

This is why the fight against legal abortion cannot stand alone. If we could padlock all the abortion clinics tomorrow, we’d see the next morning a line 3,200 women long pounding on the doors. We wouldn’t have solved the problems that make their pregnancies seem unbearable. We wouldn’t have changed the context that normalizes promiscuity and undermines their power to say no. We wouldn’t have restored respect for the profession of mothering, or respect for fathering for that matter, so that men would be proud to love the moms and support the children whose lives they begin.

These three interlocking bad ideas—abortion, careerism, and promiscuity—present a complicated picture, and initially a depressing one. If you’ve ever played the game of pick-up sticks, you know how impossible the task looks at the beginning, when you must gradually and carefully dislodge the first sticks one at a time without collapsing the pile.

While pro-choice advocates present abortion as an act of autonomy, pregnant women experience it rather as a response to abandonment. Pregnancy is the icon of human connectedness, binding a woman to her child and the father of the child. Abortion shatters those connections and leaves her desolate.

This article is fantastic and well-worth your time to read. Feminist ideals have become so much a fixture of American life that many people hardly realize the extent to which their own worldview has been shaped by it. I would challenge readers to test yourselves as you read this article to see how deeply you may have drunk from the well of feminism. Read the rest here.


  • K.T.

    Very interesting thoughts. Really the root is sin…lust, selfishness and greed…which is leading to murder. There is a thought provoking video out there that is changing some people’s minds about abortion. It addresses the Holocaust and changes to the subject of abortion and then the Gospel is presented. It has Ray Comfort of Living Waters/Way of The Master as the interviewer, and it has more than 1.8 views on YouTube. In fact it had 1 million views in the first 22 days or so that it was online. It’s been public online since late September. They gave DVDs of it out at colleges/universities and some high schools already. Have you seen it already? It’s called “180” Movie. You can check it out at

  • donsands

    Abortion is a wicked spiritual battlefield for sure, in many ways.

    I remember holding a sign in front an abortion clinic here in Baltimore that stated: “Abortion Kills Babies!”
    You get people driving by with thumbs up and thumbs down. Horns honk. And people walk by and comment.
    One old man stopped and looked at the sign, and paused, and looked at me, and asked me, “Do you really believe that?” I looked at my sign, and turned to him, and said, “Absolutely, don’t you?”
    This man went beserk. He cussed me, and cussed everything really.
    I said, “Wow. Why are you so upset?”
    He walked away.

    Thanks for the good post. Good thoughts and words to take to heart.

    Have a peaceful and joyous 2012 in our Savior’s love and grace Denny!

  • yankeegospelgirl

    The role of poverty shouldn’t be neglected here either. Many women are frightened when they become pregnant because they feel incapable of supporting a child. So, when a pushy relative says “You can’t be a mother,” they may be right, but obviously abortion isn’t the answer. I feel like adoption doesn’t get emphasized often enough. More often it’s “You’ll be a great mother!” which is an understandable approach to try to produce bonding between mother and child, but can backfire if the woman knows she really wouldn’t be a great mother.

  • J.R.

    She makes some good points in her article. Abortion is abhorrent.
    And pro-choice does exactly what she says in her last paragraph: “advocates present abortion as an act of autonomy, pregnant women experience it rather as a response to abandonment”

    BUT.. it is disingenuous to say that seeking access to public life or career and having a promiscuous sex-life should be treated as equivalent conspirators.

    A promiscuous sex-life is expressly forbidden by both men and women God in scripture.

    Seeking access to a public life or career is not forbidden by God in the scriptures for either men, nor women.

    Trying to build a direct correlation between the two in order to bolster a particular point of view with regard to women’s roles in society is both deceptive and illogical.

    • J.R.

      sorry, that should be:
      “A promiscuous sex-life is expressly forbidden to both men and women by God in scripture. Seeking access to a public life or career is not forbidden by God in the scriptures -neither for men, nor women.”

    • Zack Skrip

      J. R. said: Seeking access to a public life or career is not forbidden by God in the scriptures for either men, nor women.

      True, access to such things are not forbidden by scripture, but treating them as a god is most-definitely condemned as idolatry. That is what this lady and Denny are getting at here. These people are using that as an ultimate good–which it isn’t–and that is requiring them to sacrifice their babies on the Altar of Career.

      Anything that takes God’s place in our lives ends up destroying life. This article is point out two pervasive god’s in the lives of most feminists.

      • J.R.

        I appreciate you trying to read what Denny “probably means” by the post. But what it says is that women try to be equal to men by seeking a career and by being promiscuous.

        The issue is that women ought to be “equal to men” and that if men are guilty of idolatry of their careers/public life and of promiscuity, let’s not demonize women for following their example.

        I’m pretty sure that Denny doesn’t mean to sound this way, but we really do need to be careful if we are trying to win people to our side (ie, complimentarian).

    • Denny Burk

      The feminists are the ones invoking sexual freedom and careerism. It’s well established in their literature. Matthews-Greene is not saying anything that the feminists would disagree with on that point.

      • J.R.

        Denny, I agree with that, but what struck me as not correct is
        1- that somehow women are wrong who want to be seen as equal with men.
        Women ought to be equal with men.

        2- that somehow desiring a career or public life is in equivalency with sexual promiscuity.

        – one is expressly forbidden (sexual promiscuity), the other is not.

        Yes, feminism and abortion are inextricablly linked. And yes, the feminist agenda causes women to make selfish, sinful, unloving, unGodly choices.

        But the language and context here matters greatly. It is an ad hominem argument to denigrate women who have careers by creating parallelsim between abortion, sexual promiscuity and wanting a career.
        Abortion = sin
        sexual promiscuity = sin
        having a vocation in addition to the one found in one’s home = not sin.

        • Henry

          J.R. said:

          somehow women are wrong who want to be seen as equal with men.
          Women ought to be equal with men.

          In common parlance ‘equality’ and being ‘seen as equal with men’ means holding the same positions of authority that men do. In this case, according to the apostle Paul, it is wrong.

          that somehow desiring a career or public life is in equivalency with sexual promiscuity.

          You seem to imply that ‘desiring a career or public life’ is always absolutely fine and we should never speak against it? But this is far too simplistic.

          First, what if she is a newly married lady and wants to forgo children so she can establish a career instead? Most complementarians would say that is wrong.

          Or what if she has children and wants to put them in daycare so she can establish a career? Again, most complementarians would say this is wrong.

          Or what if the ‘career’ she wanted is incompatible with Paul’s command in Titus 2:5 for her to fulfill her domestic responsibilities?

          Or what if the career she desired was that of, say, President? Complementarians historically (as well as a number today such as John Piper, the author of this blog, and others) would say that this transgresses Paul’s command for women not to exercise authority over men, since he rooted it in creation. Not to mention Isaiah 3:1-12.

          Thus, it is clear that there are numerous reasons why ‘wanting a career’ could be a bad thing.

          • Sue

            To be fair to Mathewes- Green, she also wrote,

            “Earlier strains of feminism saw this issue more clearly. Susan B. Anthony called abortion “child murder” and called for “prevention, not merely punishment…[of] the dreadful deed.” The nineteenth-century feminists were unanimous in opposing abortion. Elizabeth Cady Stanton grouped it with infanticide, and proclaimed that if it was degrading to treat women as property, it was no better for women to treat their own children as property. Perhaps their colleague Mattie Brinkerhoff was clearest when she likened a woman seeking abortion to a man who steals because he is hungry.”

            And I quote further,

            “we need to make continuing a pregnancy and raising a child less of a burden. Most agree that women should play a part in the public life of our society; their talents and abilities are as valuable as men’s, and there is no reason to restrict them from the employment sphere. But during the years that her children are young, mother and child usually prefer to be together. If women are to be free to take off these years in the middle of a career, they must have, as above, faithful, responsible men who will support them. Both parents can also benefit from more flexibility in the workplace: allowing parents of school-age children to set their hours to coincide with the school day, for example, or enabling more workers to escape the expenses of office, commute, and childcare by working from home. We must also welcome women back into the workforce when they want to return, accounting their years at home as valuable training in management, education, and negotiating skills.”

          • J.R.

            Or what if we just stick to the subject (– and learn how to allow liberty among husbands and wives in applying Proverbs 31 within the context of their own relationships)?

          • J.R.

            the above was for henry.
            Henry, you need to take what I wrote at face value and not try to “read into it” implications and motives.

            Like I said:
            1- Women ought to be equal with men. Male and female He created them.

            2- that somehow desiring a career or public life is in equivalency with sexual promiscuity.

            – one is expressly forbidden (sexual promiscuity), the other is not.
            Abortion = sin
            sexual promiscuity = sin
            having a vocation in addition to the one found in one’s home = not sin.

            When it comes to the application of the distinctives of manhood and womanhood, of course there are many layers of possibility and combinations of circumstances to take account of.
            But those nuances do not change 1 and 2 above.

  • Joan of Arkansas

    Every woman who helped a man get through school, advance his career and raise his children only to get dumped for a trophy wife probably wishes she’d opted for “careerism” instead of the poverty she finds herself in.

  • Andy

    Great article! I especially liked the three options for attacking the issues. Good proactive suggestions.

    I agree GospelGirl. Adoption is a viable option that doesn’t get enough play.

  • Kathleen

    It’s interesting how when religious folk want to insult something, they call it a ‘religion” and claim that it has “sacraments.” Of course, neither are true, nor are many of the claims in Fredericka’s article. Like many fundamentalist Christian women, Fredericka organizes her life and her identity around men and assumes that other women do the same. Abortion is not about men. It’s a woman deciding that her life and health are better without carrying an unwanted pregnancy. This is as true now as it has been throughout history.

  • donsands

    “Abortion is not about men.”-kathleen


    It’s about the baby. You yourself were once in the womb my friend, and thank God you were not killed early, even in the very first moments of your life.

    • Kathleen

      Saying abortion is about babies is like saying condoms are about pregnancy — only if you define things by what they’re designed to prevent. If a woman wanted a baby, she wouldn’t be choosing an abortion. I’d think that would be fairly obvious, but ya never know who you’re talking to.

  • Sue

    It would be great to get the origin of the phrase “abortion is the sacrament of feminism.”

    My personal interest is in why France, and western Europe in general, has such a low abortion rate in comparison to NA.

    • K.T.

      “Sacrament” can just mean something sacred. In Europe many women use pills which can actually cause abortions. Those deaths would not be reported or entirely known. Factor in how many people are being intimate and laws as well. Adoption is a good option, although I wouldn’t want all people to try to shirk their responsibility and leave their children scarred by feeling that their parents didn’t love them. I’d highly recommend for those who haven’t yet seen it. Find out what changed people’s minds about abortion.

    • Paul

      And most of Western Europe’s abortion laws are far stricter than our own as well.

      Strangely, when I’ve mentioned these facts here in the past, instead of the assumed response of “well, maybe we should look into what they’re doing right and do likewise,” you’ll see someone say “why would we want to look to ‘godless europe’ for inspiration on anything?”

      if the end goal is to drastically reduce the number of abortions (even if Roe v. Wade were to be overturned – and it won’t be – you’ll never fully wipe it out in the U.S again), one would think that we’d get ALL of the available options out on the table. I’ve never understood why we DON’T take a stronger, longer and harder look at Europe’s take on the issue.

  • Lauren

    Amen. Why don’t the men get in trouble, too? How come they’re allowed to get away with it, especially with forcing the women they got pregnant to have an abortion? Abortion not only hurts women, but allows men to go scot-free.

    • yankeegospelgirl

      Sometimes the man wants to have the child, but the mother of the woman (or other relatives) won’t allow it. That situation is fairly common actually.

      Rest assured that everyone who uses their position of authority in that way will be held accountable before God.

  • Brandon

    This is why the fight against legal abortion cannot stand alone.

    This is precisely what John Robbins illustrated many years ago:

    Now, to answer the two questions I posed at the beginning of this talk: How did this occur? How can it be stopped? It occurred because those who professed Christ have betrayed him. They have been subverted by secular philosophy, by traditions of men, and by principles of this world. This mass murder can be stopped only by Christians who boldly witness to the truth. It cannot be stopped by compromising either our faith or our practice. It cannot be stopped by offering the world a diluted gospel designed to offend no one. “Modern Religion” offends no one but God. Christianity, if boldly, clearly, and fully preached as it was in the first century and in the sixteenth, will once again turn the world upside down-or, more accurately, right side up. Only then will the little murders end,

  • Hugh McCann

    With all due respect, certainly the blogger is aware that Ms Mathewes-Green is not merely “a once ardent feminist,” but is a trophy of conversion & the darling of (Western) Eastern Orthodoxy, a most articulate apologist for the so-called Orthodox Churches.

    Her books include _Facing East: A Pilgrim’s Journey into the Mysteries of Orthodoxy_, and _The Illumined Heart: The Ancient Christian Path of Transformation_.

    She & her priest husband founded the Holy Cross Orthodox Church in Baltimore, MD, where he is pastor and she is “Khouria” (“Mother”).

    She took the BA in English from the Univ. of So. Carolina (1974) and a MA in Theological Studies from Virginia Episcopal Seminary (1977).

    Her conversion story* is at

    * Culled from her book, _At the Corner of East and Now: A Modern Life in Ancient Christian Orthodoxy_. Used copies start at a penny @ Amazon.

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