October 21, 2016

Author reveals how authentic feminism was hijacked by proponents of sexual revolution

Sue Ellen Browder addresses more than 900 pro-life supporters at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis during Right to Life of Indianapolis’ Celebrate Life Dinner on Oct. 4. (Photo by Natalie Hoefer)

Sue Ellen Browder addresses more than 900 pro-life supporters at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis during Right to Life of Indianapolis’ Celebrate Life Dinner on Oct. 4. (Photo by Natalie Hoefer)

By Natalie Hoefer

The word “feminism” and the feminist movement can call to mind images of pro-abortion, free-spirited women who rebel against Christian morals.

But this is not what the founders of feminism intended at the turn of the last century. Rather, the pro-life, pro-family feminist movement was hijacked by proponents of the sexual revolution of the 1960s.

Such was the truth revealed by Sue Ellen Browder—a self-proclaimed repentant witness to and perpetrator of this travesty—to more than 900 pro-life advocates at the Right to Life of Indianapolis “Celebrate Life Dinner” on Oct. 4 at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis.

The 70-year-old author of Subverted: How I Helped the Sexual Revolution Hijack the Women’s Movement, was the keynote speaker at the event. Here are highlighted excerpts summarizing her talk.

‘I made up that story—it didn’t happen.’

“I spent most of my life on the abortion side of the fence while writing for Cosmopolitan magazine. … I promoted the ‘Cosmo-girl’ lifestyle and all its false promises, that if young women just worked hard enough, had sex and had a lot of fun without the kids, they would be free.

“In 1971, I’d gone from journalism school and gotten a fancy job [in New York City] at Cosmopolitan. What I saw there was that the women’s movement and the sexual revolution were two radically different movements. … How did we get to the point that these two radically different movements got joined together? After I became a Catholic [in 2003] I started to investigate it.

“[The feminist movement, championed by Betty Friedan] in 1963 was very unifying for women. Women of my generation were going into the workforce in droves and finding a lot of injustices. You could be fired for being pregnant—I was fired for being pregnant. All the classified ads in the newspapers were divided between ‘help wanted-male’ and ‘help wanted-female.’ A married woman couldn’t apply for credit in her own name. Most law schools and medical schools were closed to women. … Women were very unified

in wanting to stop all this.

“But the sexual revolution when I was at Cosmo was an entirely different matter. [Then-editor] Helen Gurley Brown had [developed] Cosmo into the first sexual revolution magazine for women. … We turned all traditional values upside down.

“Young women [in the 1960s] were just not jumping into bed with a different man every five minutes the way that Helen said they should. … I found out [Cosmo] made up all those stories. For example: A woman is a high-achiever, she goes to Paris, she meets a man, they fall in love at first sight, they tumble into bed, and the next day she knows she’s in love—I made up that story—it didn’t happen. That woman didn’t exist. But we made up those stories to market the sexual revolution.”

‘She was only speaking for 57 people’

“How did those two [movements] get joined together? … It was inserted largely due to the efforts of one man I had never heard of, a master propagandist, by the name of Larry Lader. … He was a very successful magazine writer in New York City who was the founder of the National Abortion Rights Action League [NARAL]. He was an atheist, and he belonged to the American Humanist Association, and so did Betty Friedan.

“Lader ... called pregnancy ‘the ultimate punishment for sex.’ He was fiercely anti-Catholic. Larry knew, and these are his words, that, ‘To tamper with abortion meant that the whole system of sexual morality in our nation could come tumbling down.’ That’s exactly what happened.

“But Larry knew that Americans at that time were morally opposed to abortion, and if he wanted his cause to succeed, he’d have to recruit the feminists. ...

“One way [he convinced Friedan to connect the feminist movement and the sexual movement] was with this book [Abortion, which he wrote in 1966]. This is a masterpiece of propaganda. …

“On Nov. 18, 1967, in the China Room of the Mayflower Hotel [in Washington], the National Organization for Women [NOW] met. There were only about 100 people there that night. What they came to do was draw up a political bill of rights for the feminist movement that is still with us today.

“One right was for a woman not to be fired for being pregnant. Another right was to have paid maternity leave. Another called for the right of working parents to deduct home and child care expenses on their taxes. Another called for the right for a woman to be educated to her full potential. None of us would disagree with those.

“There were only two rights they fought over that night. One was ERA [the Equal Rights Amendment]. That has failed now. The other was the abortion question. That created an uproar. …

“It took me a long time to find out what happened that night. But I got into NOW’s files, so I know exactly what happened. It’s all recorded there.

“A huge fight raged until almost midnight. And when the dust settled, the result was that only 57 people, a mere 57 people, voted that night to insert abortion and contraception into the women’s movement. One third of the women that night—and these are ardent feminists—including a number of the original founders of that organization, walked out of that meeting over the abortion vote. …

“When Betty Friedan stood before the press the next morning, … all that controversy was glossed over. She said in a press release that in this bill of rights she claimed to be speaking for ‘28 million working American women, the millions of women who are emerging from our colleges each year, and mothers who are emerging from their homes to go back to work.’ … In fact, she was only speaking for 57 people.

“The next day, The Washington Post runs a story headlining the abortion vote. And they report, ‘NOW supports the furthering of the sexual revolution of our century by pressing for widespread sex education and provisions of birth control information and contraceptives, and by urging that all laws penalizing abortion be appealed.’

“That is how the 1960s women’s movement, which started out as a very unified, family feminist movement for working mothers and women, was subverted and became a vehicle for abortion and contraception.”

‘Half-truths, selected truth and truth out of context’

“One woman who walked out that night was an Ohio lawyer, Betty [Elizabeth] Boyer. … She said a human life is a sacred trust. … She founded the pro-life Women’s Equity Action League, WEAL. Although WEAL’s membership never exceeded 10,000, these women did an amazing amount of good work. The pro-life feminists who joined Betty Boyer at WEAL opened academia for women. They forced newspapers to stop running ‘help wanted-male’ and ‘help wanted-female ads.’ They got the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 passed, which made it illegal to fire a woman just because she is pregnant. They worked to get women’s sports programs in high schools and colleges. … Pro-life feminists did a huge chunk of the work, and pro-abortion feminists got most of the credit.

“Chief Justice Warren Berger had assigned Harry [Blackmun] the task of writing the Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton opinions. …

“He circulates his opinion. His liberal colleagues on the court slam him. He withdraws his draft and vows to try again. [He goes off for a summer break], and his $15,000 a year, 28-year old law clerk, George Frampton, Jr., stays back in [Washington] D.C. to help draft the opinions. …

“George comes upon the very divisive book [Abortion] by Lader, and it’s a masterpiece of propaganda. The inside dust cover jacket reads, ‘Larry Lader has written … a book completely informed and documented … .’

“Unfortunately, this ‘completely informed and documented’ book is laced with poisonous half-truths, selected truth and truth out of context. That is the definition of propaganda. …

“A lot of the history in this book was invented by Cyril Chestnut Means. He was a NARAL attorney, and his history was so convoluted that it’s taken Loyola University law history professor Joseph Dellapenna 1,283 pages in his book, Dispelling the Myth of Abortion History, to sort out all of the abortion lies that entered our culture largely through the fabrications of Lader and Means. ...

“Harry accepted Lader as a reliable authority on abortion history, philosophy and theology. … Lader set himself up as an authority on centuries of abortion legal history, and also on two millennia of Catholic teaching on abortion, and Blackmun and his clerk fell for it.

“In Harry’s [Roe v. Wade] opinion, Larry’s masterpiece of propaganda was cited seven times, and Cyril Chestnut Means’ bogus legal history papers are cited another seven times.

“Scholars on both sides of the debate, both pro-abortionists and pro-lifers alike, have all said Roe v. Wade is very peculiar. In Harvard Law Review, Harvard law professor Laurence Tribe perceptively wrote, ‘One of the most curious things about Roe is that behind its own verbal smokescreen, the substantive judgment on which it rests is nowhere to be found.’ ”

‘You just refuse to quit!’

“What can we do? First and foremost, we must silence our hearts in prayer. We cannot do this alone. God is with us. … Action without prayer is like a candle without a flame.

“Secondly, as the pro-life branch of the authentic feminist movement, … we need to proclaim that we, not Planned Parenthood, not the National Organization for Women, are the ones who speak for the authentic dignity and respect of all women around the world, and it is our movement, the pro-life family feminist movement, that represents the genuine, authentic feminism of the 21st century.

“Your family feminist movement, what I call pro-life family feminism, is the original feminism that gave us the right to vote, … that launched feminism in the 1960s, which was hijacked in the Chinese Room and again by Roe v. Wade in 1973, … that opened academia to women, that forced newspapers to stop writing ‘help wanted-male’ and ‘help wanted-female ads,’ that fought for girls sports programs in high school and college, and kept women from being fired for being pregnant … .

“As Christians, we need to catechize each other. As long as other Christian churches, even Catholics, believe abortion is morally acceptable in the eyes of God, we’ve got serious troubles. ...

“Of course, there’s hope. Larry Lader thought he had won when Roe v. Wade was decided. But through you and your beautiful pro-life movement, God has kept the abortion fight alive across this nation for 50 years. You just refuse to quit!

“[St. Teresa of Calcutta said], ‘We are not always called to be successful, but we are always called to be faithful.’ We have to continue doing what we’ve been doing, and God will take care of the rest.” †


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