The New York Times reports that the Susan G. Komen for the Cure organization move to dissolved its financial funding of Planned Parenthood has stirred an outcry. While the research into curing breast cancer will continue, the break has been controversial.
For feminists, there is a link between saving a woman’s life by curing cancer and the right to abortion. The health of a woman is not simply a medical issue, but a holistic issue that includes emotional, material and social health. The demands that responsible motherhood place on a woman limits her choices and her potential as a human individual. The domestic living that nurtures a child is considered injurious to a woman’s life, a life that includes her personal success and happiness.
One of the major claims of feminism is that a woman can experience motherhood while retaining liberation from domestic living. However, in order to facilitate this, the parenting is not carried out by the mother, but by third parties, such as babysitters and daycare systems. If there is a man involved and he is willing, he bears the burden of domestic living needed to have the child reared by a parent. However, since men value their personal liberation as much as women, if not more, the child is a ward of someone else and left to themselves at a later age.
Abortion, in feminist eyes, is more than just a choice. It is practically mandatory if women are to conform to the liberation and empowerment that feminism calls for. While it is considered heroic for a woman to sacrifice her personal happiness for her children, which implies that motherhood is a miserable experience inflicted on them, it is quietly held as more heroic to sacrifice motherhood through abortion for the holistic life of success and happiness.
Curing the diseases of breast cancer and motherhood are both priorities for feminism.