If liberals think they can score political points by tying their opponents to extremists, then I’ll see their latest example, Francis Grady, and raise them one Angela Davis.
Davis is a tenured University of California professor (of course), a self-professed Communist, a former Black Panther, and a likely accessory to the 1970 killing of Judge Harold Haley (she was acquitted despite over twenty witnesses, thanks to fellow Communists providing a dubious alibi and ideological brethren in the jury).
Though her primary causes are race and class, she’s found her way into the abortion debate thanks to a speech she delivered at the University of Kansas at the invitation of the February Sisters, the following passage of which feminist Pace University Law Professor Bridget Crawford highlights on her blog (though she omits what Davis “was in jail in Marin County” for):
I was asked to write a statement [for a San Francisco “reproductive rights” rally – CF] that very specifically engaged with the issue of abortion rights. Of course, I was in favor of women’s abortion rights, but I did not want to take women’s abortion rights out of the context of the broader conglomeration of issues that constitute women’s reproductive rights.
At that time, we had learned that vast numbers of Native American women had been sterilized. We’d also learned about the extent to which Puerto Rican women were used as guinea pigs by pharmaceutical companies in the production of what was then the new birth control pill. So, I wrote a statement in which I tried to make connections between women’s reproductive rights and women’s right to be free from forced sterilization. The statement wasn’t read.
My position was, I cannot talk about abortion rights in isolation from these other issues. I’ve come to understand that when we talk about feminist epistemologies, we speak precisely about the ability to think, together, about things that often do not cohabit the same analytical space.
While San Francisco pro-aborts certainly could have used a good reminder that there are far worse things in life than not being able to abort your offspring, that’s also what makes Davis’ position so twisted: her insistence that abortion is central to reproductive freedom on the same level as sterilization and unscrupulous medical testing. Abortion kills a separate human being the mother regrets creating, undoing something she could have easily prevented in the overwhelming majority of cases. Sterilization prevents a woman from every having children again. In what universe are they comparable?
This is perhaps the greatest sin of modern leftists who claim the mantle of feminism for themselves: the intertwining of a noble cause with greed and injustice, using the honor of the former as cover for the shame of the latter, deceiving and intimidating people into accepting the lie that allegiance to their agenda is the only way to escape the scarlet letter of “sexist.” And what more fitting personification of that sin than a radical who aligns with some of history’s worst monsters in the name of “rights”?
Granted, the average pro-choicer doesn’t support the Black Panthers or the Communists like Angela Davis does. Heck, I’m not sure the average pro-choicer even knows who Angela Davis is. But if pro-lifers are expected to answer every time a lone extremist acts in our name, then so-called “feminists” who invite Davis to speak at their events and cheerfully disseminate her “wisdom” should have to do the same.