Feminists for Life of America President Serrin Foster remembered the contributions of the late Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto as an international advocate for women and children, born and unborn, especially those in developing countries. “A pro-life feminist, Bhutto consistently promoted a holistic approach to addressing the needs of women by emphasizing the empowerment of women,” said Foster. “Bhutto urged world leaders to address health issues including increased nutrition and immunizations. She advocated the protection of women from domestic violence and war. And she connected the need for education of girls and women to their ability to work, and a woman’s ability to work as essential to achieving economic independence.”
“Bhutto also refused to choose between meeting the needs of women or between protecting unborn children from abortion,” Foster said. Bhutto called the common practice of gender selected abortions “tragic” and said it “still haunts a world we regard as modern and civilized.”
In her address to the U.N. Fourth World Conference held in Beijing, China, Bhutto explained, “To please her husband, a woman wants a son. To keep her husband from abandoning her, a woman wants a son. And, too often, when a woman expects a girl, she abets her husband in abandoning or aborting that innocent, perfectly formed child. As we gather here today, the cries of the girl child reach out to us.”
Bhutto challenged delegates attending the conference “…to chart a course that can create a climate where the girl child is as welcomed and valued as a boy child, that the girl child is considered as worthy as a boy child.”
Bhutto defined empowerment as “the right to be independent; to be educated; to have choices in life. Empowerment is the right to have the opportunity to select a productive career; to own property; to participate in business; to flourish in the market place. We must shape a world free from exploitation and maltreatment of women. A world in which women have opportunities to rise to the highest level in politics, business, diplomacy, and other spheres of life.”
Foster recalled Bhutto’s focus on women-centered solutions and opposition to the exportation of abortion to developing countries when she addressed a thousand delegates at the 1995 U.S. Department of State "Bringing Cairo Home" conference. Foster drew parallels between the obstacles faced by the early American feminists and the needs of women in developing countries as we approached the 21st century.
Friday, December 28, 2007
She was an incredibly brave woman. I received an email today from Feminists For Life which I wanted to pass on to you: