The New Anti-Choice Rhetoric

Feminists for Life and the Rhetoric of Choice

The New Anti-Choice Rhetoric

The FFL Website


The FFL Home Page   –   The FFL Mission Page   –   The FFL News Page

The introduction to the Feminists for Life website immediately tells the viewer that FFL believes in the power of women.  Its focus is a woman with a face set in determination,arms raised to show her strength, and wearing a red cape and goggles– she’s a superhero.   The words accompanying the image, though, have the potential to spark controversy.  It reads: “Our real strength is in knowing how to get support.  I used to think being strong meant doing it all myself.  But it’s not just me anymore.  Countless parents like me are raising kids on a shoestring, but we don’t do it alone.” The intent of FFL is clearly to encourage women and to help them find the support they do need to continue a pregnancy.  They likely are also trying to counter the claim that anti-abortionists only care about the woman and her child before the child’s born.  They want to show they’ll still be there after the baby is born.  However, the immediate reaction of a member of UNC’s Feminist’s United group was not to see in the words a form outreach, but to counter their claim with “Yes, I can do it, and that’s the point.”

The other images on the page speak to FFL’s efforts to create a diverse base that an equally diverse audience can relate to.   Thumbnails of Susan B. Anthony, two girls of unidentifiable races, and an Asian man divide their nineteen sidebar topics.   They also have a limited portion of their website available to Spanish speakers.  

This introduction to FFL is extremely appealing visually.  It has a good color scheme and layout, it’s effectively organized, and it has a formatting that looks easy to navigate. 

This visual appeal extends to their Mission Page, where a new image with four distinct layers replaces the superhero woman.  Though this could seem overwhelming, the layers seamlessly combine.  The first is a group of early suffragettes, marching for their rights walking hand in hand with their children and pushing strollers.   This image will provide the background for the rest of the group’s website creating a nice constancy and unity throughout their many pages.  On the Mission Page, a sideshot of Susan B. Anthony is then placed on top of their march.  Her image is accompanied by a quotation, “Sweeter even than to have had the joy of caring of children of my own has it been to me to help bring about a better state of things for mothers generally, so their unborn little ones could not be willed away from them.”  These women are a critical part of FFL’s strategy, as they identify themselves as carrying on a lost tradition of 1st Wave Feminism and refute the myth that a feminist can’t be pro-life.  Over Anthony is a blue butterfly, adding a touch of femininity to the site, and over the butterfly is FFL’s mission statement.  This statement lays out their basic comic rhetoric and emphasises the need to “challenge the status quo” to make society a more welcoming place to women and children alike.  It closes with pictures of contemporary young women and offers the invitation to continue learning more. 

FFL’s News Page is not nearly as attractive as these first two.  The headings at the top of the page look disorganized and the highlighting of their latest publications with an invitation to join Feminists for Life seems out of place on a news page.   

As one continues down, the Latest News headlines are linked to their articles and letters in a format that’s easy enough to navigate, but would be even easier with a dates and a search bar.   While researching for the project, I frequently found it was easier to do a Google Search looking for “feminists for life + particular topic” than searching through the many pages on their website hoping to stumble upon what I needed.   Other pages appear in this same format, and it quickly becomes apparent that the archieves of Feminists for Life are great, if one wants to take the time to explore them all. 

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