ARE THERE ANY FEMINISTS LEFT?
Catalyst June Issue 2000
That a woman has a right to do what she wants with her own body is a mantra that feminists have been uttering for the past three decades. One would think, then, that if a man were to mutilate a woman’s body that feminists everywhere would rush to her side. And if the man were also a doctor, the outcry, we would expect, would be all the more shrill. Now try telling that to Liana Gedz and Joy Schepis.
Last fall, Liana Gedz gave birth to her daughter by Caesarean section in a New York hospital. Her doctor, Allan Zarkin, carved his initials in her abdomen after the delivery. “Dr. Zorro,” as he became known, could have gotten 25 years in prison for his behavior, but instead he was promised no time in behind bars.
On April 25, a woman assistant district attorney, Martha Bashford, agreed that a five-year probation was sufficient because a) he is a first-time offender and b) he suffers from a “frontal lobe disorder” that renders him disoriented at times. A woman Supreme Court Justice, Renee White, also agreed that this was fair. No feminists protested.
On April 14, Dr. Stephen Pack attacked a New York nurse plunging a syringe once into her buttocks and five times into her thigh. The woman, who was pregnant, was stabbed with a hypodermic needle containing methotrexate, an abortion-inducing drug. The doctor, who is married, was angry that Joy Schepis said she was pregnant and wanted to keep the baby; he was romantically involved with her. During the attack, the doctor screamed, “I am going to give you an abortion.”
The baby is still alive and charges are still pending against Dr. Pack. No feminists protested.
Looking for an explanation why the feminist community has gone mute over these two acts of butchery? Consider woman’s rights attorney Gloria Allred. She was interviewed on May 9 by TV talk show host Bill O’Reilly on the subject of abortion. When O’Reilly labeled her “pro-abortion,” she took exception saying that “Well, I’m actually pro-choice.” Then O’Reilly pressed her by saying, “Wouldn’t it be better if there were never an abortion?” To which she replied, “Not necessarily.” Which is why it is not accurate to say that she is pro-choice: she is pro-abortion.
Allred is cited here as a way of getting a window on the thinking of contemporary feminists. Abortion is precious to them. It is not just a right—it is an entitlement of the first order. It is not a want, it is a desire.
That’s why feminists shut their mouths when doctors violate the bodily integrity of pregnant women and mothers who have just given birth. To call attention to these crimes is to call attention to two lives, and that is a risk not worth taking, even if it means standing in silence while innocent women get mutilated by male physicians and female lawyers and judges give them a pass.