Theoretische en praktische problemen van mannelijk feminisme. De strijd voor het recht op abortus in Frankrijk (1970-1975)


  • Philippe De Wolf


While most autonomous feminist movements of the 1970s excluded men from their ranks, the French social mass movement for contraception and abortion rights enabled male feminists to engage in political activism. However, between 1970 and the legalisation of abortion by the Simone Veil law of 1975, strong ideological divisions existed between the various pro choice activists (feminists, doctors, extreme left groups) with respect to the political definition of abortion. Some considered it as a gendered issue of male domination over women and/or as a tool of social power of physicians over nonphysicians. On the one hand, some activists struggled for access to abortion as a way of women’s emancipation against male hegemony and/or in order to fight against a perceived illegitimate social and moral control of doctors over their patients. On the other hand, other pro choice activists didn’t share a feminist view on the issue and/or didn’t seek to restrain medical power: their mobilisation for abortion rights was part of a larger struggle against social inequalities, religious authorities and state control. This article tries to make clear that both types of antagonism (abortion rights from a gender versus a non-gender perspective, and abortion rights from a medical versus a nonmedical perspective) are not to be reduced to an opposition between men and women or between physicians and non-physicians. Finally, the feminist convictions of some male activists are more easily identified if feminism is defined as a political ideology that is not based on biological sex.