Patricia Heaton Articles >> 2006
March 23 2006

Women’s issues get new conservative voice

By Brian Chatwin |  Pepperdine University

A member of the Hollywood Holy Trinity descended upon campus Monday night and graced us with her presence. From my count, only three members of the Screen Actors Guild stand up and count themselves as Republicans, thus establishing a Trinity of conservatives, among a locust of Hollywood liberals.

If Charlton Heston is the preeminent Holy Father, and Tom Selleck the handsome Son, then Patricia Heaton of ‘Everybody loves Raymond” is the lovely Spirit.

The Spirit bestowed the Elkins Auditorium with charm and dignity rarely seen from those speaking on her topic.

Her discussion of the pro-life argument was both heartfelt and provoked much thought on the nature of the women’s movement, and its relationship to the abortion issue.

In reference to Heaton, my preconceived ideas prior to the lecture changed dramatically. I thought, “Great, another actor thinking that she can have a forum to talk about political issues just because of 'Raymond.'”

I thought her to be lined up behind the likes of Angelina Jolie, Bono and Jane Fonda. Usually, I resent actors who use their fame to promote their own causes, but Monday night Heaton won me over.

As a working mother of four, Heaton is passionate about the plight of working mothers; this passion filled Elkins Auditorium Monday night.

Heaton acts as the honorary chairwoman of a feminist group called Feminists for Life of America. This political action group comprised of conservative women who believe that the feminist movement does not need to be defined by Roe v. Wade. Heaton had a refreshing perspective on the challenges of the women’s advocacy; full of optimism and excitement.

While Feminist for Life of America can best be described as a pro-life women’s advocacy group, listening to Heaton it becomes clear that her organization casts a much wider net.

Feminists for Life of America, unlike the old, tired, angry, man-hating groups of the 1960s and 1970s, provide women with a fresh approach to issues such as violence against women, workplace fairness, family planning (no, not abortion – actual family planning), and women’s health. Granted, this approach is from the conservative point of view, but isn’t it time that Republican women have a voice? Heaton is addressing the importance of including conservatives in the women’s movement even though it has typically been dominated by liberal women.

Unfortunately, the abortion issue has been the highlight of the women’s movement for the past 30 years and will no doubt be the lightning rod to draw out the old angry guards the feminist movement and light new fires in the young ones.

Most are aware of the recent law passed in South Dakota outlawing abortion save for the traditional three qualifiers: rape, incest and health of the mother. It is painfully clear that groups such as Planned Parenthood will be rushing to the Supreme Court in the hopes of having Roe upheld. Whether the Court will hear the case is unknown, but it is very possible that they will hear it.

This most likely sends chills down the spines of leftist feminists who hold abortion above all other issues that women deal with, and face the potential conservative court of Justice Roberts. Little did these feminists know that alienating their conservative sisters in the 1970s would haunt them in the year 2006. This brings us full circle to Ms. Heaton and the Feminists for Life of America.

Because the political landscape of the United States has turned conservative, women who did not feel comfortable aligning themselves with the recently passed Betty Friedan and Shirley Chisholm of the 1970s can find safe ground with Heaton. Women who did not feel comfortable being defined by a pro-abortion agenda can now find sisters in the Feminists for Life organization.

Pepperdine is better for the experience with the Spirit on Monday. The many students who stood out in the rain just to witness the event would probably agree that the thought provoking Convocation was worth the wet wait.

It is my hope that in the future, Pepperdine will reach out to alternative voices like Heaton.

She is truly a pleasure.