Friday, 24 March 2023
Why being truly pro-woman must include being pro-life Karl Magnuson/Unsplash

Why being truly pro-woman must include being pro-life

This month is Women’s History Month, a time to commemorate and encourage the study, observance, and celebration of the vital role women have played in American history. 

Additionally, International Women’s Day was observed this week, a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. 

Women have historically faced a great deal of prejudice, discrimination, and stereotyping; thus, it is understandable and appropriate for them to work toward positive change, helping shape a world where their uniqueness is valued and celebrated—a world that is equitable, diverse, and inclusive.

Widely understood, standing with women for their rights is by nature a pro-life thing to do. Women are created in the image of God, the imago Dei, just as men are, and should receive respect and appreciation for who they are and what they contribute to the world.

That said, as with upholding any worthy cause, care must be taken to avoid possible extremes. I can think of two potential dangers which are possible in the pursuit of women’s rights.

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First, as in any situation where injustice has prevailed, reverse prejudice can rear its head as a temptation. Reverse prejudice is just as ugly and damaging as the original. It solves nothing and only exacerbates the issues and misunderstandings between women and men.

In pitting one gender against the other and promoting bitterness and hatred, prejudice on either side violates the principle of honoring the imago Dei in the other.

Second, an issue which has been unfortunately and disingenuously conflated with women’s rights is the issue of abortion. 

Tweet This: An issue which has been unfortunately and disingenuously conflated with women’s rights is the issue of abortion.

Abortion providers spin abortion as a means for women to gain independence and equality, a way out of a tight spot which frees them to continue with their career, education, or whatever else they want to pursue.

But abortion, even more flagrantly than prejudice, violates the principle of the imago Dei.

Here is the troubling irony: when women fight for their rights, they seek to rectify ways in which men have unfairly dominated them. As the more vulnerable party, they seek equal treatment.

Yet in abortion, who is the more vulnerable party—the pregnant woman who is distressed about an unplanned pregnancy, or the tiny human being who is utterly dependent on her for his or her very life?

Framing abortion as a “women’s rights” issue means adopting a double standard. 

It’s saying that women who are oppressed by men deserve rights, yet preborn children—by far the most vulnerable members of society—do not.

Not to mention roughly half of endangered preborn children are female. 

What about these female human beings? Do they only deserve rights once they are fully grown? Do they have no intrinsic value until then?

Tweet This: Framing abortion as a “women’s rights” issue means adopting a double standard saying that women deserve rights, yet preborn children do not.

Another irony occurs by framing abortion as a women’s rights issue—abortion makes big promises to women but fails to deliver.

I put it this way in Unleashing Your Courageous Compassion:

“Abortion offers itself as a short-term solution to a woman’s dilemma. It dangles in front of her, the promise of an eraser that will make the pregnancy go away and make her life as it was before. It’s a false promise.”

Tweet This: Abortion offers a short-term solution to a woman’s dilemma, the promise to make her life as it was before. It’s a false promise.

I think of the young woman in graduate school who spilled her story, how she feared her parents’ reaction to her unplanned pregnancy and lacked support from her boyfriend. 

She had an abortion in hopes of continuing her studies and her life.

Instead, this bright, ambitious student became so depressed after the abortion that she could not concentrate enough to study and had to quit school. She felt terrified and utterly alone.

Another woman told me of the anger, despair, and frequent panic attacks she experienced after her abortion. She often wept uncontrollably, struggling to go to work or to care for her family.

I could tell many more stories, but here’s the point: Is this the kind of “freedom” women deserve? 

Susan B. Anthony, the women’s civil rights activist, did not think so. She saw abortion, not as an avenue for women’s freedom, but as a way for men to pursue sex without consequences, leaving dead children and suffering women in the wake of their actions.

Abortion cannot legitimately be called a woman’s right. It violates the principle of valuing and protecting the vulnerable. It violates the principle of human rights.

Abortion is not “health care” for women, because real health care never involves killing a human being. Abortion always ends the baby’s life, and too often, the mother’s as well.

Tweet This: Abortion is not healthcare because healthcare never involves killing a human being. It always ends the baby’s life & too often the mother’s

Abortion is a liar. 

By all means, we should celebrate everything women have accomplished and contributed to the world. We should stand with them in their desire for fair treatment.

Let’s just be sure to include all of humanity, especially the most vulnerable, when we talk about rights.

Susanne Maynes

Susanne Maynes is the author of Unleashing Your Courageous Compassion:40 Reflections on Rescuing the Unborn, an educational devotional which uplifts and strengthens the pregnancy help community, and Releasing Your Brave Love: Helping Kids to Change Their World, a children’s life-affirming devotional. She is currently completing a Master of Theological Studies degree at Regent University.


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