Although the abortion debate has largely been cast in terms of a woman’s right to choose whether or not to give birth to a fetus, based on a set of lifestyle and health-related factors, the alarming number of abortions performed each year suggests a different story altogether. With well over a million abortions performed annually in the United States alone, more than 50 million abortions performed in America since the Supreme Court’s landmark Roe v. Wade decision 35 years ago, it might appear that abortion has become little more than a routine medical procedure, undertaken little or no real consideration of its true consequences.
Surely, some of the causal factors behind such a choice are understandable within the context of the world we find ourselves facing. With fatherhood and male role models increasingly absent, and rapidly disintegrating family and community networks, it is no wonder that many women feel they cannot raise a child on their own. While, in many countries, pregnancy is considered an honorable contribution to society, in our modern Western civilization, childbirth, especially among women of prime child-bearing age, is seen through the lens of constricted lifestyle and career choices. Women with children are seen as less valuable in the workplace and less likely to succeed in life. Children are viewed, not as our greatest resource leading to a better future for our civilization and the world at large, but as a burden on our individuality and lifestyle.
This choice stems from a prism of values that distort the true nature of God-given equality. This view is not restricted to the Western world, but is surprising given the strides we have made over the past century in upholding and advancing the rights of women. The earliest American feminists, Elizabeth Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, equated abortion with slavery as barbaric practices. Mrs. Stanton was quoted as saying, “When we consider that women are treated as property, it is degrading to women that we should treat our children as property to be disposed of as we see fit.” Mrs. Anthony went as far as to refer to abortion as child-murder.” These early pioneers of civil rights and women’s suffrage found it abominable that either unborn or fully formed human beings could be considered property, to be used and discarded like animals.
In fact, when animals are used in a similar manner, PETA goes berserk trying to defend the rights of animals. The ACLU often boasts about advocating those without a voice, yet they sided with the women, who once upon a time had no voice, but who has less of a voice than a baby inside her mother’s womb? Somewhere along the way, feminism became distorted and turned on the very values that gave rise to it. Somehow “convenience” and “comfort” became values more important than the right to life, where a woman can exterminate any chance at life on a whim. Is that where we want to be as a society, where lives can be used as leverage or in some tragic cases, as revenge? Equality, whether in gender or societal terms, has been falsely equated with sameness. When America’s founders evoked the principle that people are created equal, they did not mean that all people are the same. Rather, they implied that all are equal in the sight of God; that our diversity of talents and perspectives as individuals should be properly valued as contributions to the growth of a great civilization.
One need not be the same in order to be treated equally under the law. But this view has been distorted in modern feminism: rather than urging a re-valuing of the value of motherhood, modern feminists merely sought to become men in dresses, and some seem intent on doing away with those dresses too. In doing so they overlooked the value of the sacrifice associated with motherhood. It should be noted that even under the best circumstances childbirth is an arduous ordeal, fraught with danger. On the other hand, it is perhaps one of the most noble forms of sacrifice that a person can offer to society, and potentially the most rewarding. We ought not forget that half of society is incapable of undergoing this sacrifice and having the honor of bringing new life into the world. Yes, bearing children is a privilege that half of us are not afforded, and when people who have power use it to oppress others in order to gain more comfort for themselves we usually call them tyrannical. It’s highly dubious that the intent of the feminist movement was to create tyrants out of teenagers and young women or their families who force them to vanquish an unborn baby. Motherhood and fatherhood are not a useless burden: they are the basic building blocks of a great nation. Without the sacrifice of parents, nations could not exist.
Armstrong Williams‘ column for The Washington Times appears on Mondays. “The Armstrong Williams Show” is broadcast on WPGC-AM 1580 in Washington and XM Satellite Power 169.