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I am a Woman and I Have Rights




I am a Woman and I Have Rights

Jessalyn Hutto

It was an atypical debate between old high school friends on a Facebook comment thread. Usually, a topic so divisive and political can quickly deteriorate, especially given the completely different world views we were coming from. The friend who had posted the original article: a gay activist. The others: atheists. And then there was me: a conservative Christian. This was a cable news squabble waiting to happen.

I rarely touch political posts by friends coming from such extremely different perspectives, but every once in a while I feel it is necessary to lovingly and graciously insert a biblical worldview into the conversation. Not for the sake of argumentation, but for the sake of providing a balanced, logical, and thoughtful perspective that they may never hear otherwise. I also feel it is important to keep open these strained lines of communication with old friends–for them to know that all though we disagree, although our priorities are so completely opposite, that I love them and desire the best for them.

The post that got it all started? A celebration of the new media darling Senator Wendy Davis’ filibuster which effectively kept Texas from greatly restricting late term abortions. I carefully and gently commented my inability to understand how the “right” to kill a baby after 20 weeks gestation could ever be something to be celebrated. This of course got the comment thread going and a surprisingly friendly debate ignited. I enjoyed getting to share my heart and passion for the unborn with my friends who in turn enjoyed sharing their heart and passion for the “autonomy” of women–for the all surpassing and guiding “rights” of women.

This, it seems, is where the debate often falls flat and we, who so arduously speak for the unborn, come up speechless. You see, the problem isn’t so much that pro-choice activists can’t see the personhood of the unborn anymore. It is a rare individual indeed who can look at an ultrasound of even a 12 week old baby and not assent to the unique, living being that resides within the womb.

In fact, scientific advancements that have taken us inside the womb, have done the exact opposite of what liberal pro-choicers would have thought. In many ways, science has only increasingly validated the “religious zealot’s” views of a fetus’ personhood. Loud voices from the pro-choice camp have argued the necessity of admitting the reality of the situation: that a living baby’s life is being “ended” when an abortion is performed. Though the term “clump of cells” is still thrown out from time to time it is becoming more and more rare, because let’s face it… we all know that the image on that 3-D ultrasound isn’t just a clump of cells, its a tiny baby.

No, the problem isn’t so much that we can’t agree on the heinousness of what is taking place, but rather that we can’t agree on the priority of a mother’s rights over her body and her baby.

We as a society are called to accept that these inherent “rights” women have are to be deemed sovereign over the lives of other human beings who have the misfortune of being conceived by women who either don’t want to be mothers or who think they can’t be mothers. It seems that increasingly I hear women speaking of the sad reality of what must unfortunately take place in abortion clinics (accompanied by a sympathetic and sad facial expression) because we simply can’t tread on a woman’s rights to her own body.

I refuse to believe that women don’t care that they are ending the lives of their children. Yes, there are those who are so hardened by their sin, and their personal choices and perhaps even by the devil himself that they can emotionlessly advocate the murder of innocent children, but I believe the average woman sees and feels the disgusting nature of abortion. She simply cannot reconcile the restriction of her “rights” for the sake of the unborn with her self-serving, self-empowering world view.

I’ve become increasingly convinced that the fight for women’s rights (specifically in the area of abortion) is a fight against the created design. When it comes right down to it, the heart of the matter is bound up in the way God created a woman’s body: to miraculously bring forth new life from the intimate and beautiful union of a man and woman. The inability to abort a pregnancy greatly affects the freedom of which we can engage in sexual relationships because there is always a chance an unwanted pregnancy may be conceived. This reality is unacceptable to the modern woman’s agenda.

The modern woman wants to be able to pursue her dreams and express her sexual nature without the threat of pregnancy involved. She wants to be able to live like a man and pretend that her body wasn’t created with specific purposes–that her uterus wasn’t designed to carry life and her breasts were not created to sustain an infant. If those pesky reproductive organs do what they naturally do, then she needs a way of escape, a way out of the lot assigned to her by the holy God.

It seems the issue of abortion isn’t simply an issue of constitutional rights, but of cosmic rights. In his goodness and love our sovereign God created a woman differently than a man. He gave her the ability to conceive, carry and bring forth life. In a way, he gave her the incredible gift of reflecting his own life-giving power within her fragile, finite being. This is a gift from the Lord, but it is a gift that women want on their own terms, and some don’t want it at all.

This is the great divide between the God-worshiping woman and the self-worshiping woman as it relates to abortion. The self-worshipping woman isn’t primarily chanting “my body, my choice” or “get your hands off my vagina” to the government or even to her pro-life enemies, she is chanting it up to the heavens to the ears of her Creator who she refuses to be controlled or limited by.

We who embrace and celebrate the perfect and lovely design of our God are free to embrace and celebrate the life that he brings forth within our wombs in whatever way he sovereignly chooses. We humbly acknowledge that we have no “rights” that are not given to us by our Creator. We are not the ultimate authority over our own bodies. We are subject to our Maker who looked upon his creation and said with wise satisfaction, “It is good.”

As a member of a culture that idolizes perceived “rights” and a gender that has decided those “rights” trump the lives of innocents, I wish to loudly proclaim that I give up my right to kill the children I carry within me. I accept the Creator’s good plan and praise him for his wisdom. But this is where the debate comes to an inevitable end, because this attitude of submission can only be found within the regenerate people of God. Only women who have been transformed by the gracious work of Christ on the cross can gladly and confidently say, “My rights come from the Lord, therefore they are subjectto the Lord.”