On December 4, 2013, Donna Schaper, Senior Minister at Judson Memorial Church, expressed her frustrations regarding abortion rights, Hobby Lobby, and the Supreme Court in a piece for The Huffington Post entitled “Most Women Under 40 Haven’t Heard the Pro-Choice Moral Argument.”
I’m a woman under 40, so I gave Schaper a chance to teach me about this pro-choice moral argument through her article. All I learned is that like most pro-choice women, Schaper doesn’t understand that being anti-abortion is not even remotely the same as being anti-women. Schaper writes:
It is painful to have to fight for what is already won, even more painful for one Christian to have to argue with another one about the freedom of the human to make choices. It is sad as well to see the constant struggle – now initiated by a toy and hobby company – about women being choice making human beings. What is it about women that the religious right can’t tolerate? Is it that important for us to be sub-human? Do that many people really think of women as toys or hobbies or second-class citizens? Apparently, yes. The core argument needs to be made again, no matter how hoarse we are in making it.
Schaper’s argument is that women are “choice making human beings.” I agree, as would any other person who is anti-abortion. As a woman, I make choices every single day. Some are good, like the choice to feed my children a healthy breakfast. Some are not so good, like the choice to feed myself cookies for lunch or procrastinate my work.
Schaper also writes that “assuming that a woman cannot decide for herself if and when to bear a child demeans women.” Being pro-life doesn’t mean I don’t value women. Quite the opposite is true. Being pro-life means that I believe in the strength of women. That I believe women are capable and loving and intelligent. Abortion devalues women.
Abortion tells a woman that she isn’t good enough to care for her child. That her child isn’t good enough to be adopted and loved by another couple. That there’s no way she can be both a mother and a student or a mother and a career women. Abortion is not a feminist act. Abortion is the killing of two human beings – the baby in flesh and spirit and the mother in spirit.
Schaper attempts to argue that “abortion can be a highly moral choice for a woman.” This can be true only if murder or child abuse can be a highly moral choice. If we are allowed to kill unborn children because we decide they are unwanted and better off dead, or we decide that our lives are better without them, then why not any children, or any person we feel our lives would be better without? Why not our coworker who we believe received the promotion we deserved? Just because a person feels that a child’s life isn’t worth living or that her own life would somehow be better without her own child in it, that doesn’t mean that that child should die. It is not a moral choice to choose death for our own children in order to live the life we want to live. As Mother Teresa said:
It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish.
A poverty. Not a moral choice.
Schaper goes on to argue that “other life sustaining medical procedures are not considered immoral. Why the complaint against abortion?” Let me make it simple for her: abortion is not a life-sustaining medical procedure. It is a life-taking medical procedure. Abortion does not save. It kills.
Finally, Schaper uses God in her argument, stating that it is a “God-given right to hold your own belief” and that “each person and each community of believers has the right to follow the dictates of their conscience.” God gave us the power to choose. This does not mean he approves of our choices. We have the power to decide if we will injure another human or steal or cheat or lie. That doesn’t make those choices moral or right.
It isn’t that women under 40 haven’t heard the pro-choice moral argument. It is that no pro-choice moral argument exists.