The Spectacle Blog

A Woman’s Right to Choose

By on 7.15.14 | 5:34PM

In the course of my journalistic wanderings, I met a woman who gave up a dream of becoming a medical researcher to marry a farmer and have ten children. She not only homeschools them all, but also teaches a theological course for local teenagers at her kitchen table. And she enjoys it:

“I didn’t realize just how important motherhood is until I became a mother,” she told me at the Deseret News. “I think motherhood is the answer to changing the world instead of what I thought I was going to do.”

I am not advocating for us all to follow her life path. Let's be honest, you have to either marry or be born into farming in this day and age. Her story did come to mind during today's Senate hearing about the proposed "Women's Health Promotion Act: Removing Barriers to Constitutionally Protected Reproductive Rights." It is designed to remove the 205 laws passed by states in the last three years, laws that make it more difficult for abortion clinics to operate. The most famous example would be the Texas law that requires abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at a hospital within thirty miles of the clinic. 

Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa said the bill would take the laws off the books that last year convicted Dr. Kermit Gosnell, who aborted babies who were mistakenly born alive. He dismissed the bill as "a weak political opportunity before the midterm elections."

Perhaps it is the season for Senate Democrats to focus on such legislation. Harry Reid introduced a bill last week to override the Supreme Court's decision to give for-profit businesses—Hobby Lobby being a benign example—a religious exemption to providing abortion-inducing contraception under Obamacare. They have, according to the Washington Post, "vowed to make access to contraception a legislative priority for the remainder of the congressional term."

Possible political expediency notwithstanding, the language of the hearing's pro-choice witnesses was of "constitutional rights guaranteed under Roe v. Wade" and timely health care for "women and their families." 

Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn was the only witness who talked about babies. Blackburn said the while everyone involved in the abortion debate "wants what's best," the bill under discussion was too broad and will simply remove protections for women and their babies. Likewise, the fact that those 205 state laws exist shows that most Americans—and even most countries in the world—support putting some restrictions on abortion. Blackburn held up a picture with her grandson's ultrasound. She described the experience of seeing, three months before his birth, that her grandson had her eyes and nose. 

The farmer's wife I interviewed talked with equal enthusiasm about her ten children. She had hoped to change the world by developing life-saving drugs. Instead she became the home-base for a family of twelve. Although she has heard regular critiques of her own "reproductive choices" from strangers, such "women and their families" have surely changed the world.

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