President Obama Attacks a Woman’s Right to Choose…to Stay Home with Her Kids

You know a society has its priorities backwards when it celebrates what is unnatural (a mother’s choice to dismember her unborn children) and criticizes what is natural (a mother’s choice to raise her children).

This week, the president of the United States took another swipe at mothers who choose to stay home with their children.

“…and sometimes someone, usually mom, leaves the workplace to stay home with the kids, which then leaves her earning a lower wage for the rest of her life as a result. And that’s not a choice we want Americans to make.”

In recent years, the Democratic Party has built its platform on women’s issues. In theory, the emphasis on “choice” would imply equal respect for the working mom and the stay-at-home mom. Yet in practice, liberal attitudes and policies are profoundly anti-family. (And why wouldn’t they be? Broken families = more Democrat votes. Single women are far more likely to vote Democrat than married women.)

Imagine the public outcry if a conservative politician had suggested that mothers entering the workforce is “not a choice we want Americans to make”.

Progressives claim to value tolerance and diversity, yet in practice they have little tolerance for opinions different than their own. What progressives do care about is collectivism, and collectivism requires conformity, and conformity requires indoctrinating children. Hence the attacks on stay-at-home moms, and the attacks on homeschooling, and the push for enrolling children in public daycare programs and preschools. Melissa Harris-Perry explains:

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Pro-Life Quotes from Famous Women

“The rights of children as individuals begin while yet they remain the foetus…Whoever has read the ‘Weekly’ knows I hold abortion (except to save the life of the mother) to be just as much murder as the killing of a person after birth is murder.
– Victoria Woodhull (first female candidate for President of the United States)

“The gross perversion and destruction of motherhood by the abortionist filled me with indignation, and awakened active antagonism. That the honorable term ‘female physician’ should be exclusively applied to those women who carried on this shocking trade seemed to me a horror. It was an utter degradation of what might and should become a noble position for women.”
– Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell (first woman to receive a medical degree in the United States)

Elizabeth Blackwell

Elizabeth Blackwell

“Dr. Oaks made the remark that, according to the best estimate he could make, there were four hundred murders annually produced by abortion in that county alone….There must be a remedy for such a crying evil as this.”
– Elizabeth Cady Stanton

“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 wish.”
– Elizabeth Cady Stanton

“I deplore the horrible crime of child-murder…We want prevention, not merely punishment. We must reach the root of the evil, and destroy it.”
– Susan B. Anthony

“Guilty? Yes, no matter what the motive, love of ease, or a desire to save from suffering the unborn innocent, the woman is awfully guilty who commits the deed. It will burden her conscience in life, it will burden her soul in death; but oh! thrice guilty is he who, for selfish gratification, heedless of her prayers, indifferent to her fate, drove her to the desperation which impels her to the crime.”
– Susan B. Anthony

“We must not be surprised when we hear of murders, of killings, of wars, of hatred. If a mother can kill her own child, what is left but for us to kill each other.”
– Mother Teresa

Mother Teresa

Mother Teresa

“It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish.”
– Mother Teresa

“Abortion kills twice. It kills the body of the baby and it kills the conscience of the mother. Abortion is profoundly anti-women. Three quarters of its victims are women: Half the babies and all the mothers.”
– Mother Teresa

“Abortion is the ultimate exploitation of women.”
– Alice Paul (author of the 1923 U.S. Equal Rights Amendment)

Alice Paul

Alice Paul

“My case was wrongfully decided, and has caused great harm to the women and children of our nation.”
– Norma McCorvey (former plaintiff in Roe v. Wade)

“Child murderers practice their profession without let or hindrance, and open infant butcheries unquestioned…Is there no remedy for all this ante-natal child murder?”
– Caroline Elizabeth Sarah Norton (early feminist)

Three Reasons Why the Pro-Choice Position Appeals to Cowardly Men

1. For the pro-choicer, the issue of abortion is primarily about women’s rights. For the pro-lifer, it’s primarily about the rights of the unborn. A cowardly man will always defer to the former, for the simple reason that he will never be personally confronted by the unborn. He will accept the narrative that entails the least personal risk to himself. Cowardly men would rather turn a blind eye to injustices against the voiceless than risk offending those-who-have-voices. 

The cowardly man need only convey an acceptable combination of faux-humility and faux-generosity when delivering the line, “I support a woman’s right to choose.” With one stroke, he dehumanizes the unborn child and asserts his support for the fairer sex.

2. Those who support legalized abortion often cite social and economic factors – essentially making a utility argument: “Better for a child to be aborted than born into a life of poverty and crime.”

Pardon my frankness, but utilitarians are pansies. Cowardly men are enamored with this kind of thinking, because it avoids the awkwardness of standing up for the weak against the interests of “the rest of us”. It allows Principles to be compromised in order to ensure “more total happiness for everyone”. Better the Lower Classes kill off their unborn, rather than jeopardize society’s physical and financial security.

Some cowardly men will even argue that it’s “in the child’s own best interests” to be aborted. Which seems awfully presumptuous. In that case…why not just kill all infants, toddlers, and schoolchildren who are born into lives of poverty and crime?

3. Abortion doesn’t only impact women. In the aftermath of the recent controversy surrounding the 20-week abortion ban in Texas, the term “bro-choice” gained a good deal of traction on social media sites. It turns out that banning abortion would cramp the style of cowardly men looking for consequence-free sex. According to bro-choice activist Ben Sherman, “[your] sex life is at stake…don’t be surprised if casual sex outside of relationships becomes far more difficult to come by.”

Cowardly men dread the thought of being held accountable for what they do sexually. Primarily concerned with their own hedonistic goals, they naturally favor policies that make it easier to coerce pregnant women into dismembering their unborn offspring. Collateral damage is acceptable, so long as it doesn’t interfere with the cowardly man’s own selfish interests.

More Hard-Hitting Journalism from “Slate”

This morning I ran across one of those articles that manages to be both frustrating and (unintentionally) hilarious. And also kind of revealing.

I’ll be addressing it in block quotes, but you can read the original piece on Slate.

The author’s primary complaint seems to be that the successful film “It’s a Girl” – a documentary about the horrific practice of sex-selective abortions in China and India – was directed by someone with…*wait for it*…religious and pro-life connections. Since the film isn’t heavy-handedly “pro-life” in its approach, it’s being screened by a number of prominent feminist and pro-choice organizations.

“How did this happen? How did a movie linked to a pro-life group become the darling of the pro-choice community? The story involves clever disguises on the part of financing sources that managed to hide their involvement and pass off a movie about the horrors of sex-selection abortions as just a sympathetic movie about the plight of women in India and China.  And the pro-life message is subtle enough that they got away with it.”

It’s often said that pro-life and pro-choice activists should compromise by keeping abortion legal and simultaneously working together to reduce its prevalence and abuses. (Trent Horn correctly points out that this isn’t really a compromise at all. “Compromise entails two sides giving up parts of their position in order to reach a middle ground. This is just asking pro-life advocates to give up fighting for the unborn child’s right-to-live.”) Yet, ironically, a documentary that manages to achieve broad appeal across the pro-choice/pro-life spectrum is being attacked here simply because it was created by someone who is pro-life.

The author discovered this insidious pro-life connection by doing some online detective work (i.e. googling a few names).

“I finally searched the owners of the domain name associated with the film’s official production company. The domain name of Shadowline Films is registered to Evan Davis of Tucson, Ariz., (the same name as the filmmaker except without the middle name). Only after searching for ‘Evan Davis Tucson Arizona’ was I able to discover that Davis is also the media director of Harvest Media Ministry, and the domain name of that company is also registered to Evan Davis of Tucson…Among its portfolio of works, the website features a video describing ‘unborn children’ as ’46 million people who will be killed this year.'”

(Nice use of scare quotes, right?)

“On the website of Harvest Media, Evan Davis’ biography proclaims that his ‘passion is to equip those who are called to bring the hope and light of Jesus Christ to the world through the provision of strategic media communication tools and storytelling methods.’ Yet on his Facebook page that is associated with the film, under his religious views, he states that ‘it’s against my relationship to have a religion.'”

…which is an extremely common expression in many evangelical circles. But to her credit, the author did manage to sort out this apparent contradiction by interviewing Mr. Davis. He explained: “I don’t identify myself with a denominational group. But I believe in God. My faith is a factor in what motivates me in wanting to help people around the world and never tried to hide that.”

“Yet the film’s press kit does not mention his affiliation with Harvest Media Ministry and describes him as a ‘social justice advocate’ who writes videos and directs educational documentaries ‘championing the causes of the poor and exploited.'”

(Since, you know, these things are clearly incompatible with being religious and pro-life.)

“Why go to such efforts to hide the fact that Evan Davis aka Evan Grae Davis has also worked for a company that creates videos on behalf of faith-based groups to promote their interpretations of the teachings of Jesus Christ?”

Wow, this guy was even using an alias! Sometimes he used his middle name, and sometimes he didn’t. What a scumbag. Fortunately, efforts to hide his connection with Harvest Media Ministry were no match for this author’s unstoppable search engine skillz.

“When I asked Davis about this, he said that there was no ulterior motive in his failure to disclose his affiliation with Harvest Media Ministry and said he no longer works for the organization even though his biography is still on their website.”

Caught. Red. Handed.

“Pro-life groups have in recent years begun using the practice of sex-selective abortion—a practice that is rare in the United States—in foreign countries as an excuse for limiting women’s access to abortion here at home. A bill was recently filed in the North Carolina legislature to ban sex-selective abortion, and a similar bill was defeated in the U.S. House of Representatives last year. Although no one supports sex-selective abortion, pro-choice groups correctly worry that such laws could be misused to restrict abortion more broadly.”

Wait…”no one” supports sex-selective abortion? Clearly some people do, or they wouldn’t be happening.

“Regardless of what Davis’ goal is in making the movie, it is clear that efforts have been made to hide any affiliation with Harvest Media Ministry. In fact, Women’s Rights Without Frontiers, a partner organization for which the film’s official website seeks donations, and whose founder features prominently in the film is also part of a coalition that seeks to ban sex-selection abortion in the United States.”

Yeah, you read that right. It turns out that the director of a documentary exposing the “tragic practice of sex-selection abortions” (<< the author’s words, not mine) is, in fact, in cahoots with an organization that seeks to ban sex-selective abortions in the United States.

Capstone Marriages and Cornerstone Marriages

My wife and I belong to that peculiar, sometimes-applauded, often-scorned, steadily-shrinking club of “Christian kids who married young”. We’d both turned 21 within a few weeks of the wedding. So naturally I’ve taken a passing interest in the recent controversy over youthful marriages (sparked, I think, by the “Knot Yet” report and Karen Swallow Prior’s article in The Atlantic).

In her article, “The Case for Getting Married Young”, Prior points out that the average age for marriage has reached historic highs (29 and 27 for men and women, respectively). She cites some interesting statistics (“unmarried twenty-somethings are more likely to be depressed, drink excessively, and report lower levels of satisfaction than their married counterparts”), then explains how the prioritization of education and career objectives has led to a shift in society’s conception of marriage:

“The religious framework for marriage is also crumbling. Marriage has become, therefore, to use Thompson’s apt term, “hedonistic,” based on the exponential amount of pleasure—material, emotional, sexual, familial, you name it—that can be derived from the coupling of two individuals.”

Like myself, Prior rejects this modern view of marriage, in which young people are encouraged to spend the first decade of their adult lives “finding themselves”…attaining an education and career, clubbing and barhopping, traveling the world, experimenting with multiple romantic relationships, cohabitating, and eventually getting married once they “figure out who they are”. Instead, like myself, Prior views marriage as a “cornerstone” rather than a “capstone”.

“We invested the vigor of our youth not in things to bring into the marriage, but in each other and our marriage.”

Although I’m not arguing that everyone should marry young (or even that everyone should marry, period), I do think there’s something to be said for navigating the challenges of early adulthood with a teammate.

In another recent article on Slate, Julia Shaw illustrates this point:

“Marriage wasn’t something we did after we’d grown up—it was how we have grown up and grown together. We’ve endured the hardships of typical millennials: job searches, job losses, family deaths, family conflict, financial fears, and career concerns. The stability, companionship, and intimacy of marriage enabled us to overcome our challenges and develop as individuals and a couple.”

…as does Collin Garbarino over at First Things:

“I married relatively young and managed to get three graduate degrees while married. Marriage provided my wife and me an anchor that helped us focus on our goals while we were in our twenties.”

Again: I’m not saying that everyone should get married at 21 like myself. I think the real issue here, rather than “age”, is the attitude that one brings into marriage (the “cornerstone model” vs. the “capstone model”).

In light of my own experiences, I’m actually opposed to one-size-fits-all statements like “everyone should marry young” or, to quote one of the feminist responses that I read, “women, don’t marry young”. Given the advances women have made in education and career opportunities, I think most people are quick to recognize the injustice of telling a young woman “you need to give up (or postpone) your career in order to marry and raise a family”…but are less quick to recognize the injustice of telling a woman, “you need to give up (or postpone) marriage in order to first pursue your career.” Shouldn’t feminists be encouraging the prototypical young woman to decide for herself what’s important to her?

But I digress. I’ll close with an excerpt from a 2009 report from sociologist Mark Regnerus:

“[The] age at which a person marries never actually causes a divorce. Rather, a young age at marriage can be an indicator of an underlying immaturity and impatience with marital challenges — the kind that many of us eventually figure out how to avoid or to solve without parting. Unfortunately, well-educated people resist this, convinced that there actually is a recipe for guaranteed marital success that goes something like this: Add a postgraduate education to a college degree, toss in a visible amount of career success and a healthy helping of wealth, let simmer in a pan of sexual variety for several years, allow to cool and settle, then serve. Presto: a marriage with math on its side.

Too bad real life isn’t like that. Marriage actually works best as a formative institution, not an institution you enter once you think you’re fully formed. We learn marriage, just as we learn language, and to the teachable, some lessons just come easier earlier in life. “Cursed be the social wants that sin against the strength of youth,” added Tennyson to his lines about springtime and love.”

Seven Studies with Politically Incorrect Findings

I thought this would be an interesting list to put together. Feel free to critique or comment on any of these…and let me know if there are others you think should have been included!

1. Couples that Share Housework Equally have a Higher Divorce Rate
A large-scale survey of married couples in Norway recently found that “the divorce rate among couples who shared housework equally was around 50 per cent higher than among those where the woman did most of the work.” You can read a brief overview HERE…or a longer summary HERE…or the entire 228 page report (in Norwegian) HERE. I should also emphasize the distinction here between correlation and causation. The take home message isn’t that men doing housework contributes to divorce, but rather that younger couples with more “modern” attitudes toward gender roles are also less likely to take their marriage vows seriously. (Sorry fellas. The “I can’t vacuum honey, because science!” excuse won’t pass muster.)

2. Children with Gay or Lesbian Parents have Significantly Poorer Social, Emotional, and Relational Outcomes than Children from Intact Biological Families
Mark Regnerus’s New Family Structures Study raised a tremendous amount of controversy when it was published earlier this year. For those who remember, I wrote a post back in June addressing some of these reactions. There was actually something of a witch-hunt after the study’s publication, with a number of activists accusing Dr. Regnerus of scientific misconduct (his university has since cleared him of these allegations).

3. Over a Ten-Year Period in Spain, Increased Access to Contraception Corresponded with a Dramatic Rise in Abortion Rates
This study provides an excellent counterexample to the pro-choice dogma that increased availability of contraception is the key to reducing abortion rates. From the abstract: “During the study period, 1997 to 2007, the overall use of contraceptive methods increased from 49.1% to 79.9%…The elective abortion rate increased from 5.52 to 11.49 per 1000 women.” Marc (over at BadCatholic) recently did a nice write-up on this issue as well.

4. People Who Regularly Attend Church are Happier than Those Who Don’t
According to a 2006 Pew Research report, “People who attend religious services weekly or more are happier (43% very happy) than those who attend monthly or less (31%); or seldom or never (26%). This correlation between happiness and frequency of church attendance has been a consistent finding in the General Social Surveys taken over the years.”

5. Conservatives Have Moral Intuitions that Liberals May Not Recognize
This is according to a 2007 paper by Jonathan Haidt, who is well-known for his Moral Foundations Theory. The basic idea is that there are five (later six) “foundations” that we use to evaluate morality: harm, fairness, liberty (the recent add-on), loyalty, authority, and purity. According to Haidt – formerly a liberal, but now a self-described centrist – conservatives emphasize all six categories equally, whereas liberals only recognize harm, fairness, and liberty. You can watch Haidt’s TED Talk here.

6. Abstaining from Pre-Marital Sex Leads to Fewer Divorces and More Stable Marriages
There are a number of large studies supporting this claim. According to Laumann et al, “For both genders, we find that virgins have dramatically more stable first marriages…Those who marry as non-virgins are also more likely – all other things being equal – to be unfaithful over the remainder of their life compared with those spouses who do marry as virgins.” According to Heaton, “Dissolution rates are substantially higher among those who initiate sexual activity before marriage.”

7. When it Comes to Church Attendance, Children Are More Likely to Imitate Their Fathers than Their Mothers
According to a large-scale Swiss study published in 2000, “It is the religious practice of the father of the family that, above all, determines the future attendance at or absence from church of the children.” The statistics are pretty eye-opening. In families where both parents were regular churchgoers, 33% of children grew up to become regular churchgoers. In families where the mother was a regular churchgoer and the father was nonpracticing, only 2% of children grew up to become regular churchgoers. In families where the father was a regular churchgoer and the mother was nonpracticing, 44% of children grew up to become regular churchgoers.