Reproductive Rights

The age old argument for abortion goes: “I’m not in favor of abortion for me, but I believe women should have a choice to decide what they want to do with their own bodies.” I used to think that, too. In my teens and early 20s, I was vocal about it and placed money on it, giving $200 to help fund a friend’s late term abortion. An age old argument for birth control methods goes: “I don’t want to get pregnant so I’m going to take birth control pills. I am being responsible.” That I used to think, too, and placed my money on it, offering a nominal fee to Planned Parenthood for my birth control pills. Even after Jesus became my Savior at 26, I still took birth control pills and did so for the first few years of my marriage. Well, I changed my mind on both when I began to see what use God had for my body:

    “Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth”—Genesis 1:28 (KJV).
    “But did He not make them one, (h)aving a remnant of the Spirit? And why one? He seeks godly offspring.”—Malachi 2:15 (NKJV).
    “Or don’t you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself. . .”—1 Corinthians 6:19 (NLT).

God wants me to have children so the earth will be filled with people who live for and worship Him. I can’t decide what I want to do with my body because it doesn’t belong to me, but to God. He is the owner and has the right to tell me what to do with it. So while I understand the classic arguments why people should be able to choose abortion or to control whether or not they have children through other birth control means, I believe that the imminent death of the mother (like in the case of a tubal pregnancy) is the only time an abortion should be performed. And I personally believe that thinking that I can’t handle having another child because of economic or emotional reasons is definitely not a reason to abort and may not be cause to use birth control, especially those designed to kill the fetus after conception (like the Morning After Pill). So the only reproductive right I believe the Christian woman has is to remain in concert with her maker’s intent for her body. This is what I think. You know I want to know what you think. Please give your comments and let’s hash this out together.

Copyright 2009 by Rhonda J. Smith

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9 responses to “Reproductive Rights

  1. First as an educator, I think it is important to make sure the information we distribute is accurate. The emergency contraceptive/morning-after pill has three modes of action (as does the regular birth control pill); that is, it can work in one of three ways:

    The normal menstrual cycle is altered, delaying ovulation; or
    Ovulation is inhibited, meaning the egg will not be released from the ovary;
    It can irritate the lining of the uterus (endometrium) so as to inhibit implantation.

    Second, for many women the ability to control their bodies is a matter of oppression or not. My grandmother who had 11 children did not want 11 children. My grandfather used this as a means to control her. As a result, she led a life of quite desperation and it affected her emotionally and physically resulting in her premature death. So birth control is a fundamental way women have empowered themselves.

    For women who reside in none oppressive marriages this is all well and good. But the reality is too many across the world do not reside in non oppressive marriages. It truly bothers me when those of us who can not image the lives that others lead make these blanket pronouncements

  2. An additional point, Ihope for those of us who do not have and will not have children there was a point for our bodies as well. I hope my life is not meaningless.

  3. musingsofastrongblackwoman

    Thanks for your comments, Marla. I can see how my statement about the Morning After Pill could seem to be a misrepresentation of how the pill works. In fact, your third way listed how it works is what I’m talking about. The pill doesn’t destroy an existing pregnancy, but inhibits a fertilized egg from implanting into the uterus. The fertilized, which if able to attach to the uterus, would, if all goes well, develop into a full-term baby. So it’s the fertilized egg that is destroyed (http://tinyurl.com/62yff9).

    I am quite sensitive to people’s oppressive situations. Notice that I said that abortion should not be considered as a means of birth control because of economic or emotional issues and that other forms may not be cause to use birth control. I did not say should not because I understand that God will give wisdom and provide safe means to allow you to have or not have the children He wants you to have. I think when people look at their situations and figure they can’t handle it often discount the power of God to move supernaturally in their lives, like by preventing conception even without natural means and sending people to support us in our oppressive situations. This is where I believe the church has failed–in helping those who need practical assistance.

  4. musingsofastrongblackwoman

    In essence, people were created to worship God with all of their bodies. This entry was written specifically about the purpose of having children, ideally in marriage, to raise a righteous seed for him. So if you don’t have biological children or never have biological children, your job is the same: raise a righteous seed for God. And you can only teach what you walk so we all have a responsibility to use our bodies to God’s glory, but that’s a whole ‘nother post (lol).

  5. My post was specifically about birth control and not abortion. I think women should have the right to use birth control because it gives them power (and I do mean power) in oppressive situations. I think of women in Afghanistan who can not even go to school because of fear of retribution by their husbands, brothers and fathers. Many of these women have no control over their destinies. They did not choose their husbands. Their marriages were arranged. They are raped often. If these women had access to birth control they might have the ability to fight back. But like in the case of my grandmother, you are totally dependant on your husband and you have many children and you have very few options. You are nothing more than a slave. A person with no options is a slave. Birth control for those women serves as a step toward freedom.

  6. musingsofastrongblackwoman

    Marla,
    I must apologize for not continually making it clear that this blog is directed to black Christian American women who have called themselves strong black women without many times thinking about the implications of that term (See About Blog). Granted, some of the women in my target audience may find themselves in oppressive situations like Afghani women, but this is an atypical situation, one that was not considered in my statements. However, thanks for providing an alternative view.

  7. Rhonda
    I know the website is for black women who are Christians. But our comments about major issues should be applicable in all situations. Furthermore my grandmother was a black Christian woman and I offered her story also. And oppressive situations for women in America are not rare. Simply take a ride through the city and see how many women are in respectful non abusive relationships.

  8. musingsofastrongblackwoman

    Marla,
    It seems we just have to agreed to disagree. My blog is to black Christian woman, but not all of them; you know my demographic and I reiterate it in About Blog. And I just don’t believe that when you have a specific target audience that it is your job to speak to everybody. That defeats the point of having a target audience.

  9. Inclusiveman

    “I believe that the imminent death of the mother (like in the case of a tubal pregnancy) is the only time an abortion should be performed.”

    Rhonda, this was the same position that President Reagan had on this issue. One of the many reasons I could not vote for our current President is that his position was to reduce restrictions on abortion.

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