Reproductive Rights and Wrongs

If I leave my husband for my lesbian lover and we blend our families and take in foster children, we will likely be celebrated on the cover of Time magazine for our commitment to family.

BUT

If I spend fifty years in a monogamous, faithful, heterosexual marriage and give birth to six children, I will likely be publicly vilified in the checkout line as others count my brood and notice I am pregnant with number seven.

If people comment to my lesbian partner that they don’t approve of our relationship, those people will be shushed and told they are guilty of discrimination, possibly even a hate crime. If people comment to me and my husband that we’re selfishly overpopulating the world, or insinuate that we don’t know how children are conceived, or act as though I am an addled, oppressed woman, lacking in intelligence or personal ambition who should be liberated, they are applauded by spectators.

We didn’t become this culture overnight but here we are.

There are commissions, nonprofit agencies, and entire legal institutions committed to protecting the reproductive rights of women, but these apparently don’t include a woman’s right to have as many children as God chooses for her to have and to receive each of them with joy. AND it isn’t usually men who are belittling or scorning or mocking women who choose to have large families through childbirth – it’s other women.

Seriously, how rude and unconscionable is that?

We’re all one big handholding circle of sisterhood unless one of us chooses to love our one husband and raise a dozen children. How did THAT come to be the woman excluded from the great community hug of inclusion? It’s shameful and if you’re a woman who has clucked her tongue at another woman pregnant with her fourth child, well, don’t ever do it again.

Children are a blessing from the Lord – period. God said it and everyone else should shut up about it.

In my line of work, people are careful not to make judgmental comments about the single mothers who have children by several different fathers (and I agree that not only should there be no judgmental comments but no judgment – none of us should be judging others based on the children we’ve chosen to bear) but I have heard extensive, scandalous commentary about television families with multiple children – how do people justify that?

We can certainly measure the deterioration of our culture by the increase in violence, addiction, or mental health issues but I think an equally frightening judgment of our own culture is this scorn for women who celebrate life by giving birth more than three times and commit themselves to raising the children they bear.

It’s weird just to write that sentence.

Isaiah spoke these words when he was prophesying against Israel in chapter 5:20-23

“Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and shrewd in their own sight! Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine, and valiant men in mixing strong drink, who acquit the guilty for a bribe, and deprive the innocent of his right!”

What greater right do the innocent have than to be conceived, born, received with joy, and raised in love?

And, I’m sorry, but I have to think “double woe” if you’re a woman and you do this to another woman. C’mon, what’s up with that? The Lord saw fit to bless me with two healthy children and I bless Him for that. But I also love women who long for that blessing, women with one child, women who choose to remain childless, and women with ten children and may God bless us all!

I know some of us have joined in the mocking of women with many children without thinking, without realizing, because the judgment has crept in on cats’ paws in the insidious fashion of all treacherous evil, but let’s unite in calling it out, now! Children are a blessing from the Lord and if God has called you to many children, you are blessed indeed, as are they.

Apparently, the church hasn’t cornered the market on hypocrisy since many women who say they stand for reproductive rights would also condemn the mother of many children. Clearly they believe there are reproductive rights and reproductive wrongs.

There are, but they have it figured the wrong way.

What did one domino say to the other? We don’t have to fall.

Today’s post was inspired by reading this post “To the Lady Ashamed of Being Pregnant with Her Fourth” and this post “The Contempt Show Big Families.” (And just in case I have confused you at all, I am a heterosexual woman married to one man for the duration with two children.)


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5 Comments

    The Conversation

  1. Maxine D says:

    Oh how I agree – I so love it when I see women with many children!!
    I too have been married for many years, and people go ‘wow’ when they hear how long (40yrs) as though it is something remarkable – it’s not – I promised to love honour and care for my husband as long as we both shall live – and by the Grace of God I have been able to do that.
    Blessings
    Maxine

  2. Oh, how I longed to have other children to join my son in our family. But his father left, and I became a single working mom. When I remarried, my husband had two children, a boy and a girl. I love them, but they had a mother and lived 2,000 miles away. I would be the last to criticize or diminish the joy of having a large family. Thanks so much for calling out this society which has become rude on so many topics and somehow people don’t realize they are hurting the other person.

  3. Amen! Examples: The Guy Penrod family (many years as 2nd tenor wt the Gaither Vocal Band)–family wt 7 boys, 1 girl & home-schooled by Mom! And our friends, the Meads, OM missionaries in UK, serving the Lord wt 4 girls, 1 boy, and again, home-schooled by Mom. Mey their tribe increase! 🙂

  4. We’re so hard on each other, as if a different path is a condemnation of our own. Why can’t we accept that some chose a different life? Or that some have a different life imposed on them? Some women are employed outside the home, full-time or part-time. Some aren’t. Some have one child, some have many. Some are married, some are not. But all are daughters of the One God. All are sisters in Christ. Beloved, let us love one another!

  5. Tammy Noel Smith says:

    Thank you for writing on this very important issue among Christian women.My husband and I are the very proud and humbled parents of 5 children from China and Ethiopia.The LORD called us to this ministry of adoption at an older age[59 and 48].A pastor recently told us we were not repentant because my husband didn’t have a vasectomy reversal.We told this pastor that we believed the LORD forgave us for that and we were repentant through adoption.We didn’t want to use the money for an operation that could go toward’s our recent adoption of 2 toddler boys from Ethiopia.The church we recently left was all young,large biological families. 3 other families left as well,all older couple’s who have heard and obeyed the call to adoption.It’s terribly sad that the church was divided by the young and the old women.The older women were looked at as being immature because we didn’t have many children at a younger age. The sting is very painful and real ,as real as my children are to me.