Quoting Quiverfull: Risking What?

by Gary Knapp on the Joe Bayly Blog – February 15, 2013

I must confess that I am a little confused… For years in the abortion debate we have been told that abortion must be available to protect the life of the pregnant woman. It would seem that staying alive has been very important to our women to the degree that if a baby must lose his life to keep her alive, so be it.

Now we see our women increasingly willing to go into combat. Perhaps this is stating the obvious ladies but going into combat often results in losing ones life. How is it that we are finding women willing to lose their life for country but not for the infants in their wombs? I can at least understand the consistency of “I don’t want to die by any means, for any reason”. But I am having trouble understanding “I will risk my life to fight in combat but not to give birth to my baby.”

In God’s economy, men are to be willing to risk their lives for their wives, children and country. This is how a man shows his courage and lives out his created purpose as defender. Ladies, if you want to be courageous and be willing to lay down your lives, also… (for so much of this is Eve’s desire to be like Adam) then your field of glory is the life within you, needing you, unable to live without you. If you are going to be brave and lay down your life for the benefit of another, why not the one within you?

I do not mean to be glib, or to make light of the serious health issues that a woman may face in the midst of a pregnancy but I am calling Eve to examine herself. Eve, why are you willing to die to prove you can fight with men but not willing to die to bear the innocent, dependent one within you? Your very flesh? I do not lightly call you to be willing to lose your life but if you are willing, why for one and not the other? What is this about? Will you think about it?

Comments open below

QUOTING QUIVERFULL is a regular feature of NLQ – we present the actual words of noted Quiverfull leaders and ask our readers: What do you think? Agree? Disagree? This is the place to state your opinion. Please, let’s keep it respectful – but at the same time, we encourage readers to examine the ideas of Quiverfull honestly and thoughtfully.

NLQ Recommended Reading …

Breaking Their Will: Shedding Light on Religious Child Maltreatment‘ by Janet Heimlich

Quivering Daughters‘ by Hillary McFarland

Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement‘ by Kathryn Joyce


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  • Choosing to be willing to die is one thing. Not having the choice to even try to save your life is quite another.

  • 1)It’s not necessarily the same woman.
    2) This is assuming that the fetus is a person, which is a debatable.
    3) And in some cases, continuing the pregnancy is equivalent to a suicide mission and the baby has no chance of survival anyway. Continuing with an ectopic pregnancy saves nobody, but some people still insist women should do so until the embryo is dead, whether or not the woman survives the extra wait.

  • B.S.

    This is the issue with viewing all women as the same and interchangeable. You lose sight of the fact that, at the end of the day, you’re comparing INDIVIDUALS who are making DIFFERENT, individual choices. It’s a false comparison to say “some women want the right to choose to be in combat, so all women must give up their right to make decisions about their own health.” In fact, both sides are working TOGETHER – as both are arguing that women, like men, should be given the right to make decisions about their own lives.

    Besides, it seems silly even from a Quiverfull perspective to be pro-women-dying via lack of proper medical care. If the mother dies, that’s it, no more arrows for your quiver (and likely the child she’s carrying won’t survive, either, so she would have died for naught).

  • Except for the simple fact that we talk of different women, not one women who will only choose one of the two, where, oh where, does he get the ” a man [has a] created purpose as defender” idea?

    Where do the Bible say only men should defend, or that this is the male creation purpose? I know some people within fundamentalism try very (too?) hard to stay Biblical. But some things said in those groups (for example that men, not women, should defend) are really not even in the Bible – it is mere traditions of men.

  • Persephone

    “In God’s economy, men are to be willing to risk their lives for their wives, children and country.” My guess is most of these brave guys are chickenhawks, avoiding serving in the military, but willing to let other people die to protect their freedoms.

    We haven’t yet descended to the level of Somalia, so I imagine the biggest risk these guys take is trying to dial 911 in the dark.

  • thalwen

    Right because having the CHOICE to join the military and have an increased but not guaranteed risk of death is the same as being forced to die (along with the foetus). Then again, this isn’t the first time that fundies seem to not understand that consent plays a part in these kind of things.
    People don’t join the military in order to die, or be killed. In fact we have a word for people who survive military service and there is a large number of these people out there. We also have military hospitals and medical care to decrease the risk of death. Even in the case of a draft, the risk of death is there but it is by no means a guarantee.
    A more apt comparison would be human sacrifice. No choice, no rational purpose but plenty of moralistic talk about how killing a person for no good reason is the right thing to do.

  • Cldg

    Thing is, there ARE a lot of women out there (or no longer out there) who decided to risk their lives on a pregnancy. Because of consent. It’s the same reason the draft came to be seen as immoral, because it’s the government forcing someone to risk their life for others, not the individual choosing to take on the risk (or even likelihood) of death for their own reasons.

  • Juniper

    “It would seem that staying alive has been very important to our women to the degree that if a baby must lose his life to keep her alive, so be it. Now we see our women increasingly willing to go
    into combat.”

    “What is this about? Will you think about it?”

    Bodily autonomy. This is about bodily autonomy. I am not property such that my relation to the world is to be decided by men, neither through impregnation nor pedestalization. If a homeless person comes into your home on a cold winter’s night, it may be the RIGHT thing to let them stay, but if the law ORDERS you to let them stay, then personal property rights really cease to have any meaning. If you want to abolish personal property rights in favor of the greater good, then I can see where you’re coming from, but if you, say, believe in both castle laws and anti-abortion laws, then you probably just don’t think that women are people. And you’ll never understand how non-people could want bodily autonomy.

    And, as Sheila, said, that’s assuming that an embryo/fetus is a person, which I don’t. Or that abortion and the best interests of the embryo/fetus are opposed. We let families decide whether or not they want extraordinary measures performed for relatives because the relatives’ benefit from those measures is unclear . If someone decides that they best thing they can do for their potential child (who doesn’t have a whole lot invested at this point, and certainly has no opinions on the matter) is prevent said child from being born, who are we to question that? We are certainly less closely related to the child than the parent, and therefore have less insight into what a person of their child’s genetic makeup would think about the matter. And we are almost certainly less invested in the child’s well-being than the parent. (And, that person is not more invested in their child’s well-being than a stranger, they probably would be a terrible parent, so it’s a win-win for the kid.)

    Where it is not about bodily autonomy (that is, my belief that the draft should apply equally to men and women), it is about justice. Should the draft come back into being, whether or not it is just, it is equally just or unjust for both genders.

    I have thought about it, unlike the writer.

  • Sal

    Also, the point that most women distinguish between a fetus with potential versus a born person with hopes, wishes, dreams, thoughts, and experiences. Pro-lifers tend to collapse the difference between a person who is and a person who’s all potential. I would risk my life to take care of my niece, a sweet little girl who loves fairies and pirates and dinosaurs and wants to be a vet one day. I’m not willing to go to the same lengths for her fetal baby brother – I’m sure he’s going to be great, I would be very sad if the pregnancy went bad, but it’s hard to morally justify putting him on the same level as someone who’s already here.

  • Tori

    I was willing to die for my daughter, I nearly DID die. But if I have subsequent children, I already HAVE one child that needs me. She is a thinking feeling person, who is HERE NOW, and needs her mother. In subsequent pregnancies I would have to think a lot harder about preserving my own life. To do otherwise would be selfish and make me a poor parent indeed.