Does Women’s Rights Equal Abortion?

Does Women’s Rights Equal Abortion? December 12, 2014
Me, at ceremony presenting resolution against violence against women.
Me, at ceremony presenting resolution against violence against women.

It seems I’ve run afoul of the atheist portal here at Patheos One. More. Time.

Nobody sticks in these folks’ collective craw more than I do. They love to hate me and they love to trash me. If one of them was slowly slipping away, I think the doc could show them one of my blog posts to get their poor little heart started beating again.

I’m  not sure how I do it, and to be honest, I don’t care, but I do get under their skin. They react to me the way Tribbles react to Klingons.

I’ve studiously ignored this carrying on up to now, and I intend to go back to that same path as soon as I finish here. But I do have a small bone to pick with one of the more outlandish claims against me that has been published on that portal.

Dan Arel, who blogs at Danthropology, has a big case of outrage going over my recent blog post about the Prez. It seems that calling President Obama an idiot is a bridge too far for Mr Arel. That’s his opinion, and he’s welcome to it. Writing blog posts trying to get at me is also his call. It actually would be difficult for me to come up with a description of how little I care.

I’m not even all that exercised about the one point that I’m going to discuss here. I just think it leads into an important point that needs making.

In his outraged defense of the president, Mr Arel — as atheists seem wont to do — veers off into personal attacks against me. As often happens with personal attacks against me, he immediately goes into fantasyland and presents made-up nonsense as fact.

This paragraph is a case in point (emphasis mine):

Rebecca Hamilton is a former politician who spent her career attacking women’s rights. Now it seems in retirement, her life will be no different. She does not think women are able to make the choices that are right for them and instead wants the President to give her and her religion the privilege of making these choices for you.

Oh me. Oh my. Such a big fat lie. 

  12565
Lil ol’ me, speaking at a rally to end domestic violence.

Here’s just a sprinkling of things I’ve done (This is just off the top of my head. I’m sure there’s more.) during my career-long “attack” on women’s rights:

1. One of 6 founders of the first rape crisis center in Oklahoma.

2. Got first funding for statewide domestic violence shelters.

3. Author of the original protective order in Oklahoma. 

4. Creator of the first statewide rape hot line in Oklahoma. 

5. Authored legislation to allow rape victims and victims of domestic violence time off work for counseling, court visits, medical care without losing their employment. 

6. Authored legislation to provide state funding for day care. 

7. Authored legislation to make human trafficking illegal in Oklahoma.

8. Passed a law to keep rape victims’ information private.

9. Host and co-creator of the Oklahoma Day of Prayer for an End to Violence Against Women.

10. Authored bill to stop doctors from paying women to allow their bodies to be harvested for eggs.

11. Authored bill to stop forced abortions.

12. Authored bill making it a felony to beat up a pregnant woman.

13. Authored bill outlawing female genital mutilation in Oklahoma.

14. Authored bill to make rape by instrumentation a crime in Oklahoma. 

Lessee now. What might I have done that could possibly be construed as “attacking women’s rights?????”

Tap, tap, tap …

Could it be the fact that I oppose abortion? 

That’s all I can think of. And it does fit. 

Because in some people’s minds, “women’s rights” is abortion. They think that if you aren’t in favor of abortion on demand, then you must be opposed to “women’s rights.” On the other hand, they think that if you favor abortion on demand, then that’s all there is to women’s rights.

Oddly enough, even in this, Mr Arel’s hateful hyperbole overreaches the facts by a few miles. I opposed abortion in the second half of my career. During the first, pre-conversion half, I was the pro choice poster girl of Oklahoma. I’ve got enough Margaret Sanger awards and other pro choice attagirls from that phase of my life to paper the walls of my house with them. I was the de facto go-to person in the Oklahoma legislature for those who wanted pro life bills killed dead. And I delivered, because I was, as one of my fellow House members told me, “one hell of a legislator.”

Before I was ever elected to office, I was the Oklahoma director for NARAL.

So puhllleeeezzzz Mr Arel, consider who you are tarring with your abortion-is-women’s-rights brush. I know more about this issue — from both sides — than you will ever learn.

One of the things I know, and that I have learned to my horror and grief, is that abortion kills a living child. I can’t tell you how devastated I was when I realized the full horror of what I had done during my anti-God years.

Not only was I shattered by my own crimes against humanity, but as a woman who cares deeply about women’s rights, I felt trapped in a conundrum. How could I work to ensure women’s rights and prevail in my life-long work to speak out for justice for womankind and still protect these unborn children’s lives? That was the question.

I found the answer in the place where we all must look: The abundant mercy and love of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Jesus is Lord of every life, whether the person acknowledges this or not. He loves Mr Arel just as much as He loves me, or you. He loves him and wants to offer him forgiveness and the free gift of eternal life just as He loves and cherishes the unborn child.

We are all His brothers and sisters, all God’s children.

Jesus loves women with a special depth of love because He is the author of life and women are the bearers of life. We are His cooperators in the life force. He chose to be born of a woman Himself.

This does not mean that God intends His daughters to be limited to that one single role. We are not walking uteri. We are human beings, made in His image with all the hungers, desires and needs for significance, achievement and the fullness of life that men have. Diminishing us to the role of childbearing as if that was all there is to us is not God’s plan. It is the devil’s curse on humankind.

Misogyny is the human race, at war with itself. And abortion, which strips women of their uniqueness, is an attack on women’s humanity at a profound level. Women should not have to chose between a murdered child and a ruined life. That, and not some nebulous “right” to murder both their own child and their own maternity is what women’s rights should be.

Pregancy and childbirth should never be used as a weapon to terrorize women or limit their lives. Rather than ending this discrimination and misogyny, abortion cooperates with it. Abortion is just the old misogynist double standard, turned sideways. It puts the whole burden of human sexuality back on the woman once again.

I don’t blame Mr Arel for being such a twerp about all this. He is, after all, both a man and an atheist, which is a combination that, based on my reading, seems to struggle with ideas of women’s rights based on women’s humanity. In fact, this group seems to struggle with ideas of intrinsic and universal human rights for any group of people. Based on things he’s said and done, I would guess that he’s also got a special hate going toward me.

All that adds up to a king-sized pair of blinders. When he puts forth the women’s rights = abortion equation, he is repeating the mindless cant he’s been taught around who knows how many intellectual campfires.

What I would like him to do is to take those blinders off, or at least peek around them, and see the love and compassion that Our Lord extends to him. Mr Arel is wrong about abortion, wrong about God and, in a far lesser question, wrong about me.

I wish him the best thing I could wish anyone, that he accepts the love of Christ and begins the journey to heaven. Whether he knows it, or wants to believe it or not, he is my brother; my lost and angry brother.

I pray for you Dan. You are a child of the living God.

Now, I’m back to ignoring the atheist portal.

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59 responses to “Does Women’s Rights Equal Abortion?”

  1. Your bill barring women from selling their ova could be considered a positive infringement on women’s rights, as well. Although I have never had to abort a pregnancy, I know many women who have. I also know a number of people who would not have been born had their mothers not aborted a previous pregnancy. Preventing women from being the final arbiters over their own bodies cannot be considered anything but an opposition to women’s rights.

    • Nothing in the bill prohibited women from doing anything. It stopped doctors from preying on young girls by offering them large sums of money to undergo dangerous and totally needless medical procedures to the doctor’s profit. Predatory industrial medicine is not women’s rights except in the twisted world of those who want to prey on women and their gullible knee-jerk supporters in the rights-talking world

      • I am not familiar with the legislation you proposed. This description differs significantly from the thumb-nail that you included in your legislative CV above.

    • How on earth can you “know a number of people who would not have been born had their mothers not aborted a previous pregnancy?” Are you saying that they were women who were only going to have one child, and since they aborted their first, they then had a child who would not have been born? This doesn’t seem like a good argument to me.

      Abortion kills a child whose only act prior to the abortion is that of being conceived. It’s not the child’s fault. Conception is the natural result of a deliberate, natural action, which a woman (in vast majority of cases) does with her body. Because of this, the claim that women are the “final arbiters over their own bodies” is particularly grating. Grown-ups know that natural actions have natural results.

      Women have rights. Men have rights. Children have rights. Equal rights? Not if you’re a child not yet born.

      • What I meant about people who would never have been born applied to planned families. In all of the cases, if the mother had not aborted the pregnancy, her life would have been very different. Any slight lifetime change in the mother can change the outcome of her children. A large change such as carrying a pregnancy to term has an impact on subsequent pregnancies.

        You think of abortion as killing a child. That is a perspective that can cause a significant level of grief and heartache. A fetus has a great deal of development to go through before becoming child. Your peace of mind might suffer for every fetus that does not make it into the world due to a miscarriage or an abortion.

        Men and women have rights that children do not have, and vice versa. Children have special rights that do not apply to adults. Jurisprudence in the US does not give a fetus the same rights as it grants a child.

        • “You think of abortion as killing a child. That is a perspective that
          can cause a significant level of grief and heartache. A fetus has a
          great deal of development to go through before becoming child.”

          A human fetus is already a human being. She must develop before becoming a NEWBORN, and then must develop more to become an ADOLESCENT, and so forth. But she’s already a human being.

        • You’re quite right. Children do not have the same rights as adults. However, to say that a “fetus” has a lot of development to do before it is “becomes” a child leaves me to ask, “so? A baby has a lot of development to do before it is a toddler, a child, a teenager, a young adult.” These are merely stages, there is no intrinsic change in the essence in the person. They are merely stages, and as such it is indeed my contention that one should not kill someone else, regardless of stage of life. Be careful of the road of “there are people who are not worthy of life because they really aren’t people.” Historically (just look at the 20th century), it goes to bad places.

          And, yes, the perspective that abortion kills a person can cause a significant amount of grief. And, yes, miscarriages are tragic – generally natural ones, that’s why they are called miscarriages, not abortions. But to say, “well, abortion is a painful thing to think of in that way, so let’s not think of it that way, let’s justify it so it’s not painful” seems to me to be disingenuous.

          And finally, on your note of the vast differences in life that would result. Life has several moments that have significant impact on our lives; do I go to work right after high school, or go to college? Do I work outside the home or not? Should I join the military? Should I date this person or that person? Should I travel the world for two years or volunteer at my church? And multiple children do result in changes, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. They are just changes.

          • You may not perceive changes in essence, but they are there. An individual’s physical essence is part pre-programmed genetics and part experiential growth. The same thing could be said for the mental essence. We have a limited mental capacity due to physical constraints, but we can expand our mental abilities through personal development. The more we develop, the closer we come to our limited capacity. The less we develop, the farther we are from reaching our full potential.

            Abortion cannot kill a person because personality develops over time. It can only prevent a person from developing.

            • Ah. So, when does person hood begin, and who gets to say when it begins? Or what must one achieve before person hood is sufficient? Perhaps personality doesn’t develop until the child can use full words or sentences, sometime in toddler hood? But, I used to have arguments with my daughter who would insist on putting her elbow (or something) up under my ribs and I would push it away because it was uncomfortable and she’d put it back. This aspect of her personality is still quite apparent 14 years later, I assure you. Maybe it develops only when the mother can feel the child move in utero, but that’s really more a matter of physical size. Maybe it’s really only when the child can reach an age of reason, whenever that is. And if there’s a point of person hood that becomes unacceptable to kill someone, then can that person hood be lost? By this argument people could contend that Rebecca’s mother has “lost” her person hood and therefore can be “aborted.”

              My point is that no matter what litmus test you use to justify abortion by whether or not a “person” has developed, it’s a purely artificial and arbitrary determinant.

              • Nobody uses the argument of personhood to “justify” aborting a pregnancy. The only justification is that the pregnant woman has a right to control her own body, and the Church has no authority over her nor over American jurisprudence.

                That was not always the case. There was a time in American history when the Church took an active role in restricting the rights of American citizens. Some folks would like to see that happen again.

  2. Abortion is one of those things about which there is a public conversation and another, entirely in cultural subtext. As a young doctor, returning from WWII, my father bought an old , small commercial hotel a block off Main Street and converted it into a “dysmenorrhea clinic”. He did two or three “therapeutic” D&C’s every morning. Women came from all over, for a safe, inexpensive procedure. They stayed a couple days and went home. Everybody in town knew what he was doing, especially the church ladies. It was talked about but never in public. As a child growing up, nobody ever said a disparaging word to me about my father. He was the team doctor at the high school. At various times he was on the city council, school board and an elder on the Presbyterian Church board. After 30 years and Roe v Wade, he shut it down and sold the building. When he died the whole town turned out. Small, churchgoing, White, Republican town. Go figure.

    I have no idea why my Father did what he did. He didn’t ever talk about it. It wasn’t for the money. Salaries, maintenance and administration of the clinic ate that all up.

  3. I’ve been atruggling to understand just when and how we came up with this idea that women’s rights equal abortion. It makes no sense to me. Thanks for all you have done for women’s rights.

  4. According to the United Nations’ position on human rights;

    “Access to legal and safe abortion services is essential to the protection of women’s rights to nondiscrimination and equality. Women are in practice more likely than men to experience personal hardship as well as social disadvantage as a result of economic, career, and other life changes when they have children. Where women are compelled to continue unwanted pregnancies, such consequences forcibly put women at further disadvantage.”

    • When you are pregnant – it is no longer just YOUR body – it is also the home of your BABY’s body! – God says to treat your body like a temple – when you have an abortion – not only are you destroying your temple, but that of another human being’s -“your” little innocent human being. Well technically – REALLY destroying it!
      – Can’t ever imagine a good enough reason to murder your own flesh & blood – (unless of course it was your “women’s right”) or perhaps hardship, career, freedom, happiness etc. because yes, you are right murder is essential for the protection of your non discriminatory rights!!!! Just read that line a couple of times – wow – I just can’t wrap my head around that concept! Guess Ronald Reagan was right …”the only people not concerned with abortion are still alive”.

      • I would add to this that when you get a girl pregnant, your life is no longer your own. You are a father. From what I’ve seen the number one decider in the question of abortion is usually the behavior of the baby’s father.

      • “you are right murder is essential for the protection of your non discriminatory rights!!”

        Not my rights. Men have the rights they need where I live.

        • I think you’re either a lost soul or an agitator. Whatever it may be – I truly do feel sorry for you – your line of thinking & justifications on the abhorrent ending of a human life are so harsh & matter of fact. It’s painful to hear your explanations & your use of the word “murder” be so light & easy… Just like your talking about the beautiful blue sky – yeah, murder, no biggie…I wish you well – take care!

          • I was quoting you. You used the word “murder”, not me. Murder is the illegal taking of a life. To use the word to describe the legal taking of a life would be like saying I am speeding going 50 wher the speed limit is 60. If going 50 is legal, it’s not speeding even if you think I am going too fast. If the speed limit is 40 then I am speeding. If an abortion is done illegally then you can call it murder.

            • Nope. Murder is killing an innocent person. To try to excuse that by citing statute is pure verbal bombast. Legislative bodies could pass laws saying there is life on Mars or rescinding the law of gravity, but that would not put life on Mars or stop objects from falling. Statutory law does not change reality.

              • You can say abortion is murder or you can say abortion should be murder. In the first case you are absolutely right where abortion is illegal. And, by definition, you are technically incorrect where the abortion is legal. You can still be right if you say the latter. But you could also be wrong there as well.

                If I kill someone in my car, I may or may not have murdered them. You can’t call me a murderer without knowing whether or not I meet that criteria.

                • You’re going in circles.

                  There is no legal fiction in American law that an unborn child is not human. The Supreme Court made the idiotic statement in Roe that they would not address the issue of when life begins, which was their way of avoiding addressing whether or not the unborn child is a human being. They did not say that the child is not a human being; merely that they weren’t going to rule on that question.

                  What they did do was create a legal structure that allows the wholesale killing with impunity of a entire class of innocent people. That is what you are defending by trying to claim that, since the murder of a whole class of people is currently “legal” it must not, in fact, be the killing of a whole class of human beings, ergo, it is not murder, but some sort of “right” to deliberately kill people at will — and for money, I might add, but killing innocent people — at least these innocent people — is not murder because the law says it’s not, even though we are deliberately killing innocent people, but the the law …

                  It’s not murder, you say, because the law says it’s not murder. It is murder, but it’s not murder because murder is a matter of law and not fact. It is not murder because the person who is dead was not a human being. They are not a human being because the Supreme Court sidestepped the issue of their humanity when it ruled that it was ok to kill them. That means it’s not murder because murder is a legal term and it does not apply to the deliberate killing of innocent people … IN THIS CASE.

                  And so on

                  And so forth.

                  Your reasoning is completely circular, which is why other commenters are having a problem dealing with it. It doesn’t make sense.

                  Murder is the deliberate killing of an innocent person. Legal fictions do not erase that fact. They merely serve to implicate those who created the fiction in the murders which occur as a result of their actions.

                  You attempt to use death in car wrecks to create a situation in which the deliberate killing of an innocent person is not murder. But your example does not apply. The law judges the DELIBERATE killing of any person with a vehicle as murder. It also holds those who drive a vehicle in such a manner that it is commonly understood to place them in a situation where they are likely to cause a fatal accident — driving under the influence is one, but not the only, example — to be guilty of manslaughter, or in extreme cases, vehicular homicide.

                  In no case does this legal situation apply to the ACCIDENTAL death of a human being, which is universally understood not to be murder.

                  Elective abortion and abortion are not accidents. They are the deliberate killing of an innocent human being. Legal nonsense which sets aside a whole class of human beings and says that their humanity is not a matter of concern under the law are themselves bogus. Again, they do not address the issue of murder by the simplistic nonsense of refusing to address the humanity of the murdered.

                  You are defending murder my friend. You are defending the legal situation we now have where an entire class of human beings are subject to being killed at anytime and for no reason. That does not make killing them something other than murder. It raises it to the level of a vast human rights violation and a crime against humanity.

                  • “but it’s not murder because murder is a legal term”

                    I did not mean to start an argument about semantics. If you want to take a legal term and use it as a moral term, then you can just make a blanket statement that abortion is murder instead your opinion that it should be murder everywhere under all circumstances or whatever limitations you want to place on it such as it shouldn’t be murder if…

                    • Now you’re going incoherent on me.

                      Murder is the deliberate killing of an innocent person. There is nothing arbitrary about that. What is arbitrary is deciding that an entire class of human beings may be murdered with impunity and that this is not murder because there is case law which says it’s not.

                      You can’t defend your position, you know. That’s why you’re having so much trouble here. It is an indefensible the moment that you admit that there is something special about human beings which makes killing them wrong. And if you don’t admit that, you are at the place where we would have, in your own words, “murder everywhere in all circumstances except where you want to place limitations on it.”

                      That is actually your position. Not mine.

        • The only thing the UN is really good for is giving us a place to talk to people we don’t talk to.
          Disclosure, my husband worked for a UN agency for a while. It is a bloated, arrogant waste most of the time filled with people who are very impressed with themselves.
          See Mohammed El-Baradei.
          Very few actually do anything worthwhile.

          • “The only thing the UN is really good for is giving us a place to talk to people we don’t talk to. ”

            But we lose that benefit if it is disbanded.

        • Absolutely. Whenever there is a dispute, the evil countries get to veto any action. It’s supported dictators slavery. Name one thing it’s done that has had a positive, lasting effect in the last thirty years?

    • SclrH, do you have any idea who is on the UN Commission on Women? They are all rabid pro-abort, anti-family and anti-women. But, you probably do know that. They would not even let the Catholic Church have an observer seat, though the Church is one of the foremost protectors of women in the world.
      You probably do know that because you seem to pull out bogus authorities to support your pro-abortion ideas.

    • So your gonna base the right of an innocent human life on what the UN says? Wow! How about adoption? Imagine if you could ask that little baby if he/she would rather live or be done away with – what do you think would be the answer? What if you could explain to the little one all the reasons you can come up with as to why you are about to end their life…I can’t afford you, I want to go to school, I need my freedom etc. you think then maybe, just maybe that baby would say “oh, okay you’re right, go ahead & get rid of me” You think honestly there is justification for any reason? Sorry, but I can’t! If you just stopped for one second – take a breath – & look at everyone around you that you love – maybe a sister, niece or nephew – now imagine them not in your life….that’s abortion – the end of a life! They would not be here & if your mom decided while pregnant with you that it would be “easier” to have an abortion…guess what? You wouldn’t be here either! No one has the right to take a life – I guess at the end of the day it comes down to morals – integrity & doing the right thing – there are options -and that way you are not a Murderer! And if your a man complying with an abortion – an accomplice to murder! & I can’t think of a greater “disadvantage” than a mommy taking the life of her own baby.

      • NOBAMA,

        You are raising an emotional argument and giving the fetus a personality that hasn’t yet been developed. However, unless you are the one in a situation that calls for an abortion, you cannot properly judge that woman’s decision.

  5. Everything on your list of accomplishments are only positive, Rebecca. You were a very busy woman during your years as a state representative. You have a lot to be proud of!

  6. Forgive them Rebecca cause atheist and those who hate you for your stand on abortion honestly can’t accept that abortion is a moral evil act of torture to the countless unborn Children of God… through prayer and the help of science and good government, someday people may come around to accepting that millions of babies each year should be given a chance to live forward… at this time, with the help of others they who hate you make their con science feel good by thinking that if we human animals would supply free UP un limitted abortions on demand then GOD will someday come aroung to accepting that we are not torturing to death GOD children. Who knows eventually they might accept that there really is a yearly impact on God’s invisible angel children who are dying… in time a chance to experience the LOVE of good mothers and fathers and with the help of caring medical professiona joined by society in general God’s Truth might be learned.

    Hey let’s look at the bright side! No woman are suggesting that Abortion should be called a Sacrament of God.

    Relax Rebecca cause I believe that God knows that your soul, spirit and flesh are doing her best and I’m sure that counts for plenty during Advent.

    God Bless

      • You’re welcome Rebecca… I could never over state the importance of you and others protecting the unborn child and I’ll add that Saint Leo the Great had a lot of respect for the unborn child in a woman’s womb… as a matter of fact he called this place the Temple of God who housed and nourished Christ…

        Don’t tell any bodies spiritual reality cells cause nowadays, some might believe me crazy if I said that… I think that in prayer those children aborted get a free pass to paradise with Adam and Eve’ animal friends before they eventually make their way to meeting GOD and His Angels… I also believe that once there, the Love that these unborn children find is enough to forgive all of US (usual sinners) if we simply ask with a sincere heart.

        Hey I hear YA Rebecca! Victor, there’s nothing that our Royal Mother.can’t help us with if we only have a little faith in good “Mothers”.

        YA really think so?…lol

        God Bless

  7. Hi, I’m an atheist, and when it comes to dealing with unplanned pregnancies, my default position is a pro-life one.

    Don’t hold your breath; I’m sure you will be praying for my poor, ashen, shriveled soul by the time you get to end of this post.

    When you terminate a pregnancy, you are also terminating an entire lifetime of possibilities. There is no way to get around this; no matter what arbitrary line we draw, abortion is, and will always be, an attempt to pick the lesser of two evils.

    So, how can you go about reducing abortion? By reducing the demand.

    That means, first and foremost, providing comprehensive sex education and accessible birth control. People will have sex, regardless of any threats, both real and imagined, you level at them.

    That also means creating policies that significantly improve and stabilize the economic conditions for people across the board, to ease the financial burden an unexpected child might bring.

    We should find ways to promote and ease adoption process and not discriminate based on factors like marital status or sexual orientation.

    As a society we should find ways to better interweave parenthood with all aspects of life. “I’m pregnant” should not be a synonym for “my life is over”, “I won’t be able to get an education” or “my career is finished”.

    The biggest problem I have with the typical conservative christian stance on abortion is the lack of consistency. They focus their ire on the women who are in the position of having to make this difficult choice instead of going after the root causes of abortion. Most of the time, I find they do the exact opposite: their policies seem to be tailor made to create as many unwanted pregnancies as possible.

    This inconsistency only serves to make their motives seem shallow, self-serving and narcissistic.

    In the same way women’s rights is not limited to abortion, the abortion issue does not begin and end at the clinic. This is something that permeates our society as a whole.

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