Is Christmas about Reproductive Rights?
I thought Christmas would be a good day to talk about the "forced childbirth movement." People who participate in forced childbirth organizing donâ€™t like to talk about it that way, preferring innocent terms like â€œpro-life,â€ but they care about as much about peopleâ€™s lives as they do about social justice.* Proponents of forced childbirth insist that women are baby-making machines, that sex is only for making babies, and nothing can interfere with this. Birth control of no kind is permissible because sex is not to be done for purposes of pleasure or mere intimacy. If you play with fire, bitch, you better be prepared to take the punishment.
Members of the forced childbirth movement frequently cite Mary, the New Testament mother of Jesus, as the role model for all women. I could not agree more, although it is because I think that Mary is actually the perfect symbol for reproductive freedom. Basically, you can look at her story in two ways, and either way, there is some level of reproductive choice involved.
Interpretation 1: God thinks about who should bear His progeny. He could have chosen any number of quality, virtuous virgins, but He deliberately selects Mary, in part because he knew that she would agree to the plan. There was no coercion involved here. God didnâ€™t want to knock up someone who would not be cool with dealing with an unexpected child.
Interpretation 2: God chose Mary and sent the angel Gabriel to tell her. Mary asked how this would happen, and Gabriel told her, "The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee and the power of the most high shall overshadow thee." Mary then said: "Let it be done according to Thy will." Iâ€™m directly quoting the Anglican Parish of Camp Hill with Norman Park, part of the Diocese of Brisbane, Australia on this next part: â€œThis one simple action of saying "Yes" to God changed everything. Mary became the mother of the Lord.â€ Mary made a choice. In her case, she said sheâ€™d be willing to have a child that she didnâ€™t plan, but it was still her choice.
So this Christmas, I am making the (blasphemous to some) argument that if Mary was allowed to make a choice as to whether sheâ€™d be willing to carry Godâ€™s baby to term, all women are allowed to determine what is best for themselves. No one has the right to force any woman to bear a child. Even God abided by that principle, and if it is good enough for God, it should be good enough for his people.
Here's hoping that one day, everyone can autonomously enjoy the holidays.
*Meaning: some of the members of this movement really do try and make the world a better place, like the anti-choice liberation theologists, but most just like punishing women for daring to have sex and then reminding the resulting kids what worthless trash they are since they came out of sin by denying them health care, quality education, decent places to live, and adequate food.
A longer version of this essay appears at Suzanne's other blog, Campaign for Unshaved Snatch (CUSS) & Other Rants