The Dutch government is funding a global movement to fill the gap left by the US withdrawing federal money for international abortions. So far the She Decides initiative has engaged ten nations to pledge $200M to cover the $600M shortfall over the next four years due to the executive order signed by President Trump also known as the Mexico City policy.
Facebook CEO Sheryl Sandberg gave $1 million to Planned Parenthood to personally cover the cost of the lost aid, according to an exclusive report by Refinery29, and confirmed by USA Today. The news of Sandberg’s decision has me reflecting on the 70’s equivalent of her 2013 magnum opus on female empowerment, Lean In.
My generation’s version of Leaning In meant Having It All. I had come a long way, baby, career, husband, family, and success. In truth, my male-dominated workforce resembled the Anchorman cast and I, the Christina Applegate bravely walked the line, matching wits with the worst of them. But in my own fashion, I leaned all the way in.
So I know firsthand the futility of Sandberg’s philanthropy.
Sandberg wrote on Facebook that she is working to prevent abortion. But funding Planned Parenthood to prevent abortion is like giving to bullies to prevent bullying. It sounds good on paper, but you quickly become the engine driving the problem. Because Planned Parenthood provides abortion. They could resolve the fight over funding today by ending abortions and truly dedicating their efforts to non-violent family planning.
And even as she leans in to public health policy, Sandberg ignores basic biology. She wrote:
“Women’s rights are human rights – and there is no more basic right than health care. Women around the world deserve our support.”
Sandberg assumes children in utero are not human. Medical science disagrees; embryology teaches us life begins at conception. The truth is human rights should come equally to all humans by virtue of our shared human nature, or there is no basis for equal rights at all. There is no more basic right than the right to not have your life taken from you by abortion.
So how do we resolve the dilemma at the heart of our shared concern for pregnant women, and preventing pregnancy, in the developing world? We say things like this:
Women have a right to education and knowledge about their bodies and regulating their fertility. Pregnant women, their families, and their developing children around the world deserve our support.
The backstory of my abortion is now very public. You can read how utterly miserable that choice made the sweetness of success and how bitter and toxic it was to know that the shiny bright career had happened at the expense of the life of an innocent child. Back then, as now, it wasn’t the secret that crushed my spirit, it was the sin I couldn’t keep secret from myself: I protected my life by shedding the innocent blood of my child.
Violence lies at the heart of even the least invasive abortion. As noted feminist Camile Paglia has said
“. . . I have always frankly admitted that abortion is murder, the extermination of the powerless by the powerful.”
Abortion cannot empower. The warning still stands that,
“Unless the Lord builds the house, the laborers work in vain.”
Psalm 127 goes on to say that children are a heritage from the Lord, a reward. Yet all these years later, the abortionist are still fear-mongering, telling young women motherhood threatens our Good Life, enticing young women to lean into the lie that our children are not only not children, but not even members of the human family at all. They say you’re free to do violence to their tiny bodies and souls without cost (except the pieces of silver the abortionists pocket).
Why not encourage young women to self-respect and the dignity of marriage and motherhood. The public health advantages are limitless. Children and career and the exercise of female power are not mutually exclusive. There are great organizations working to prevent abortion and provide non-violent family planning worldwide (see here and here and here). I hope and pray that Sanders and her fans will repent–change their minds–and lean in the direction of life and not death.