It is difficult to present a meaningful argument to many women of why religious freedom has a greater value and moral weight than the right to force employers to provide abortions or abortive contraception. The connection of a war on women to Hobby Lobby and other smaller corporations’ right to follow their conscience is hard to grasp. The women who use abortive contraceptives do not view it as a moral issue. They want a financial benefit, which can be provided by other institutions or means. For them, their financial benefit outweighs a person or group’s conscience. It is hard to grasp how the “right to choose” trumps religiously formed beliefs. I guess most of the women claiming their rights have not read or do not value the first Amendment to the Constitution, although if government took away their right to free speech, to assemble or freedom of the press, they might rethink their position.
I have made a great effort to understand the women’s viewpoint who see the right to free contraception on a higher level of value than religious freedom and a morally informed conscience. My conclusion is that they cannot see the difference between moral choices and practical ones. They are motivated by self-interest and do not understand that religious people are motivated by a desire to obey God and His moral laws. People of faith put God and others above their own self-interest.
I believe that the women pushing for their rights and self-interest believe that they are righteous and are doing the right thing. They are just lacking important knowledge about the history of human rights, which reveals the source of inalienable rights. After the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century, people became more aware of human rights. Luther’s teaching on the priesthood of all believers fed into other philosophical ideas about the importance of each individual. As a result of these “new” ideas, also influenced by ancient Greek philosophers, our Founding Fathers derived the understanding that “all men” (meaning all humans) are “endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, among which are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
In America, we concluded that God guaranteed our rights and, without God, our rights could be taken away by a dictator or even a representative, democratic government. This was one of the universal principles America held that opened up freedom and equality to people throughout the world; it was one of the American contributions that made us see ourselves as “exceptional.”
Now, let us look at the “right to choose” to have an abortion. Is it one of those rights established and endowed by God? It is unlikely. Our Declaration of Independence makes “life” a God-given right. Even if someone does not think a fetus is alive, the God who guarantees the rights established in our Constitution says in the Bible that “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you.” That means that God has a purpose and plan for every fertilized egg. Therefore, “the right to choose” an abortion is a manmade right based upon self-interest, not a right guaranteed by the Creator.
Of course, we can continue down the road to ignore God-given rights in order to serve self-interest, but it will end badly. We will be without universal absolutes that provide structure and stability in a chaotic world. Self-interest unchecked will lead to persecution of others’ rights by those who have power. Eventually, even those women who are demanding their manmade rights will lose other, more essential rights. Their right to freedom of speech, of assembly, of the press, habeas corpus, due process, etc. will be lost. Then, they will wonder how they lost those rights, and probably not understand that their selfish demands to ignore God-given rights led to their own downfall and the downfall of inalienable rights in America.