He responded that women's rights here in America are different from other places in the world.
He was absolutely right, and that was in large part what I meant. I referenced places like the Middle East, Central America and even India.
But I had misgivings that I did not clarify my original strong statement on "women's rights". It occurred to me that in the western world, that so often means supporting abortion and contraceptive rights. It also sometimes means one is a feminist.
I am not a feminist. I believe very definitely in the equality of the sexes, in their complementary characteristics, but I do not believe women should want to be like men.
Abortion I find to be an unequivocal evil. I am not dim-sighted. I know there are myriad reasons in our culture why women choose or are pressured into such a terrible decision, but it does not change the basic nature of the procedure - to destroy life. Nevertheless, I thank God for groups like Tears Speak, but Spirits Soar in which women who have experienced the soul-deadening aftermath of abortion can find solace and support from fellow women who know just what they have gone through and why they did it.
Contraceptive rights are very complicated, but though I can understand the impulse to rely blindly on them, I firmly believe our reliance on artificial methods of family planning do far more harm than good for society and for women particularly. My church says they are in fact wrong, and I must agree.
So what do I mean when I speak so fervently about women's rights?
Primarily, I mean the right for women in every nation to decide their own destiny. I mean the right for a young girl to choose not to be married to an older man at far too young of an age. I mean the right for women to be freely involved in society - in its governmental bodies and business and every place in it that they can attain by exercising their intellect, will, and acumen. I mean the absolute right of women to equal education and opportunity. I mean the right of women not to be treated as property or as sexual objects. I mean, most devoutly, the right of women and girls not to be molested or raped by their classmates at college, their superiors in the military, occupying troops or any male - ever.
If a woman wants to be a mother above all else, staying home and dedicating all her knowledge and heart to her family, may God bless her endeavors. If a woman wants to charge the corporate ladder or start her own business and gradually outrank the competition, may God bless her efforts. If a woman wants to never marry and dedicate her life to the poor, the physically or mentally challenged, or to the cause of rescuing other women from hell, may God guide her.
Women's rights are about basic human rights: the right to life, liberty, and the beautiful and challenging pursuit of happiness.
We deserve and should always demand love, respect and opportunity.