Jobs Versus Babies

A scientist I'll call Janet was on the tenure track at a prestigious women's college when she learned she was pregnant. Janet knew the school had never awarded tenure in the hard sciences to a married woman, let alone one with children. So Janet thought she faced a choice between her career or her child. She chose her career: The child was aborted. What a tragic choice! But, sadly, not an unusual case these days. As Frederica Mathewes-Green reports in her new book, Real Choices, America's cultural elite pummels women with propaganda that a career is the highest goal in life. This pressure has fueled an ever greater demand for abortion. It's significant that women didn't experience such pressure until recent times. Can you remember the "tune-in, drop-out" generation of the sixties? Millions of young Americans said they rejected materialism. To them, putting a job or money ahead of people was worse than immoral: It wasn't "groovy." But only a few years later, the feminist movement urged women to throw away their love beads and buy power suits and pearls. Earning an MBA and climbing the corporate ladder were heralded as a woman's first right—and obligation. And what about kids? Either don't have them, or put them in day care, these feminists declared. And so the notion of careerism was born. One of its main tenets is that "important people" wear suits and make money. Women who stay home and raise children are dismissed as dolts. How does careerism create a demand for abortion? Well, if earning a degree or promotion is the most important goal in a woman's life, then a child is a hindrance, not a joy. After all, even the proverbial Superwoman has a hard time juggling diapers and Dow Jones reports. And so today if a pregnancy is unexpected, the woman's employer—and even her family and friends—virtually expect her to "do the sensible thing" and abort her child. This is the subtle pressure that is deadly for babies. And for women, too. Ironically, having an abortion doesn't even boost a woman's career. A recent study of professional women finds that childless women don't earn more money over the years than women who put their career on hold to raise children. In Real Choices Mathewes-Green argues that Christians who want to at least lower the abortion rate must understand these social factors that drive women to abortion clinics. Then, and only then, can we offset those pressures with real solutions—not just protests. One remarkable woman who understands this is Mary Cunningham Agee, founder of the Nurturing Network. Her organization helps people most at risk of abortion: single women in their late teens to early twenties who are planning a career. The Nurturing Network works with colleges and employers willing to offer women the encouragement to continue a problematic pregnancy. Christians need to be involved in movements like this and let others know of them. For you can help professional women like Janet—women who mistakenly think they have to choose between their career and their child.


Chuck Colson


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