In an acceptance speech at the annual Golden Globe Awards Jan. 5, actress Michelle Williams credited her success to the “right to choose when to have children and with whom.”
Williams received the award for best performance by an actress in a limited series or TV movie for her role in “Fosse/Verdon,” an FX Network series.
While many users across social media platforms applauded Williams for her speech, some even calling it the “speech of the night,” pro-lifers lamented the culture that celebrates such a choice.
In her speech, Williams focused on women’s ability to choose when “things” happen that they cannot control and implied that she once had an abortion.
“I’ve tried my very best to live a life of my own making,” Williams said, “and not just a series of events that happened to me, but one that I could stand back and look at and recognize my handwriting all over – sometimes messy and scrawling, sometimes careful and precise, – but one that I have carved with my own hand. …
“I know my choices may look different than yours, but thank God or whomever you pray to that we live in a country founded on the principle that I am free to live by my faith and you are free to live by yours,” she continued.
However, pro-life leaders suggested that rather than empower women, abortion actually devalues them.
A Live Action News report stated, “The problem is, Williams’ insistence that she wouldn’t be a successful, award-winning actress without abortion is not only offensive, it’s grossly inaccurate and helps prop up the patriarchy.
“While she’s hardly the first to make this argument, it isn’t any less problematic,” the report continued. “Far from empowering women, using abortion as a tool to advance a career does nothing but hold women back, and allow the current status quo – where a woman is punished for her fertility, essentially for not being a man – to continue.”
Karen Swallow Prior, research professor of English and Christianity and culture at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, said it is important for the church to understand the culture that believes abortion is necessary.
“We live in an abortion-dependent culture,” Prior said. “If the church wants to change this, we need to turn the values that support this culture upside down as well as the laws.”
Krissie Inserra, wife of Dean Inserra, pastor of City Church in Tallahassee, Fla., and contributor to the book Women in Life, compared Williams’ golden, globe-shaped trophy to the golden calf of the Old Testament.
“Ms. Williams was essentially holding a golden calf in her hands while praising her ability to sacrifice her own child(ren) to receive it,” Inserra said. “New wave feminism worships the god of autonomy by literally sacrificing their children on the altar of choice. …
“It is actually crippling to women to make them think that they must lay down the lives of their children in order to achieve the success they desire,” Inserra continued. “Once they have done so, they so often find themselves having gained the world but losing their very soul in the process.”
The devastation in the lives of so many women should motivate the church and pro-life organizations to offer post abortive support, Inserra said.
“When a woman is led to believe that it’s simply a ‘choice,’ much like the choice of what to wear tomorrow, she may not connect her feelings of guilt, shame and loss to her abortion, and thus never seek the complete healing and restoration that only the hope of Jesus Christ can provide,” Inserra explained.
While Williams’ speech may spark frustration and anger, it also should cause hearts and arms to be opened to those who face this decision, Inserra said.
“It’s much more empowering to give life than to take it away,” Inserra said. “We must proclaim the forgiveness of God that is available to those who will seek it.”
Daniel Darling, vice president of communications at the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, agreed with Inserra, noting that believers must seek to convince the culture that unborn babies are full human beings deserving of dignity and respect.
Progress has been made, as seen by the millions of pro-life women who refuse to accept that for women to thrive, babies must not, Darling noted. But there is still work to be done to change the cultural landscape.
“Believers must continue to work in our communities to help women in crisis choose life and find pathways to flourishing,” Darling said.
Prior said in order to change the cultural consensus, those who have chosen life for their children should be acknowledged.
“We need to celebrate all the men and women who have not sacrificed their children, [but have] sacrificed for them,” Prior said.
Inserra said that a baby in the womb is not, in fact, part of a woman’s body, but is another human being with its own blood type, DNA, and other unique features. These facts are undisputable, thanks to modern medicine and technology, and this message must continue to be spoken publicly to drive change.
“We must continue to proclaim … that these unborn babies are created in the image of God and must be protected,” Inserra said.
The worldview displayed by Williams in her speech is similar to that shown in Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s recent annual report, which stated that they are “fighting for a world where every person can access the care they need to live the life they want,” and that their goal with increasing access to abortion is “so that every person can dream beyond what they are told is possible.”
More information on PPFA’s report and pro-life advocates’ response can be found in this article.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Tess Schoonhoven is a staff writer for Baptist Press.)