By Debi Vandenboom
This week, I was glued to my television watching CSPAN as the Senate Judiciary Committee held 4 days of hearings related to the confirmation of Judge Amy Coney Barrett. As most of you know, Judge Barrett, from the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, has been nominated by President Trump to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court left by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Her nomination and the subsequent hearings have been a huge news story, mostly for the wrong reasons. There are some who would like to cloud her nomination by claiming that it is illegitimate for a whole host of reasons. None of them hold any merit. Senator Ted Cruz has a great historical breakdown explaining why for anyone wanting more information. The real reasons for the drama surrounding her nomination are entirely political and ideological. Justice Ginsburg was a far-left leaning pro-abortion Justice. Judge Barrett is a pro-life conservative, who is an originalist and a textualist.
CSPAN is exactly as captivating as it sounds, but I jokingly told someone this week that I needed to find an ACB foam finger, like the ones you see at sports events. There have been many Supreme Court Justice confirmations in my lifetime, and while I’ve followed the process, I’ve never done so to this level. I don’t know if I can adequately express the impact that this nomination has had on me, but it’s not for the reason you might think. It’s no secret that I am staunchly pro-life and have a couple of decades worth of pro-life research, legislative and political advocacy, and real-life volunteer work helping women. I absolutely believe that abortion is the greatest human rights abuse of our generation, that abortion harms women and that I will see the end of Roe v Wade in my lifetime. But that is not why the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett is so momentous, at least not entirely.
I was born in 1969, right at the height of the sexual revolution and only a couple of years before Roe v Wade and Doe v Bolton, decided on the same day, legalized abortion on demand for any reason at any stage of pregnancy across the US. My generation of women, and every generation that has followed was subtly, and often not so subtly, told by society that we should want commitment free, anything goes sex, that children are a stumbling block to our dreams and goals, that stay-at-home moms are less valuable than women who choose full-time careers, that large families are an oddity, that living by Biblical beliefs is backward, that femininity is a weakness, and that in order to be equal, women must be like men. All of this is a lie. And in one fell swoop, Amy Coney Barrett has exposed this lie and tossed it on its head. It’s a beautiful thing. Obviously, I don’t know her personally, and I’m certainly not idolizing her. She is as human as the rest of us. But in her, I see a woman with whom I can identify. The hardened women in vagina costumes bashing all men and screaming vulgarities certainly don’t speak for me, or for any of the women I know. The elitist, condescending female politicians and talking heads demanding “reproductive justice” and mocking Christianity certainly don’t speak for me either.
On day three of the hearings, Senator Lindsey Graham observed that conservatives of color and conservative women are marginalized in America. I agree. Our voices are actively silenced by big tech and our very existence is ignored by the media. Senator Graham said that instead of a glass ceiling, there's been a "reinforced concrete barrier" around conservative women. The day before, Senator Marsha Blackburn declared that her colleagues on the left do not believe that all women "deserve a seat at the table", borrowing from a famous Justice Ginsburg quote. They believe that only certain women, those who espouse the liberal narrative, deserve that voice. As a pro-life, female conservative, I, and others like me, have been accused of hating women, of betraying our gender, and of not caring about children. In speaking up for the cause of life, I have been cursed at, threatened, and called vile names. Yet, I know that I am not a rarity. We are in every town, raising our families, volunteering at our churches and our children's schools, and we run and staff most of the pregnancy care centers, food banks, domestic violence shelters, and foster care groups across America.
As I said, I don't know Judge Barrett personally. I’m not Catholic. I’m not a judge or a lawyer. I certainly don’t equate her obviously staggering intellect with my own. But when I watch Amy Coney Barrett, it feels familiar. She is so much more like me and like the women in my life than those who claim to speak for all of womankind. She has had a brilliant career and is well respected by her peers. Her amazing, articulate responses to questioning during the hearings, all without any notes, was unbelievably impressive. However, two things about her are also abundantly clear. First, it is apparent that her remarkable career has not swallowed up her entire life. As I watch her rattling off details of constitutional jurisprudence, it is not hard to also picture her sitting in church with her family or baking cookies with her kids. Her identity is clearly not found solely in her career. She very obviously and very naturally also carries the identities of wife, mother and follower of Christ. Second, she exudes confidence, joy, and a variety of other fruits of the Spirit and Proverbs 31 qualities. She seems genuinely content with her faith, her marriage, her seven children, including two adopted and one special needs child, and happy with her life in general. She represents what the feminist movement should have been striving for all along. The original feminist movement, before it was hijacked by the lie of the abortion movement and the sexual revolution, knew that virtue, femininity, and motherhood are strengths, not weaknesses.
Being equal doesn’t mean that we need to be like men. Being equal doesn’t mean that we must choose between our hopes and dreams and the very lives of our children. We can embrace who God created us to be, whether that is a childless woman with enormous career ambitions, a homeschooling stay-at-home mom with a brood of children, or anything in between. I, for one, will be cheering on Amy Coney Barrett as she goes through the confirmation process and cheering on all the other amazing women out there. Let us continue to encourage, to pray for, and to reach out to those who have bought the well-packaged lies. Let us strive, like Amy Coney Barrett, to leave a beautiful, healthy and godly legacy for our daughters and the next generations of young women to follow.