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Mutually Exclusive

At the University of San Diego School of Medicine’s graduation, Dr. Laura B. Vater, gave a commencement address part of which is spreading across social media as a rebuke to Harrison Butker’s controversial graduation speech a few weeks ago at Benedictine College. In her speech, she said, “I’m sure many of you are aware of a recent commencement address that suggested a woman’s greatest value to society was to forego a career and stay at home. I can say without hesitation, women, you can be great mothers and have successful careers too. These are not mutually exclusive.” And, predictably, the audience broke out in approving applause.


That is a statement that I whole-heartedly agree with, and I believe Harrison Butker would agree with it as well. In his supposed controversial address, he said, “How many of you [women] are sitting here now about to cross this stage and are thinking about all the promotions and titles you are going to get in your career? Some of you may go on to lead successful careers in the world, but I would venture to guess that the majority of you are most excited about your marriage and the children you will bring into this world.” He was acknowledging that the women in the audience would have successful careers and also cherish their role as a wife and mother. So, Dr Vater statement was not really a rebuke of Butker’s speech at all.


What Dr. Vater’s statement did rebuke is one of the biggest arguments that feminists have put forth over the last 50 years to justify a women’s right to an abortion. Their argument goes something like this, if a woman does not have the right to have an abortion than she will not be able to achieve her career dreams and aspirations. It will be like living in a prison.


Former President Barack Obama summed up the argument like this when talking about raising his daughters, “I've got two daughters. 9 years old and 6 years old. I am going to teach them first of all about values and morals. But if they make a mistake [get pregnant], I don't want them punished with a baby." He is claiming that becoming a mother would be a punishment to their lives and their careers, so they need the right to have an abortion. So, Obama believes his daughters should not get punished for their “mistake”, their baby should be punished with death.


After the 2022 Supreme Court Dobbs ruling which overturned Roe v Wade, in an effort to prove how vital it is for women to be able to kill their own babies, celebrity women from many different high-profile professions gave personal testimonies about how having an abortion in their lives was instrumental to their career success.


Musician Stevie Nicks said, "If I had not had that abortion, I'm pretty sure there would have been no Fleetwood Mac. There's just no way that I could have had a child then, working as hard as we worked.” So, according to Stevie Nicks, women cannot be a successful musician and a mother. It had nothing to do with how being a mother would have forced her to forego the after parties and the free sex and drug lifestyle of a musician.



Actress Joan Collins revealed that she had an abortion in her 20s and said, "I had an abortion. It [having a baby] would have been the death of my career.”


Actress Jemima Kirke choose to have an abortion in 2007 at age 22 because she did not want to "put a child or myself through a lifetime of that chaos. I wasn't sure that I wanted to be attached to this person for the rest of my life. My life was just not conducive to raising a happy, healthy child. So, I decided to get an abortion." According to these actresses, women cannot be a successful actress and be a mother. It had nothing to do with how being a mother would have caused them to curtail their Hollywood social lifestyle. It was only about their careers.


Tennis player Billie Jean King wrote about the reasons for her decision to have an abortion in 1971, "I became pregnant. It was unexpected. I was 27 years old and the top-ranked women's tennis player in the world." So, I guess Billie Jean believes that women cannot be a successful athlete and be a mother.


Actress and activist Rose McGowan said this about her abortion, "I am not ashamed, nor should you be… I realized I could not bring a child into my world and simultaneously change the world.” So, Rose believes that going to protests and making political statement on X are much more important than bringing a new life into the world.


Activist Gloria Steinem made this seemingly contradictory assessment of her abortion, " I knew it [having an abortion] was the first time I had taken responsibility for my own life. I wasn't going to let things happen to me. I was going to direct my life, and therefore it felt positive." In an Orwellian way, she was claiming that shirking the responsibility of motherhood was actually taking responsibility for her own life.


When the people on the left are promoting abortion, they paint a picture that when a woman gets pregnant and has a baby, then her life ends, she cannot achieve her dreams. She cannot be both a successful mother and career person. But if someone responds to that by saying that a mother should therefore prioritize her family over her career, they call that person a misogynist. They can’t have it both ways. They can’t say that a woman can be a great mother and have a successful career, and then say the reason why abortion must be legal is because women can’t be a mother and have a career.


Can women be great mothers and have a successful career? The answer from the left depends on the context of the political question. If they are trying to attack traditional family values, then the answer is an unequivocal, yes. If they are trying to legalize a woman’s right to slaughter her own baby, the answer is a resounding, no.


And for those who say that women can be a great mother and have a successful career but they should have the right to slaughter their baby because they alone should choose the most conducive time when they have their children, then they should simply admit what we all knew all along – 99% of abortions are about convenience and not necessity. Babies don’t prevent women from realizing their professional dreams and ambitions, having a baby merely limits how many parties and one night stands they can have in your 20’s.


For the record, I believe that women can have a successful career and be a great mother, but they can’t be a great mother if they decide to kill their own babies. That act most definitely disqualifies them from the title of “great mother”. Having an abortion and being a great mother are mutually exclusive.

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J Garrett is a graduate of Princeton University. He has been a contributor to the website Real Clear Politics. He has recently published his first novel, No Wind.

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Judd Garrett is a former NFL player, coach and executive. He is a frequent contributer to the website Real Clear Politics, and has recently published his first novel, No Wind

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