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Concerned Women Through History: Sanctity of Human Life, Hebrew Midwives, Elizabeth Blackwell, and Sancha Smith

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In celebration of Women’s History Month, we offer a seven-part series, each with a short featurette on one of Concerned Women for America’s (CWA) core issues and three women who champion that cause: one from Scripture, one from history, and one from today. The seven featurettes will cover our core issues: Defense of Family, Sanctity of Human Life, Education, Sexual Exploitation, Religious Liberty, National Sovereignty, and Support for Israel.

The list is by no means exhaustive; and many more women could be added to each category. But even a partial list is meant to inspire us to look up to these women and to honor their excellent achievements, which are too often ignored by the hijacked feminism of today.

One breed of today’s hijacked feminism is the movement for a “women’s strike” this month, a radical protest by women who feel American society has been inherently against them.  These women fail to recognize the brilliant opportunities and blessings of America, and instead harbor bitterness, resentment, and a demand for government dependency.  Women’s History thus becomes a forum for pouting liberalism — for women who focus only on what they don’t have and how they want the government to get it for them.

In one sense, these women are right in that life is not always easy for all women.  But the government is the worst place to turn to solve their problems.  Women need better role models who understand the source and solution to adversity and who ultimately rely on the Lord.  They need to hear examples of Concerned Women Through History, who changed their world for the better — without bitterness, violence, and faulty ideology.

#WomenMakeAmericaWork is a truth that CWA hopes resounds through this Women’s History month and the discussions around the women’s strike.  Rather than walking out on the job, we hope women know their work matters and that they can make a real difference in our nation.  The women in this series, most of whom are from Israel or America, are women who show how their hard work and God’s grace have lifted them up to remarkable and inspiring destinies.

Concerned Women for America is also honored to have our own modern-day “Esthers,” “Ruths,” and “Corrie Ten Booms” in our midst, as leaders in states all across our nation, whom we also wish to extol.

In each Concerned Women Through History Featurette you will find women who, in their time and place, helped spread the message of freedom within God’s design.  We hope you enjoy this conservative woman’s history!

Sanctity of Life

Exodus 1: 15-22a is the story of Shiphrah and Puah, two remarkable women who stood up for the sanctity of life in Biblical times:

“Then the king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, one of whom was named Shiphrah and the other Puah, ‘When you serve as midwife to the Hebrew women and see them on the birthstool, if it is a son, you shall kill him, but if it is a daughter, she shall live.’ But the midwives feared God and did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but let the male children live. So the king of Egypt called the midwives and said to them, ‘Why have you done this, and let the male children live?’ The midwives said to Pharaoh, ‘Because the Hebrew women are not like the Egyptian women, for they are vigorous and give birth before the midwife comes to them.’ So God dealt well with the midwives. And the people multiplied and grew very strong. And because the midwives feared God, he gave them families.”

This stirring account reveals the true bravery and shrewdness of the women.  They were willing to use civil disobedience to carry out God’s will in their vocations instead of bending to the will of an oppressive government.  Regardless of how you feel about their lying, it’s clear that rescuing these precious babies’ lives was pleasing to God, who blessed the midwives with families of their own.  Even though many of the boys would later die at Pharaoh’s hands, they refused to have blood on their own hands.  And one of the boys would survive Pharaoh’s massacre: the little baby Moses.

Imagine if the midwives had killed Moses on the birthstool!

Imagine if they had given in to the male genocide of the time, as many succumb to the female genocide that exists today.  Imagine if they gave in to the government’s laws, the conventional wisdom of the times, the mantra that they must help destroy lives.

But thankfully, many women have a maternal instinct that makes them especially suited to standing up for the unborn. Elizabeth Blackwell also knew instinctually that viewing abortion as a woman’s right went against the very wiring of the female heart. She was “anti-abortion and pro-woman.”  Blackwell became the first female in America to graduate with a medical degree.

Part of the reason she began studying medicine was that the “female physicians” of the time were abortionists, at which she expressed great horror:

“The gross perversion and destruction of motherhood by the abortionist filled me with indignation, and awakened active antagonism. That the honorable term ‘female physician’ should be exclusively applied to those women who carried on this shocking trade seemed to me a horror. It was an utter degradation of what might and should become a noble position for women. … I finally determined to do what I could do ‘to redeem the hells,’ and especially the one form of hell thus forced upon my notice.”

Today, Sancha Smith, the Louisiana state director for CWA, does a superb job living up to the legacy of the Hebrew Midwives and Blackwell.  Her passion for the issue comes from personal experience:

“When I learned that I was pregnant … again, I was horribly disappointed in myself. My grandmother heard the desperation and confusion in my voice and exhorted me saying, ‘If God can hang the sun, the moon, and the stars in the sky, and keep the waters from overtaking the land, surely He can take care of you and your child.’

The Hebrew midwives’ civil disobedience, Elizabeth Blackwell’s trailblazing educational achievements, and Sancha’s decision to choose life all required great courage, trust in God, and a willingness to make personal sacrifice.  But all women received great blessings from God, their courageous Witness, reminding us that God’s promises are what sustain our fight for life today.