Editorial: The speech Michelle Williams could have given

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Michelle Williams

It was lauded as “powerful,” “moving” and the expression of a “crucial truth,” but, in reality, Michelle Williams’ pro-abortion acceptance speech during the 2020 Golden Globes on Jan. 5, the feast of the Epiphany, was none of those things.

It was, simply put, a tragedy. A tragedy for herself. A tragedy for viewers. A tragedy for humanity.

The problems with Williams’ assertions are so numerous that it’s difficult to know where to begin. Holding her newly acquired Golden Globe award for best actress in a limited-run TV series, Williams, who is pregnant, expressed her gratitude not to the screenwriter, producer or director, but for living during “a moment in our society where choice exists.” That’s because, she continued, “as women and as girls, things can happen to our bodies that are not our choice.”

Williams went on to say that she wouldn’t have been on that stage, accepting that award, if she herself hadn’t had an abortion — though she didn’t say the actual word.

“I wouldn’t have been able to do this without employing a woman’s right to choose — to choose when to have my children and with whom — when I felt supported and able to balance our lives, knowing, as all mothers know, that the scales must and will tip towards our children,” she said with a silver tongue and what was later described by adulatory media as a “sweet smile.”

Williams “shouted” her abortion with pride, advancing a wholly misguided movement that claims to celebrate bravery and choice, but which in reality only serves as a warped kind of public justification for committing an unthinkable act. “Abortions are nothing to be ashamed of,” the liars proclaim as the devil whispers in their ear. “My choices are right because they are mine, and nothing else matters but me.”

Williams’ pride and gratitude, however, is terribly and heartbreakingly misplaced. Had she offered her child a mother’s love rather than a death sentence, just imagine what kind of speech she could have given. Perhaps one that proclaimed how, while unexpected consequences aren’t always welcome, our character and mettle is forged through how we respond to them? Perhaps one that explored how women have allowed themselves to buy into the lie that they can’t handle unexpected things — yes, even major things — that come their way? Perhaps one that clarified that it’s the worst kind of feminism that asserts that a woman’s unplanned pregnancy will only lead to dashed dreams? Or perhaps one that passionately articulated how, spurred on by self-sacrifice, the love for and of a child, and the nobility of character that flows from a decision that prioritizes life and other, this was just one of many Golden Globes — or, dare we say it, even Academy Awards — that she was accepting as a result?

Yes, these are the performances that Williams could have given that would have earned herself a much more satisfying award. These are the speeches she could have given. But her choices got in the way.

Williams’ final plea — really the politically charged thrust of her speech — was to women ahead of November’s general election, imploring them to vote in their “own self-interest.” But, as people of faith know, as people of life know, as people who have suffered abortions, regretted them and found healing know, women’s “self-interest” does not have any room for abortion.

What is in a woman’s self interest, rather, is true freedom — the freedom that is found in the emptying of one’s self for another and, in doing so, for God.

Yes, our society values choice. But it is not abortion that should be the celebrated, sought and protected choice. Rather, it is the choice of sacrifice over accolades, the choice of love over selfishness, the choice of life over death. These are what set us free, and we know this because it is what Jesus Christ chose for us.

If only Michelle Williams had given a speech about that.

Our Sunday Visitor Editorial Board: Gretchen R. Crowe, Scott P. Richert, Scott Warden, York Young

Our Sunday Visitor Editorial Board

The Our Sunday Visitor Editorial Board consists of Father Patrick Briscoe, O.P., Gretchen R. Crowe, Matthew Kirby, Scott P. Richert and York Young.