C: YouTube screengrab via E! News

Rihanna on pregnancy: “You’re creating this person, a life”

Barbadian pop star Rihanna sent the internet abuzz earlier this month when she announced she was expecting her first child. The 34-year-old has been candid in sharing her pregnancy with fans and has attracted huge attention for ‘pushing the boundaries of maternity style’ with glamorous outfits showing off her baby bump.

The singer and Fenty Beauty mogul has made no secret of the fact she is thoroughly enjoying and fully embracing her pregnancy – and has now opened up about the ‘beauty’ of pregnancy owing to the miracle of prenatal development. 

Comments she made in conversation with a reporter at a red-carpet event last week sounded overtly pro-life, despite the fact she has been a vocal advocate of abortion in the US. In January 2017, following the inauguration of former US president Donald Trump, the performer participated in the 2017 Women’s March, which has a strong focus on ‘protecting reproductive rights’, most importantly, access to legal abortion without limit across the states,

In 2019, when Alabama enacted a Heartbeat bill (fetal pain bill) aimed at outlawing abortions as soon as the embryonic or fetal heartbeat is detected, abortion activists took aim at the law as fierce debate raged across the US and across the world. Pro-life advocates of course argue that the law has its basis in science and ethics. According to The Lozier Institute, science demonstrates the baby is already a complex human being” with the unborn child’s heart rate sitting at approximately 98 beats per minute by six weeks gestation. 

However, Rihanna, one of the world’s most followed people on social media, was stinging in her criticism of the law. Taking to her Instagram in January 2019, she told her 122 million followers that the lawmakers who introduced the science-backed law were “idiots” in a scathing denouncement of the heartbeat bill. 

“SHAME ON YOU!” the furious star wrote, alongside a photo of the 25 all-male Republicans who signed the bill into law. 

While the statement attracted huge attention, some did take the time to point out that Roe v Wade, the legal decision that made abortion legal across the US on 22 January 1973, was a decision also made by an all-male panel. Seven men on the US Supreme Court ruled to strike down state bans on abortion in more than 30 states. 

Moreover, the all-male decision, made before the development on ultrasound technology – often referred to as the ‘window to the womb’ – legalised abortion in all 9 months of pregnancy, for any given reason, across the United States.

Rihanna’s comments about her own pregnancy stand out in sharp contrast to the remarks she made in 2019 and the persistent support she has shown for permissive abortion legislation. 

Sharing about the ‘beauty’ of pregnancy on the red carpet, the 34-year-old told a reporter she felt beautiful – and that the beauty she felt came from the inside-out; from knowing that her body was miraculously creating ‘a person, a life’. “I do feel very beautiful. It’s from inside, you know? Like all these changes that your body [is] going through is for […] you’re creating this person, a life,” she said.

Rihanna also shared her amazement at what her body and her developing baby inside are doing week in and week out, adding that her pregnancy has taught her that God doesn’t make mistakes. She shared: “Even when I’m reading all the apps, and I’m finding out what my body’s doing, or what the baby’s doing this week, it freaks me out, like God really does not make a mistake. Everything is for a reason. I’m enjoying it and I’m appreciating everything.”

Credit: Students for Life via Instagram (via Refinery 29 on TikTok)

Rihanna’s comments illuminating the miracle of new human life should be welcomed, in spite of her advocacy for abortion. Because whilst the celebration of unborn life is in obvious conflict with support for the ending of other unborn lives – at the same gestation, with the same inherent dignity, value and God-given worth – through abortion, she does highlight some important issues. 

Her comments expose the huge, tragic contradiction at the heart of our relativistic culture; a culture, a society and a moral landscape that tells us there cannot be a differentiation between black and white; fact and fiction; right and wrong. The message that so many people embrace today, including of course here in Ireland where we ourselves heralded in an abortion law that has destroyed thousands of unborn lives, is that what may not be okay for you is perfectly fine – even a good, positive, sensible step – for someone else. 

There’s a real sense of laziness and an inherent selfishness at the heart of a modern culture and a moral relativism that prioritises self; that wants the best for self, but is willing to settle for less than others. We need to care more, and we need to be better than this. In terms of abortion, we are willing to tell women that their problem is not our problem – that we’re actually not willing to support them or advocate for better for themselves, for their families, and of course, for their own innocent baby who deserves to be in the world.

We do not want the hassle of showing women that there is another option – that God has a plan, that their baby does deserve to be in the world, and can be loved beyond measure, whether that be through parenting or adoption. 

Rihanna’s comments are positive in the sense that they candidly, albeit unintentionally, highlight the awe and wonder of new life, and the purpose God has for every baby and every one of us from the moment we are conceived. But of course, her remarks are also tinged with unintentional contradiction because the celebration and appreciation of pregnancy, of new life, is something every woman deserves to feel, regardless of whether that baby is necessarily wanted or not. Every baby deserves to be protected and to feel that love. 

Rihanna is right about one thing at least – God doesn’t make mistakes. The much-celebrated star’s excitement and jubilation at the prospect of a perfect new life coming into the world runs completely counter to the abortion industry’s business of the destruction of the unborn, as well as the harm abortion inflicts on parents, who, more than we realise, face the heartbreak of abortion regret after making a decision motivated by one of the most human and unsurmountable emotions of all – fear. 

The contradiction is a given, but we should allow Rihanna’s remarks to serve as a powerful reminder that unborn babies are, in every case, so precious, so wanted and so worthy, especially in the eyes of God – regardless of what popular culture or celebrities tell us from one day to the next. There is also a sure reminder in her words that there is so much work to be done to soften hearts; to change minds about the human dignity of unborn children; and to help every woman embrace life, even, and especially, in the most difficult of circumstances – when popular opinion, others, and society as a whole is most likely to turn its back.

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