Summary: If abortion has been common throughout human history, why would Christians continue to oppose it? The case for Life.
STOP THE WORLD
As we’ve seen today, Abortion is not new. It may be one of the hottest political topics in this nation for the last 30 years, but it’s not new. For instance, the Roman Empire had elaborate abortion laws, way more liberal than any country in 2004. When we place our current dilemma in historical perspective, we realize abortion spans every century and every culture with techniques ranging from herbally-induced abortions to ancient mechanical devices.
In fact, if you want to expand the issue to simply include unwanted pregnancies, then the scope is even wider historically because all societies have had a desire to be rid of pregnancies at difficult times:
- In ancient Canaan, the practice of child sacrifice was a crude form of abortion, dressing it up in religious ceremony.
- It was also common in ancient societies to simply abandon newborns because people lacked the money or skill to abort the child in-uteri.
- Parents abandoned almost all deformed babies. Many parents abandoned babies if they were poor.
- And most common of all, children were abandoned in the woods or on garbage dumps if they were female. In fact, this practice was still popular in China as late as the 1890’s.
Now, we may not wish to draw parallels between modern abortion and infanticide, but in purpose they are identical: Be rid of unwanted pregnancies. Sometimes for economic reasons, sometimes for religious, sometimes for social reasons, sometimes against public opinion, sometimes with public blessing.
So we may ask the question,
“if abortion is so pervasive, if all societies see the need for it, then why shouldn’t we see it as one of those unpleasant yet necessary parts of being human?”
Well, before we make any judgments about abortion, we need to be honest about where it comes from.
1. CHANGING RELIGIOUS CLIMATE
As humanism becomes the dominant public orthodoxy today, we’re told there is no role for God to play in creation. Chance, random processes are entirely responsible for our creation. Therefore, first conclusion, humans are like all other animals, perhaps a bit smarter, but there is absolutely no intrinsic, special value in human beings.
2. CHANGING SEXUAL MORES
Secondly, related to this, we live in a climate where sexual rules of conduct have changed. Humanism means there is no law giving God at the center, so no ultimate standard or anchor for ethics and that means we make up the rules.
Now, people have always had sexual liaisons outside marriage. But in almost every culture we’ve known this somehow doesn’t meet an IDEAL for sexual expression. However, because of the sexual revolution of the past 30 years, we’ve been saying,
“hey, if we get to make up the rules, why beat ourselves up about sex? We’re just like other animals, we’re sexual beings and we’re going to have sex. So let’s stop feeling guilty about it, let’s take the rules off of it and just do it.”
And “do it” we have, helped immensely by the invention of cheap and easy contraception. But interestingly, pregnancies didn’t stop happening. Less rules, meant more sex and more sex meant more pregnancies and especially more pregnancies that did not take place within marriages.