It seems to me that Mother’s Day is an appropriate time to talk about abortion (at least, that’s when I started writing this blog). We honor our mothers because they bore us for nine months, brought us into this world, nurtured us, trained us, disciplined us, and loved us unselfishly. On this day, I say, “Mom, I love you! You have been a magnificent mother! You have imparted wisdom, encouraged me to be strong in the faith, and prayed for me diligently—especially that I would marry a wonderful, godly woman (your prayers have been answered far beyond what you ever dreamt, Mom!).”
I wish that all mothers were half as good as my own mother or my children’s mother. The most horrific tragedy in America is that since Roe v. Wade over 58 million babies have been aborted in the United States. Statistics on women through the age of 45 are shocking: three in ten of them have had an abortion. This is nearly ten times the number of deaths that occurred in the Nazi gas chambers, and is almost equal to all the deaths that occurred during WWII. In the next few years, we will pass the statistic of the carnage of that most unspeakable war of all time.
What seems to be really tragic is that the one person who, by her very nature, is designed to be a giving, nurturing, unconditionally loving individual (have you ever heard someone say, “Only a face a father could love!”) is a mother. Thirty percent of them are going against their own natural inclination by aborting their children.
Now, this blog could be a rant against the women who have had an abortion. Some may think I’ve already done that. But that’s not the focus of this piece. A surprisingly high number of women who have had an abortion simply don’t know the facts. They need to be loved, counseled, and gently guided—not hated! Instead, I want to offer two theses that seem to me are not normally part of the discussion about abortion.
Thesis 1: Abortions Contradict the Physician’s Basic Principles
“First, do no harm” has been claimed as a part of the Hippocratic Oath for a long time. Actually, Hippocrates did not quite say this in his Oath, but he did make the promise “to abstain from doing harm.” What is not well known is that the Hippocratic Oath also specifically spoke against abortion: “I will give no sort of medicine to any pregnant woman, with a view to destroying the child.”
Almost thirty years ago, I witnessed a debate between Kerby Anderson (now president of Probe Ministries) and one of the most notorious abortion doctors in Arkansas. The debate was held on the campus of the University of Arkansas. Kerby, who has degrees in zoology, science, and bioethics, used one basic argument that blind-sided the physician. Rather than use the Bible at all in his argument, he argued from the physician’s handbook: “First, do no harm.” His basic thesis was that a physician is required to save life, not destroy it. As the moment when a zygote is considered a human being was (and is) being hotly debated, Kerby pointed out that physicians are required to give the benefit of the doubt to life.
The physician began to throw out pages and pages of notes that he was going to use in the debate—all presumably against a would-be Bible-thumper. But Kerby argued instead from the realm that the physician knew well.
One of the great ironies of our time is that so many physicians are calloused to this basic principle. What did it take for them to decide to perform abortions? During WWII, the Nazis began to kill Jews and other undesirables by firing squads. But the soldiers soon chafed at the horror of what they were doing. A new plan needed to be into place. Doctors were brought in. They started by giving these undesirables lethal injections. They were required to wear their white gowns, and do the job in an antiseptic environment that resembled a medical clinic. This was intended both to make the ‘patients’ less suspicious and to ease the conscience of the physicians. Also, the propaganda machine of the Nazis went all out to speak of the Jews as a “cancer” on Europe that needed to be cut out. This change in the method of execution worked to some degree, because the government knew that physicians would be naturally reticent to murder. The question I have is, What has happened in the years since WWII that has created an environment in which physicians who perform abortions no longer need to pretend that their actions are some sort of noble act—as that which cuts out a ‘cancer’ to save the mother’s life? The collective moral compass in western society seems to have broken.
Thesis 2: Abortions Empower Men, not Women
The main thesis of this blog—and the one that is hinted at in the title—is that abortions empower men, not women. In many respects, it has actually shackled women. The cliché, “Why buy the cow when you can get milk for free?” has been mothers’ advice to their daughters for years against premarital sex. Those with the Y chromosome know this adage instinctively. But until Roe v. Wade, there was always a second argument: “You don’t want to get pregnant before you’re married!” That second argument kept many girls from going all the way before their wedding day. With improved birth control methods, things changed. But even if such were not used, or if they didn’t do their job, after Roe v. Wade the second argument has become increasingly muted. Girls began to think that if they got pregnant they could just have an abortion. Problem solved. Or so it seemed.
Upon closer reflection, the sexual revolution and Roe v. Wade have put in bold relief mothers’ first argument—“Why buy the cow when you can get milk for free?” More than any technological advance, the Supreme Court’s pronouncement has granted men greater freedom to use women as they saw fit. If their girlfriend gets pregnant, the mantra now is, “Just get an abortion!” Rather than abortion being pro-choice for women, it is really con-responsibility for men. The pressure to have sex before marriage—which almost always comes from the guy rather than the girl—has gained incredible momentum since 1973. In short, Ladies, you’ve been duped! The dissolution of a man’s responsibility hardly translates into greater freedom for you. You’ve been used. And you need to stand up and say, “No more!” Your dignity as a human being depends on it.
For further reading:
Randy Alcorn, Pro-Life Answers to Pro-Choice Arguments Expanded & Updated (Multnomah Books, 2000)
The first review of this book on Amazon is written by “Groovy Vegan”—a woman who descries herself as “a non-Christian, non-religious, feminist liberal.” Her praise of the book shows that Alcorn uses science, rather than the Bible, as his principal argument. It’s a good read for anyone who is considering having an abortion.
Randy Alcorn, Why Pro-Life? Caring for the Unborn and Their Mothers, revised edition (Hendrickson, 2012)
Scott Klusendorf, The Case for Life: Equipping Christians to Engage the Culture (Crossway, 2009)
Peter Kreeft, The Unaborted Socrates: A Dramatic Debate on the Issues Surrounding Abortion (IVP, 1983)