abortion pros and cons

Abortion and Religion

Abortion pros and cons


Four Menaces to Society, by Earl Gosnell
Part 4, Abortion and Religion Type Issues
abortion and religion sign

We are continuing our examination of (Prov. 30:21-23) "For three things the earth is disquieted, and for four which it cannot bear: For a servant when he reigneth; and a fool when he is filled with meat; For an odious woman when she is married; and an handmaid that is heir to her mistress," and are now on the last part, "an handmaid that is heir to her mistress." In the normal course of affairs it would be the family as heirs, not the servants, and this displacement of the domestic sphere by the economic in the lives of women, according to the proverb, will stress out society. Let us see how that may have developed in our modern society.
Our ancient ancestors ... had hunting involv[ing] intensely athletic episodes and the females of the group — nearly always pregnant or nursing — had to be left behind. This meant that the group had to ... establish a fixed home base where the males could return after the hunt. The females could carry out the less strenuous food-gathering near this home base. ...

As a result of this divided labour system, the male body became more and more specialized as a running, jumping, and throwing machine, while the females became improved breeding machines. ...

These features explain why male and female events at modern athletic meetings have to be kept separate. The best female athletes selected from the whole world population are unable to match the running speeds or the jumping distances of the best males. In the general population, however, there is a certain amount of overlap. If the hundred strongest individuals were selected from a random group made up of one hundred males and one hundred females, the probabilities are that the selected group would consist of ninety-three males and seven females.

... The modern male has stopped prey-hunting and the modern female has drastically reduced her breeding burden. The world is overcrowded and urbanized, and the pressures that originally made men and women split into hunting-humans and breeding-humans are gone. Social adjustments will have to be made to accommodate the new situation.

—Desmond Morris, Manwatching151
We have a new situation.

The division of labor is a hallmark of human social life. Sex and age are universally used to assign different economic tasks. In preindustrial societies, men carry out activities that require greater strength. Their monopoly over the weapons of the hunt probably related to their role as combatants in warfare. Women in preindustrial societies specialize in tasks centered on food gathering and child care. The infrastructural basis for this widespread sexual division of labor, however, ceases to exist in industrial societies.

... Changes can [further] be related to the hyperindustrial mode of production. The trend away from factory employment required and facilitated the call-up of female labor previously locked up in child care; concurrently the premium placed on education for employment in nonmanufacturing jobs, together with the increase in the "opportunity costs" of pregnancy and parenting (that is, the amount of income forgone when women stop working to bear and raise children), inflated the costs of rearing children, weakened the marriage bond, depressed the fertility rate, and furthered the separation of the reproductive from the hedonistic components of sexuality. ...

Why did U.S. women respond in such large numbers to the service and information call-up? Ironically their primary motivation was to strengthen the traditional multi-child, male breadwinner family in the face of rising costs of food, housing, and education. ...

The feminization of the work force, mediated by declining fertility, higher divorce rates, and the demise if the male breadwinner family, is implicated in the separation of the reproductive from the hedonistic aspects of sexuality. The marital and procreative imperative of Victorian and early twentieth-century times, which stated that all sex was to take place within marriage and that all sex within marriage was to lead to reproduction, cannot appeal to men and women who are either not married or who, if married, are not having children.

—Marvin Harris, Culture, People, Nature152

This changing role of sexuality went hand-in-glove with economic role opportunities for women.

Women in Politics and Society

—J. M. Roberts, A History of Europe153
For a long time, the politicization of women and even their successful political attacks on the legal and institutional structures which were felt by them to be oppressive, did less for most women than did other changes. Three were of slowly growing but, eventually, gigantic importance in undermining the fixity of tradition. The first was the growth and elaboration of the advanced industrial economy. By 1914 this had already in some countries created great numbers of new women's jobs—as typists, secretaries, telephone operators, factory hands, department store assistants and teachers. Almost none of them had existed a century earlier. They brought a huge practical shift of economic power to women: if they could earn their own living, they were entering a road which would eventually lead to new family structures, new social roles. Paradoxically, the demands of warfare in the industrial societies of the twentieth century would accelerate this advance as the need for labour opened an even wider range of occupations to them. For growing numbers of girls and women, even by 1900, a job in industry or commerce already meant a degree of liberation from parental regulation and a chance to escape the trap of married drudgery. Most women did not so benefit by 1914, but a cumulative process was at work, because such developments would stimulate other demands, for example, for education and professional training.

Contraception was the second great force transforming women's lives. It, too, was far from showing its full potential by 1914, and perhaps even further from doing so than were the new employment possibilities. It had nonetheless already begun to affect European demography. What lay ahead was a revolution in outlook as more women absorbed the idea that they might control the demands of childbearing and rearing which hitherto had throughout history dominated and structured the lives of their sex; beyond that lay an even deeper change, only beginning to emerge in 1914, as a few women came to see that they could pursue sexual satisfaction without necessarily entering the obligation of lifelong marriage.

To the third great tendency moving women imperceptibly but irresistibly towards liberation from ancient ways and assumptions it is much harder to give an identifying single name, but if one force governs it, it is technology. The general tendency of many innovations, some already accumulating slowly for decades before 1900, was to cut into the iron timetables of domestic routine and drudgery, and was to continue after that date in a swelling flood. The coming of piped water, or of gas for heating and lighting, had been among the first examples; electricity's cleanliness and flexibility had even more obvious effects. Better shops were the advance guard of mutations in retail distribution which not only gave a notion of luxury to people other than the rich, but also made it easier to meet household needs. Imported food, better processed and preserved, slowly changed family catering routines once based—as they still are today often based in Asia or Africa— on daily (or twice or thrice daily) visits to the market. The world of detergents and easily cleaned artificial fibres still lay ahead in 1900, but soap and washing soda were by then easily and cheaply available, while the first domestic machines—gas cookers, vacuum cleaners, washing machines—were appearing, at least in the homes of the rich. Historians who would recognize at once the importance of the introduction of the stirrup or lathe in earlier times have largely neglected the cumulative influences of such humble agencies. They implied a revolution. It is more understandable that their long-term implications interested fewer people at the beginning of this [20th] century than the antics of 'suffragettes', as women who sought to vote were called in England. One immediate stimulus to their often violent activity was the evident democratizing of political institutions for the benefit of more men. This was the background which their campaign presupposed. Logically, there were indeed grounds for pursuing democracy across the boundaries of sex even if this meant doubling the size of electorates.

Changing Role of Women

—Gerhard Lenski & Jean Lenski, Human Societies154
One of the major consequences of the decline in the birthrate has been the emancipation of women from many of the restrictions previously imposed on them by their sex. Before the discovery of modern methods of contraception, most married women were destined to spend the prime years of their lives bearing children, nursing them, caring for them when they were sick and dying, rearing them if they survived, doing domestic chores, tending a garden, and often helping in the fields. It is hardly surprising, therefore, that women seldom played significant roles outside the home or made outstanding contributions to the arts.

When technological advance opened up the possibility of limiting family size by preventing conception, women from the upper and upper-middle classes were the first to take advantage of it. They were prepared to do so not only by their wealth and education but by a class tradition that emphasized leisure as a mark of status. Women from these same classes also provided much of the leadership for the early women's movements, whose initial goals were to obtain some of the rights traditionally reserved for men (e.g., the vote) and to protect working women, then mostly from the lower classes, from some of the more onerous features of employment outside the home (e.g., the 12-hour day.)

The newer women's rights movement, which got under way in the 1960's, picks up where the earlier one left off. It seeks to eliminate the remaining forms of economic inequality between the sexes - unequal pay, unequal access to jobs, and unequal opportunities for promotion. But it goes further: despite substantial differences in the specific goals and methods of its leaders, the basic message of the movement is that women must break out of the restrictive molds in which society casts them.

The restrictive mold is the leaving of inheritance to family; the freedom is to give it to her servant — in the Proverbs scenario — or in our modern context it takes such forms as implementing a nonsexist language instead of the standard one. Maggio:
One of the most rewarding — and, for many people, the most unexpected — side effects of breaking away from traditional, biased language is a dramatic improvement in writing style. By replacing fuzzy, overgeneralized, cliché-ridden words with explicit, active words and by giving concrete examples and anecdotes instead of one-word-fits-all descriptions you can express yourself more dramatically, convincingly, and memorably.
—Rosalie Maggio, The Dictionary of Bias-Free Usage155
Okay, let us take one of her "fuzzy, overgeneralized, cliché-ridden words:"
The word manmade, which seems so indispensable to us, doesn't actually say very much. Does it mean artificial? handmade? synthetic? fabricated? machine-made? custom-made? simulated? plastic? imitation? contrived?156
Now, let's find a "concrete example and anecdote" involving that "fuzzy, overgeneralized, cliché-ridden word." I quote a piece from Paul Newman.
... She has also said, "We at Muzak avoid using ... any ... kind of music for purposes of entertainment. Ours is functional music, sonorous design to humanize man-made environments."

Muzak does indeed avoid using music for entertainment. On the other hand a man-made environment is by definition human: you cannot humanize it.

—Paul Newman, A Civil Tongue157
This is wonderful. The word man-made is so explicit that it cannot carry connotations apart from the word humanize, and it is so active it cannot be further humanized. That is just the word Maggio needs to replace her "fuzzy, overgeneralized, cliché-ridden manmade. Replace manmade with man-made. And for comparison of her 'indispensable words', try Fowler:

nice 3. Meaning. N. has been spoilt like CLEVER, by its bonnes fortunes; it has been too great a favorite with the ladies, who have charmed out of it all its individuality & converted it into a mere diffuser of vague mild agreeableness. Everyone who uses it in its more proper senses, which fill most of the space given to it in any dictionary, & avoids the modern one that tends to oust them all, does a real if small service to the language.
—H. W. Fowler, A Dictionary of Modern English Usage158
A good dictionary159 is a bit of a help, though:
¶ Nice is a counter word indicating mild approval, so general in meaning that it is of little use in writing. The word's former meaning of "exact, precise," as in a nice distinction, is confined to formal writing.
This problem is immediately evident to non-Americans.
Unexpectedly, the first thing I found strange, even bizarre, was the use and abuse of the word nice, both in formal conversations and in colloquial language. I participated in the following dialogue at a family party on Thanksgiving Day:
               "Nice to meet you.  What's your name?"
               "Oh, nice!  Do you have a family?"
               "Yes, I have two children. ..."
               "Very nice!  Do you like America?"
               "Yes, but ..."
               "That's very nice!  Do you like our weather?"
               "It's a little cold for me. ..."
               "But today is a nice day!  By the way, did you watch
          the football game last night?"
               "I did, but I don't understand American football. ..."
               "Oh, it's a pretty nice sport!"

     Some hours later:

               "Bye-bye, Francisco.  It was nice to meet you.  ...
          Have a nice stay in the States."
In fact, the abuse of the word nice shocks the hearing of an attentive interlocutor and of the visitor who is interested in dominating the meandering of North American language. Either a certain mental laziness exists that generates a simplification of the linguistic process of communication, or the English language does not have the vocabulary and the semantic richness to avoid abusive repetitions. "Pretty nice" and "It's nice to be nice" are expressions that capture the extreme of what I am referring to.
—Francisco Martins Ramos, University of Évora, Portugal "My American Glasses"160
Before the feminists tackle overused words foisted on us by men, I believe they have some reckoning of their own to do, 'the ladies, who have charmed out of it all its individuality & converted it into a mere diffuser of vague mild agreeableness.' It is a case of first casting out the beam from thine own eye before attempting to remove the mote from thy brother's. A lot that is manmade is nice in the correct sense of the term. Using it that way might cause an appreciation for the inventions that ease the burdens of the workplace enough to put women on a near equal footing with men.

The basic accomplishment of the women's rights movement has been the enormous extension of the range of choice for women. Ideology has played a part in this, chiefly by making women more aware of the new possibilities open to them and motivating them to work to take advantage of them. But the dominant role has clearly been played by technological advance. Without modern techniques of contraception, and without modern machine technology, most women would still be confined to the nursery and the kitchen.
—Gerhard Lenski & Jean Lenski, Human Societies161
Now, let us take some examples and anecdotes to try out man-made: Muzak isn't entertainment; it humanizes the man-made environment. That is as expressive as, Birds don't sing dance tunes; rather, bird song naturalizes the Creation. Or, how about, Gender in speech is not about politics; rather it spices up our conversations. Yes, if conversational content of gender were a big political statement we would sooner or later get jaded.
It is a sad thing about the advocacy literature of all minority groups. It bores the hell out of the general public. No matter how worthy the cause, the tedium is built in. You can sympathize, and deeply, with the harassment of homosexuals in our society, and still wince that these victims should choose to call themselves "gay." You can know that women get a terrible shake in the economic world, and still think Kate Millett and Germaine Greer and the like are 18-carat exploiters.
—Charles McCabe, Tall Girls Are Grateful162
You can love Casey at the bat and still watch him strike out.
Without being a natural object itself, language is still an energy of groups of living beings working through their institutions. Doubtless irrational as well as rational factors — hopes, fears, prejudices, and the like — are involved, both of individuals and of communities, and the psychologist and anthropologist are now attempting to understand, from their own standpoint, linguistic behavior with the same detachment as a linguist does, or as they treat other human behavior, and even with the same detachment as a biologist would regard his specimens.
Prof. Joshua Whatmough, Language: A Modern Synthesis163

We need to look at women's workplace demands rationally.
Crucial to the sexual constitution of employment is that, in one way or another, it assures that over the whole society, class by class, most men will make more money than most women. Above an absolute minimum that varies from country to country, pay and poverty are relative. What matters most for men, what pay is most importantly relative to, is women. A man who does not make as much money as the relevant women in his life or class, or his place of work, will often abandon his job and will pursue his women chiefly in the predatory masculine spirit that the feminists so understandably deplore.

The feminist contention that women do not generally receive equal pay for equal work, correct in statistical terms, may in part reflect a preference for male need and aggressiveness over female credentials. But in essence, the additional pay is part of a tacit social contract by which men are induced to repress antisocial patterns. On the immediate and superficial level, justice and efficiency — so stressed by the feminists — have little to do with it.

Of course, efficiency will be considered. To make the pay differentials too great would cause serious distortions. The marketplace must ultimately prevail. But a marginal bias in favor of men in the labor force will best promote economic and social order. It can be asserted with the greatest confidence that a modern society that did not socialize its males would be neither efficient, nor tolerable for women. ...

The reasons for unequal pay thus are numerous:

  1. the need for male social initiative;
  2. the need to give men a way to counterbalance female sexual superiority;
  3. the need to give money a positive effect on family creation and maintenance;
  4. the social need to induce men to follow careers and validate sexual identity in a socially affirmative way;
  5. the greater propensity of males to spend their money on the opposite sex;
  6. the greater social damage inflicted by unemployed males;
  7. the greater psychological dependency of males on their jobs;
  8. the indispensability of the alternative woman's role of socializing males and raising children.

As a general rule, relative female affluence has a negative effect in each of these areas. It retards social initiatives, enhances female dominance, deters family creation and maintenance, and subverts constructive male sexual expression. The money tends to cluster around the woman rather than support a couple. Her economic superiority undermines the sexual constitution and causes social breakdowns.

It should not be surprising therefore that men are paid more than women in virtually every economically successful society in the world. It is surprising that American men so thoroughly support the demand of the women's movement for a major governmental drive to achieve genuinely equal pay for equal or comparable work. For under current conditions of sexual disorder, this "reform" would promote most of the goals of the "extremists" — particularly the dissolution of the nuclear family.

—George F. Gilder, Sexual Suicide164

One of the most unfortunate ways modern woman's economic concerns overrule her concerns for family is what she may do about an unwanted pregnancy. Freedom of choice, right? A woman has the right to do as she pleases to her own body. Of course, not! And yet, for all its moral certainty, the right-to-life contingent has not prevailed, not for all its effort. I am reminded of high school wrestling matches where this one fellow's mother would root for her son telling her boy, "Don't muscle him!" What did she mean by that?

One night I found myself in the wrong part of town way later than it was safe to be out and about, and a punk kid found some pretext to beat up on me and told me he was going to do just that. I just kept walking down the street. He asked me why I wasn't running away. When I was younger, I might have, but in a test of endurance, he would probably prevail and then beat me up, so why give him the satisfaction of the chase?

folkdance line Well, he lined me up just right and connected with a flying karate kick to my torso. A solid connection transferring his momentum to me, which would lay out the best of them, and if I did not have an excellent sense of balance from folk-dancing every week for years and years, I would have lost it too; it was all I could do to keep my feet under me, and then barely. It is not good to go down.

With time I learned a few defensive tactics. For example, it is better if the victim in a brawl does not fall down (lean against a wall, if possible). For if you are prostrate, your attacker can employ his feet as well.
—Erich Segal, Acts of Faith165
Standing to fight did not seem a good option either. I mean, once when a drunk was jerking me around, I had used a half remembered wrestling hold to pin him until he calmed down, but it didn't seem to be a good idea here even though my opponent was considerably shorter than me. In fact it was most likely his continuous feelings of inferiority because he was short, that motivated him to practice the martial arts until he could confidently take on a tall guy, and then look for his opportunity and then he found me. His kick to my upper torso seemed to confirm that deep down it was my height that bothered him.

I simply shrugged it off — "What's your trip?" — and went walking down the street like I was leading a men's line at folk dance. It was largely a matter of demeanor, which couldn't be faked, and he responded by following right in line as he had been used to being subordinate to tall men all his life. Then he would start to lose it and taunt me, but then go right back to his position, a very conflicted young man.

I noticed in his taunts that they all seemed to employ the concept of space. That and the fact that his first move required a good running start made me guess that in a nervous situation like fighting with an unknown opponent, he was most comfortable doing it with lots of room as he'd practiced in his dojo. I found just what I needed, a narrow alley which I turned into and he did not follow. Confined spaces with an unknown opponent just weren't his cup of tea.

I later discussed this incident with a couple of experts in martial arts, and their take on it seems applicable to the struggle against freedom of choice for abortions. Their first comment was that this fellow had violated the first rule of martial arts: it is not supposed to be used for aggression. Now, if you think about a pregnant woman, nature did not design her to kill her unborn baby. Taking such an aggressive action throws off her whole design just as using martial arts for unprovoked aggression is contrary to its purpose.

Their second comment was that the high kick the fellow used is not the best fighting move; it just looks good in the movies. If you think about the freedom-of-choice demonstrations, they are very showy but they lack the sophisticated reasoning found in, say, Catholic literature on the subject.

What sort of surprised me was that these experts who pooh-poohed the fancy kick held a high opinion of dancing, which experience gave me the balance to manage his assault. They said that fighting is a dance. Dance ability tends to get underestimated in this context.

I had put the tray on the table, and whisked off the covers. Somehow, I'd expected anyone as delicate as a ballet dancer, even an ex-one, to recoil at the sight of chips and corned beef and rice pudding. But no. I reminded myself that ballet dancers had to be all muscle and flexibility, and were probably as tough as all-in wrestlers. She laughed, seeing my expression.

"As recently as six months ago I was touring with Konrad. Things could be pretty rough around the clubs."

—Roger Ormerod, More Dead Than Alive166
Maybe we Christians need to take dancing a little more seriously. I went to a meeting of some Baptists on campus once. They decided to do some dancing, and we joined up in a circle to do some Israeli folk dance. Perfectly good activity.
Dancing ... is ... an institution which is so universal, and which has so many good points in its favor. As a means of exercise,, relaxation, and self expression dancing has had a legitimate place in the rites, customs, and ceremonies of all races from the beginning of time. Folk dances, the old fashioned square dances, quadrilles, and the minuet instilled ideas of respect, modesty, decency and courtesy into the hearts of men and women. They developed grace, self control and beauty.
—B. G. Jefferis, M.D., Ph.D. & J. L. Nichols, A.M., Safe Counsel167
Then I went to another meeting on campus, some Indian (Native American) advocacy deal. Anyway, this Indian was talking about traveling all around the continent trying to unite various Indian groups. Seems one of the problems he had was determining if a group is really Indian, they have become so intermingled. This one group in Central America, he was not sure about until he asked them if they danced, because all Indians dance. They said, sure, and a fellow started strumming a guitar and a couple got up and danced. They were in. But then a lot of people dance.
Birds do it, bees do it, all human beings do it. We don't necessarily touch while we're doing it, but all living things dance. Whether it's out of instinct, ritual, celebration, or recreation, dance is a universal form of communication.
—Karen Lustgarten, Touch Dancing168
I would have expected a young people's group to be doing the partner dancing and the Indians in a circle, not vice versa, but you learn something new every day. But Indians are expected to be dancers, and Christians expressing their abundant life like children who do it spontaneously too.

It was helpful that I was not thrown off balance in the fight, although I almost was, and it would be necessary to maintain one's balance in the debate defending right to life, not always easy to do. Let us look at some of it.

A good place to start would be to look at a scripture not about abortion per se, but it does deal with a lost fetus. (Ex. 21:22-25) "If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart from her, and yet no mischief follow: he shall be surely punished, according as the woman's husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine. And if any mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life, Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, Burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe." In the Old Testament Law, it was an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, which would apply to the mischief of injuries sustained from the fight. But instead of life for life applying directly to the lost fruit of the womb, this is mediated by the husband and regulated by the judges. It may well have something to do with (Eccl. 11:5) "As thou knowest not what is the way of the spirit, nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child: even so thou knowest not the works of God who maketh all." Consider please that different societies may have different levels of understanding about the mystery in the womb, and one society may not justly be judged by another's standards, whence the judge within the society to rule on it. This point is best demonstrated by example.

The ways in which pregnancies could be terminated in the early modern period needs to be understood with reference to contemporary ways of diagnosing pregnancy. Women frequently missed their period. Thi was generally considered to be a serious condition that did not necessarily, however, point to pregnancy. The symptoms for a pregnancy were very similar to illnesses like dropsy, growths and the assumed stagnation of the blood. "Clogged", unmenstruated blood was understood to be impure, blocking the bodily functions and impeding the circulation of inner fluids; the "purging" remedies needed to restore the "flow" consisted of herbs that were also used to induce abortions.

... In Germany, aborting a "living" child had been made a capital crime in 1532, while the punishment for aborting an un-souled embryo was discretionary. The expression "living child" was deliberately imprecise, but it referred legally either to the moment when a foetus acquired a soul or to its quickening during the fourth month of pregnancy. For aborting a "living child" the imperial law code of Charles V prescribed decapitation for men and death by drowning (or other forms of death) for women. However, since abortion was difficult to detect, and because it was virtually impossible to prove that a woman had knowingly intended to terminate her pregnancy, very few women were accused of abortion as a major crime. ...

In the early modern period most women believed that a child acquired life when it "quickened" and the mother felt its movements. Of course many earlier signs were understood to indicate pregnancy: the loss of periods, a swelling belly, vomiting, loss of appetite, tiredness, moodiness, swollen breasts, and whitish urine with a hint of blue in it. But even Christoph Völter, the author of the first handbook for Württemberg midwives that listed all these indicators, had to admit in 1664 that these signs were difficult to discern in most women before the child quickened. Dropsy in young people was easily misdiagnosed as a pregnancy and vice versa. Also, if nature had been "confused" after conception, a "mole" (mola or Mondkalb) might develop. Then a woman would show the symptoms of pregnancy until her belly firmed up in the third or fourth month and the "mole" was emitted as a "flow of blood." It was due to such circumstances, Völter lamented, that "honourable virgins" were sometimes suspected of "losing their honour", while "lewd" pregnant "wenches" successfully pretended they were only ill. Six years earlier, the deliberate hiding of a pregnancy had been made a criminal offence in Württemberg, despite the fact that the charge could not be proven. The statute was largely a symbolic affirmation that the state was determined to intervene in matters of fertility control. ...

Court records had therefore consistently to engage with women's subjective interpretations of physical symptoms and their causes. In 1680, for example, a mother in Erdmannshausen near Marbach denied that her daughter Barbara had kept her pregnancy secret. She had admittedly worried that Barbara's belly was "clogged up" and that she might "die from it, like Kappen's daughter", but it was far from clear that she might be pregnant. Barbara had not had her period for four years. Moreover, after the mayor's son had raped her, her belly had swelled up, but her breasts had not. And when the mayor's wife had examined her belly, she did not think Barbara was pregnant. It was only to bring the stagnant blood back into flow that Barbara and her mother had gathered purgative herbs in the forest. These caused Barbara suddenly to give birth to a child, which soon died. Similarly, when Anna Maria Hamberger had missed her period in 1673, she took a herb called penny royal because she felt something "tearing" in her back rather than in her belly. Her mistress bought crushed laurel in the pharmacy, mixed it with another herb, and gave the mixture to Anna, once with water, once with saffron and wine. "All this", they emphasized, had been done "to provoke her monthlies" (weibliche ZeitWe take it for granted today that doctors can, as it were, see inside us or use reliable tests to establish objective physiological facts. We are increasingly inclined to define as "real" what can technically be made visible rather than what we feel. Only a century ago, as Ellen Ross writes of London working-class women, "pregnancies happened to a woman; the mothers were conscious mainly of getting fat and of eventually feeling foetal movements." Now, pregnancy is defined "as something a woman does, a project that requires careful attention to diet, exercise, and the use of medicine, drugs and cigarettes", forcing women to internalize the message that it is their duty to provide a stable foetal environment. So [Barbara] and Anna Maria's stories remind us how bodily experiences like pregnancy have been construed along with definitions of unborn life itself.

—Ulinka Rublack, The public body: policing abortion in early modern Germany169
There is nothing like a little history to put one's own viewpoint into perspective; if the judge gets to decide some of these matters, that judgment will vary over time and place. I heard a woman call a talk show to comment on their abortion discussion, that it was illegal for a woman to have an abortion unless her life was in jeopardy. The talk show host had to tell her about Roe vs. Wade which she had never heard of. Since from the scripture, the judge enters into it, we will have to look at that rather than simply taking a pre-Roe straightforward approach.

I don't much like it either, but if the Bible puts some considerations in the hands of the judge, then it's like taking a walk real late at night: you might encounter trouble along the way. Roe vs. Wade is like discovering your assailant knows karate: it will not help you any to lose your balance at the first blow. Let us try to familiarize ourselves with it.

Roe v. Wade

410 U.S. 113 (1973)

Mr. Justice Blackmun delivered the opinion of the Court.

It perhaps is not generally appreciated that the restrictive criminal abortion laws in effect in a majority of States today are of relatively recent vintage. Those laws, generally proscribing abortion or its attempt at any time during pregnancy except when necessary to preserve the pregnant woman's life, are not of ancient or even of common-law origin. Instead, they derive from statutory changes effected, for the most part, in the latter half of the 19th century.

—Wallace Mendelson, The American Constitution and the Judicial Process170
Recall, though, that, "In Germany, aborting a 'living' child had been made a capital crime in 1532. For aborting a 'living child' the imperial law code of Charles V prescribed decapitation for men and death by drowning (or other forms of death) for women." Earlier, much earlier, abortion regulation was there, and it was not all that benign. Back to Justice Blackmun:
Three reasons have been advanced to explain historically the enactment of criminal abortion laws in the 19th century and to justify their continued existence.

... [Discouraging promiscuity was considered irrelevant.]

A second reason is concerned with abortion as a medical procedure. When most criminal abortion laws were first enacted, the procedure was a hazardous one for the woman. ...

Modern medical techniques have altered this situation. Appellants and various amici refer to various medical data indicating that abortion in early pregnancy, that is, prior to the end of the first trimester, although not without risk, is now relatively safe. Mortality rates for women undergoing early abortions, where the procedure is legal, appear to be as low as or lower than the rates for normal childbirth. Consequently, any interest of the State in protecting the woman from an inherently hazardous procedure, except when it would be equally dangerous for her to forgo it, has largely disappeared. Of course, important State interests in the area of health and medical standards do remain.


The State does have an important and legitimate interest in preserving and protecting the health of the pregnant woman ... and it has still another important and legitimate interest in protecting the potentiality of human life. These interests are separate and distinct. Each grows in substantiality as the woman approaches term and, at a point during pregnancy, each becomes "compelling."

With respect to the State's important and legitimate interest in the health of the mother, the "compelling" point, in the light of present medical knowledge, is at approximately the end of the first trimester. This is so because of the now-established medical fact, that until the end of the first trimester mortality in abortion may be less than mortality in normal childbirth. It follows that, from and after this point, a State may regulate the abortion procedure to the extent that the regulation reasonably relates to the preservation and protection of maternal health.


This holding, we feel, is consistent with the relative weights of the respective interests involved, with the lessons and examples of medical and legal history, with the lenity of the common law, ...

He was using "lessons and examples of medical and legal history," to show that abortion regulation was to avoid medical problems to the mother, when as a matter of historical fact, "The symptoms for a pregnancy were very similar to illnesses like dropsy, growths and the assumed stagnation of the blood. 'Clogged', unmenstruated blood was understood to be impure, blocking the bodily functions and impeding the circulation of inner fluids; the 'purging' remedies needed to restore the 'flow' consisted of herbs that were also used to induce abortions. ... ¶'All this', they emphasized, had been done 'to provoke her monthlies.'" The law against using a procedure for an abortion which was the same procedure to cure a similar looking illness could not have been intended only to promote the woman's health.

Going back to Justice Blackmun:

The third reason to explain historically the enactment of criminal abortion laws in the 19th century and to justify their continued existence is the State's interest — some phrase it in terms of duty — in protecting prenatal life. Some of the argument for this justification rests on the theory that a new human life is present from the moment of conception. ... In assessing the State's interest, recognition may be given to the less rigid claim that as long as at least potential life is involved, the State may assert interests beyond the protection of the pregnant woman alone.


With respect to the State's important and legitimate interest in potential life, the "compelling" point is at viability. This is so because the fetus then presumably has the capability of meaningful life outside the mother's womb.

There is some concession to the life of an unborn baby, but why not more? Let the judge explain:
The appellee and certain amici argue that the fetus is a "person" within the language and meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment. In support of this, they outline at length and in detail the well- known facts of fetal development. If this suggestion of personhood is established, the appellant's case, of course, collapses, for the fetus' right to life is then guaranteed specifically by the Amendment. ... On the other hand, the appellee conceded on the reargument that no case could be cited that holds that a fetus is a person within the meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment.

The Constitution does not define "person" in so many words. [The opinion here reviews all references to "person" in the Constitution.] But in nearly all these instances, the use of the word is such that it has application only postnatally. None indicates, with any assurance, that it has any possible prenatal application.

All this, together with our observation, that throughout the major portion of the 19th century prevailing legal abortion practices were far freer than they are today, persuades us that the word "person," as used in the Fourteenth Amendment, does not include the unborn. ...

The pregnant woman cannot be isolated in her privacy. She carries an embryo and, later, a fetus, if one accepts the medical definitions of the developing young in the human uterus. ...

Texas urges that, apart from the Fourteenth Amendment, life begins at conception and is present throughout pregnancy, and that, therefore, the State has a compelling interest in protecting that life from and after conception. We need not resolve the difficult question of when life begins. When those trained in the respective disciplines of medicine, philosophy, and theology are unable to arrive at any consensus, the judiciary, at this point in the development of man's knowledge, is not in a position to speculate as to the answer. ...

Texas held the position that life begins at conception, which not every expert agreed with. It has medical/religious/philosophical shortcomings. If life begins at conception, then killing a fertilized human egg would be murder. But some fertilized eggs split to produce twins, triplets, etc., so some of those murders would be multiple or mass murders. Which ones? Furthermore, sometimes a fertilized egg develops into a cyst of random cell makeup with no discernable human form. Is it murder to remove a cyst? Then what about the first cell of that cyst? Or a dyed in the wool philosopher might take it a step further: Suppose a fertilized cell splits in two; one grows into a human child and the other develops into a cyst. We destroy the cyst which has the same genetic makeup as the child. How is that any different from removing a cyst from you or me.

The problem of no consensus probably has something to do with our pluralistic society, but it also goes back to the mysterious process of development in the womb which is God's created way of doing it. The Supreme Court then went to see how person was treated in the constitution. Here we might do well to remind ourselves of our scripture passage at the start. (Ex. 21:22) "If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart from her, and yet no mischief follow: he shall be surely punished, according as the woman's husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine." The woman's husband lays something on him and the fine is determined by the judges. If one man were expecting his sole heir from a woman who had difficulty conceiving and another man already had too many mouths to feed, and both their wives lost their unborn children as a result of a strife, and both their cases came before the same judges, the fines would presumably be different. There the judges took their cue from the husbands of the miscarrying women, and here our judges took their cue from our founding fathers in the way they worded our constitution.

The pertinent wording for this issue is found in the debate surrounding an amendment proposed by Benjamin Franklin but was never added to the Constitution, but we may be instructed by looking at it. They were talking about remuneration for Senators and Representatives. Ben Franklin had the following to say about not making their pay excessive:

There is a natural inclination in mankind to a kingly government. It sometimes relieves them from aristocratic domination. They had rather have one tyrant than 500. … If we do make our posts of honor places of profit, I fear that, though we employ at first a number and not a single person, the number will in time be set aside; it will only nourish the fetus of a king (as the honorable gentleman from Virginia very aptly expressed it), and a king will the sooner be set over us.
—The Writings of Benjamin Franklin171

There the "fetus of a king" is being nourished as "a single person," Benjamin quoting one of the other delegates, "as the honorable gentleman from Virginia very aptly expressed it." Benjamin asked for an amendment to the effect of limiting salaries: "I move the amendment. If it is not seconded or accepted, I must be contented with the satisfaction of having delivered my opinion frankly, and done my duty."171 The pertinent section of the Constitution is Article I, Section 6. "The Senators and Representatives shall receive a Compensation for their Services, to be ascertained by Law, and paid out of the Treasury of the United States." "The Law" is referenced by the Constitution, and that Law is the living, breathing element that is subject to change with the times, providing us some breathing room, as it were. It is only when our society values a lack of covetousness that Franklin's writing comes to the fore, and with it the person­hood of a fetus. Therefore if we pursue "Thou shalt not covet" as a guiding principle in this society, then "Thou shalt not kill" (a fetus) will more or less take care of itself.

Different founders might have produced different results.

It has long been realized that the coexistence in Europe of theocracy, monarchy, autocracy, democracy, and of varied creeds and outlooks prevented the tyranny of any one system and promoted fertile interchange. European civilization owes its supremacy to the fact that it was diversified rather than exclusive. This feature was present at the start, and has dominated its history until the twentieth century.
—L.L. White, The Next Development in Man172

Suppose America had been founded more by Germans and less by English. They incorporated in our constitution some idealistic language about our master race carried in its mothers' wombs destined for its full heritage. Along comes an abortion issue in the twentieth century and the same judges in Roh ws. Vade look at our history back to early modern Germany and at the person status of an unborn child, and we Christians rejoice at their decision as God's instituted authority. As it stands now, we had Mr. Justice Douglas concurring about "freedom of choice in the basic decisions of one's life respecting marriage, divorce, procreation, contraception, and the education and upbringing of children. ... These rights are 'fundamental' ..." I am saying that as awful as it is, we are better off not getting thrown by Roe vs. Wade, and as it came about through an authority ordained by God, we now lack the muscle to pit "right to life" against "freedom of choice" in the legal arena.

The silver lining in the dark cloud is Justice Blackmun:

We do not agree ... that the woman's right is absolute and that she is entitled to terminate her pregnancy at whatever time, in whatever way, and for whatever reason she alone chooses. ... In fact, it is not clear to us [as] asserted by some amici that one has an unlimited right to do with one's body as one pleases. ... The Court has refused to recognize an unlimited right of this kind in the past. Jacobson v. Massachusetts, 197 U.S. 11 (1905) (vaccination); Buck v. Bell, 274 U.S. 200 (1927) (sterilization).
With "freedom of choice" in a stronger legal position than "right to life," our arguments for the latter can cause us to fall flat on our faces.

"That's what they really are, those so-called pro-lifers. They get to make the choice; that's what they want, not to save some fetus. If a woman is raped and they force her to carry that vicious animal's child to term, what is that but more rape? Self-righteous rapists, that's them. All of them."

—Andrew Vachss, Safe House173
The purpose of this paper, this part, is to look at how society gets stressed out by freedom of choice, here where a woman puts, say, her career goals ahead of the interests of the child in her womb, the handmaid being heir to her mistress, so to speak.
Justice Blackmun: Specific and direct harm medically diagnosable even in early pregnancy may be involved. Maternity, or additional offspring, may force upon the woman a distressful life and future. Psychological harm may be imminent. Mental and physical health may be taxed by child care. There is also the distress, for all concerned, associated with the unwanted child, and there is the problem of bringing a child into a family already unable, psychologically and otherwise, to care for it. In other cases, as in this one, the additional difficulties and continuing stigma of unwed motherhood may be involved. All these are factors the woman and her responsible physician necessarily will consider in consultation.

Justice Douglas, concurring: A woman is free to make the basic decisions whether to bear an unwanted child. Elaborate argument is hardly necessary to demonstrate that childbirth may deprive a woman of her preferred lifestyle and force upon her a radically different and undesired future. For example, rejected applicants under the Georgia statute are required to endure the discomforts of pregnancy; to incur the pain, higher mortality rate, and aftereffects of childbirth; to abandon educational plans; to sustain loss of income; to forgo the satisfactions of careers; to tax further mental and physical health in providing child care; and in some cases, to bear the lifelong stigma of unwed motherhood, a badge which may haunt, if not deter, later legitimate family relationships ...
My writing here is not on the whole subject of abortion per se; Right-to-Life groups have done an excellent job of showing the disadvantages of abortion, the above reasons for it notwithstanding. They have plenty of literature showing the detrimental effects of abortions, so I do not intend to duplicate it. I am showing here that the reasons of "to abandon educational plans; to sustain loss of income; to forgo the satisfactions of careers" discouraging a woman from carrying her baby to term, is the same topsy turvy set of values mentioned in the proverb about a woman's handmaid inheriting instead of her family. We are looking at how to reduce such causes of stress, and we are starting by saying that to get thrown off balance by Roe v. Wade is not helpful.

Let us make a couple other points and then we will go on. One way for a potential mother-to-be to get out of her responsibility to carry her baby to term is to deny that it is really a baby. Denial is nothing new.

The best defense against the ascription of responsibility is no doubt to deny that one did anything at all, provided this can be established; successful denial of responsibility in the causal sense at the same time effects an escape from responsibility where this involves blame. Failing this, one can plead that although one did something it was not that. ('I didn't say "You silly old idiot"; I said "Pass the biscuits".'
—Thomas McPherson, Social Responsibility174
"It's not a baby, I'm aborting; it's a fetus, a tissue mass." Before getting lost in semantics, one should realize that baby is the word used after it exits the womb, and fetus the word before it does.
Then a movement began to take place, a quick even movement of the animal's body. I backed up, thinking she might be reviving. But then I realized something far different was going on. The animal was aborting her fetus.

"Roll her on her back," I shouted.

There was a sudden sharp murmur from the crowd; this was turning out to be far more interesting than yet another bargaining session for a dead specimen. The female chimpanzee began to shudder, and a whitish head, slick with black hairs, appeared. In a second it was over. The fetus lay on its side in the dust, and the afterbirth was sliding out. The mother's eyes were still open, looking.

Then I heard it, a thin simian cry. "This thing's alive!" I said. "Kwele, go get a basin of water. You, hunter man, get back." The crowd shoved forward and for a moment I thought the baby would be trampled.

"Back!" I cried.

—Douglas Preston, Jennie175
A second point is that if you are seeking restricted abortion options, outlawing abortion in the case of rape or incest is a somewhat different category than for consensual sex because in the former there was no choice involved, and in a society that appreciates freedom of choice, the restrictions on abortions would be more readily received if it were only for when the woman had a choice in the first place.

Since we are studying a proverb, let us see if there is not another proverb that would help us get out of a tight spot. (Prov. 26:4-5) "Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him. Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit." If we answer the foolish going for abortions with "Thou shalt not kill," there being no law against the abortion, we create such a huge sense of injustice that some of the unstable take matters into their own hands — torching abortion clinics, assassinating abortion doctors, or posting their home addresses on the web — , which the right to life movement cannot completely disassociate itself from, and we end up looking like the one we are rebuking: Thou shalt not kill. I suggest that we not do that but answer according to the commandment: Thou shalt not covet. First of all, covetousness is done secretly just as the development of a fetus is hidden, and secondly, people usually do not kill to retaliate against covetousness. Furthermore, it falls to our mature women to make a difference.

(Titus 2:1,2-5) "But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine: That the aged ... women ... be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed." They are the ones to be teaching the young (pregnant) woman to love the child in her womb. But before the older woman may teach the younger not to be covetous, she must first cast the beam out of her own eye; that is, if she covet's a man's position teaching men, she is not likely to take up her own position teaching younger women.

Rav Luria intoned the prayer in a mighty voice, "Blessed art Thou, O ruler of the world, Who has commanded us to make our sons enter into the covenant of Abraham our father."

There was a sigh of relief, followed by a cheer.

A whimpering Danny was returned to his beaming father.

Rav Luria then called out to everyone to eat, drink, sing, and dance.

Since the Code of Law demands it, the men and women were separated by a partition, but even from her mother's side, Deborah could hear her father's voice above all the others.

When she was old enough to speak full sentences, one of the first things Deborah asked her mother was whether there had been a similar celebration when she was born.

"No, darling," Rachel answered gently. "But that doesn't mean we don't love you just as much."

"But why not?" Deborah persisted.

"I don't know," her mother answered. "That's the way the Father of the Universe ordained it."


When in synagogue, she dared to peek over the curtain fringing the balcony where she sat with her mother and the rest of the women. She would look at the parade of old men and teenage boys called up to read the Torah and ask, "Mama, how come nobody up here ever gets a chance to read?"

And the pious Rachel could only answer, "Ask your father."

She did. At lunch that Sabbath. And the Rav replied indulgently.

"My darling, the Talmud tells us that a woman should not read a Torah portion out of respect for the congregation."

"But what does that mean?" Deborah persisted, genuinely confused.

Her father answered, "Ask your mother."

The only person she could rely on for straight answers was her brother, Danny.

"They told us that if women stood in front of the male worshippers it would confound their minds."

"I don't get it, Danny. Could you give me a for instance?"

"Well," her brother responded uneasily, "y'know. Like Eve when she gave Adam ... you know ..."

"Yes." Deborah was becoming impatient. "That I do know. She made him eat the apple. So what?"

"Well, that sort of gave Adam ideas."

"What kind of ideas?"

"Hey, Deb," Danny apologized, "they haven't told us that yet." To which he added, "But when they do, I promise I'll tell you."

Ever since she could remember, Deborah Luria had wanted the privileges bestowed upon her brother at his circumcision. But as she grew up she was obliged to face the painful fact that she could never serve God to the fullest ... because she had not been born a man.

—Erich Segal, Acts of Faith176

But the woman per Titus who is teaching the younger to love her children must first be teaching her to love her husband, and if she is teaching her how to love her children in the formative stages before birth, then she must first be teaching her how to love her husband in all the courtship stages from the very beginning, long before any marriage. Here she first applies the lessons against covetousness.

(Exodus 20:17) "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's." Here per First Corinthians 7 where the wife has not power over her own body but the husband (and vice versa) the older woman is teaching the younger not to be covetous. That is, her body is her husband's maidservant, so to speak, and "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's [husband's] ... maidservant." Put into the formative stages preceding marriage, remaining chaste, in the arena of just getting acquainted, she allows boys to touch her as in dancing. Of course the lesson works both ways.

This reminded him more of his first dancing lesson, aged thirteen and shy, when he could not bring himself to touch the Arthur Murray lady's waist with more than his fingertips and kept arching his back lest he chance to come in contact with her bosom.
—John R. Maxim, The Shadow Box177
Once she proceeds past that stage and into dating, she learns the lesson (while still being chaste) that her lips are not entirely her own, and she must further not covet her body in this area which is her date's handmaiden. It works both ways.
One evening, as he emerged from a Latin tutorial session with Father Hanrahan, Tim was surprised to find Isabel O'Brien, her hair cut shorter and her figure grown fuller, waiting for him.

"It's dark, Tim," she said in a soft, nervous voice. "Would you mind walking me home?"

He was slightly disoriented, not merely by her request but by the way she was looking at him. He was sure she had some special purpose.

As they walked the first few blocks, it seemed she only wanted to report on his status among the girls in school. But she could not sense how uneasy it made him to hear that the girls thought he was "cute" and one or two actually found him "gorgeous."

Tim did not know how to respond, so after a moment Isabel persisted.

"Who do you like best?" she asked. "I mean, out of all of us?"

"I ... I don't know. I never really sort of thought about it."

"Oh," said Isabel.

Tim was considerably relieved when they reached her front steps. Though it was cold and windy, Isabel did not dash up to the warmth of her home.

Instead, she startled Tim by saying, "It's okay if you want to kiss me. I mean, I won't tell anybody."

Tim lost his breath. He had often fantasized about what it would be like to ... touch some of the girls in class. Yet he was afraid of making a fool of himself. Because he did not know what to do.

Without warning she showed him, pulling down his head and pressing her lips against his.

It was a nice feeling, he admitted to himself. Although she was forcing her warm mouth against his so strongly, she was stirring thoughts in him. Like wanting to see what her breasts felt like. Some of the guys had already boasted of accomplishing such things.

But then he did not want to offend Isabel. After a moment he stepped away and said, "I guess I'll see you in class tomorrow, huh?"

"I guess," she murmured coyly. "Will you walk me home again?"

"Uh ... sure. Maybe next week some time."

—Erich Segal Acts of Faith178
Something is reserved for her husband-to-be in the next stage, but then it is like comparing responsibility here to that towards her child after it has arrived which is beyond our scope. Beyond that lack of covetousness over her body, — her fellow's handmaiden within the bounds of chastity — if she is wisely playing the field, then she needs to learn not to covet all the time of any one boyfriend, but let them all likewise play the field until marriage. Here it is "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's manservant," for that is what these fellows are to the other girls they go out with even though she has claims for part of them too.

After those lessons, she is a popular girl playing the field, and since per First Corinthians 7, mixed marriage is sanctified, then so is mixed dating. If we know that mixed marriage is sanctified, then so must be the preliminary stages like mixed dating, just as knowing that a born human life being sanctified must mean that the as-yet-unborn ones must be sanctified too.

We do not want to minimize conflicts between religions, only ask that they be looked at honestly, which by Paul are seen more of an opportunity for conversion than basis for prohibition. It has to do with one's gift. If a guy wants only to be a preacher and his wife would necessarily be part of his ministry, then in order not to be unequally yoked in Christian ministry, he would have to marry another Christian of similar church background, and so would only go with another Christian in the first place. Another single person anxious to spread the gospel to all his acquaintance could be very happy dating non-Christians and being a witness. And still another with a peculiar family situation might have to avoid marrying, and so dating in the first place, someone from a particular religion. My point is that with proper instruction on how not to be selfish, single Christians can easily get to be popular with the opposite sex, and without some artificial prohibition that Paul never intended, there will be enough of them so gifted to intermingle with the unsaved, playing the field, that Christian morals enter into it, and the boys and girls of the world have some standards set for them, or at the very least some good standards they are competing with, and thus we get to be salt and light to the world.

Once we have this strong influence out there that a woman's body is just not entirely her own, applying it to the case of a child being in her womb is child's play. Just as on the street late at night I could lead my would-be assailant down the street with the confidence born of leading a men's folk dancing line, so may our aged woman influence the younger to love the child in their wombs with a confidence born of teaching the younger women not to be selfish in relations with their fellows preceding marriage. The woman's body is now in part the servant of the child in her womb, and she is not to covet what the fetus requires even though it is her own body. The analogy is that of a landlord renting his premises to a renter who enjoys their use until his lease is up. For that nine month period the fetus gets to use the woman's body, and for her to want her body all to herself is covetousness.

Another analogy is that I should not covet the answers on my neighbor's test paper even though I might say my eyeballs are my own body and I have a right to point them in any direction I want to.

In my late night encounter I was able to lead along a determined and proficient assailant just on the basis of posture, because his overcoming his shortness was what it was all about and I took the conflict to its source. Likewise, a woman's control of her body is what this issue is about, and the aged women following the scripture should be able to exert their proper influence. Using this approach, the fools are not left to be wise in their own conceit, while we Christians have not made ourselves look guilty by the pro-life approach.

Rather than get caught up in questionable, and per this paper stressful, conflicts, we have a scriptural option that amounts to a walk in the park. Don't women teach their children not to fight needlessly?

Before he left, Terry said, "Matty, I don't want you near those kids. If they tease you or try to pick a fight, you walk away or tell the teacher. Okay?"
—Gary Goshgarian, Rough Beast179
Even we men know to walk away from a fight if we can.
"What's rule one, Michael?"

"Walk away. Try to walk away."

"Did you?"

"Moon, I tried."

"Not hard enough. What's rule two?"

"Never ask anyone to step outside."

"That's rule three. Rule two is no lone [wolf] crap if you can help it. Way I heard, there was people in the pizza place who would have backed you."

Michael hesitated, then nodded.

—John R. Maxim, The Shadowbox180

Okay, suppose we have not fallen flat on our faces over right to life, and then we have exercised some control over the issue of hospitality to the fetus in the womb, what next? I needed the dark alley to duck into where my stalker would not go. We would now be in a position of some respect needing only to finish off the issue.

Well, there is an example of God's judgment for covetousness: (Ezek. 16:49) "Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy." Having much and wanting more, neglecting to minister to the needy, yes that is right up the alley of the woman seeking an abortion in order to further her career goals. God does not like that idea. (Wisdom XIX 13-17) "And punishments came upon the sinners not without former signs by the force of thunders: for they suffered justly according to their own wickedness, insomuch as they used a more hard and hateful behaviour toward strangers. For the Sodomites did not receive those, whom they knew not when they came: but these brought friends into bondage, that had well deserved of them. And not only so, but peradventure some respect shall be had of those, because they had used strangers not friendly: but these very grievously afflicted them, whom they had received with feastings, and were already made partakers of the same laws with them. Therefore even with blindness were these stricken, as those were at the doors of the righteous man: when, being compassed about with horrible great darkness, every one sought the passage of his own doors." Likewise, the child in the womb is "partaker of the same laws with them," the laws against covetousness which we are now promoting. The fetus "whom they knew not when they came, [a] friend, had well deserved of them" the nourishment in the womb. It is the threat of "punishments com[ing] upon the sinners ..: for they suffered justly according to their own wickedness, insomuch as they used a more hard and hateful behaviour toward strangers," the new child in the womb, that will discourage the pregnant woman from proceeding with the abortion just as the short guy declined to follow me through the alley.

Let us look at a specific example:

(Jasher XVIII 18-43) And there was a man from the country of Elam who was leisurely going on the road, seated upon his ass, which carried a fine mantle of divers colors, and the mantle was bound with a cord upon the ass. And the man was on his journey passing through the street of Sodom when the sun set in the evening, and he remained there in order to abide during the night, but no one would let him into his house; and at that time there was in Sodom a wicked and mischievous man, one skilful to do evil, and his name was Hedad. And he lifted up his eyes and saw the traveler in the street of the city, and he came to him and said, Whence comest thou and whither dost thou go? And the man said to him, I am traveling from Hebron to Elam where I belong, and as I passed the sun set and no one would suffer me to enter his house, though I had bread and water and also straw and provender for my ass, and am short of nothing. And Hedad answered and said to him, All that thou shalt want shall be supplied by me, but in the street thou shalt not abide all night. And Hedad brought him to his house, and he took off the mantle from the ass with the cord, and brought them to his house, and he gave the ass straw and provender whilst the traveler ate and drank in Hedad's house, and he abode there that night.

And in the morning the traveler rose up early to continue his journey, when Hedad said to him, Wait, comfort thy heart with a morsel of bread and then go, and the man did so; and he remained with him, and they both ate and drank together during the day, when the man rose to go. And Hedad said to him, Behold now the day is declining, thou hadst better remain all night that thy heart may be comforted; and he pressed him so that he tarried there all night, and on the second day he rose up early to go away, when Hedad pressed him, saying, Comfort thy heart with a morsel of bread and then go; and he remained and ate with him also the second day, and then the man rose up to continue his journey.

And Hedad said to him, Behold now the day is declining, remain with me to comfort thy heart and in the morning rise up early and go thy way. And the man would not remain, but rose and saddled his ass, and whilst he was saddling his ass the wife of Hedad said to her husband, Behold this man has remained with us for two days eating and drinking and he has given us nothing, and now shall he go away from us without giving anything? and Hedad said to her, Be silent.

And the man saddled his ass to go, and he asked Hedad to give him the cord and mantle to tie it upon the ass. And Hedad said to him, What sayest thou? And he said to him, That thou my lord shalt give me the cord and the mantle made with divers colors which thou didst conceal with thee in thy house to take care of it. And Hedad answered the man, saying, This is the interpretation of thy dream, the cord which thou didst see, means that thy life will be lengthened out like a cord, and having seen the mantle colored with all sorts of colors, means that thou shalt have a vineyard in which thou wilt plant trees of all fruits.

And the traveler answered, saying, Not so my lord, for I was awake when I gave thee the cord and also a mantle woven with different colors, which thou didst take off the ass to put them by for me; and Hedad answered and said, Surely I have told thee the interpretation of thy dream and it is a good dream, and this is the interpretation thereof. Now the sons of men give me four pieces of silver, which is my charge for interpreting dreams, and of thee only I require three pieces of silver.

And the man was provoked at the words of Hedad, and he cried bitterly, and he brought Hedad to Serak judge of Sodom. And the man laid his cause before Serak the judge, when Hedad replied, saying, It is not so, but thus the matter stands; and the judge said to the traveler, This man Hedad telleth thee truth, for he is famed in the cities for the accurate interpretation of dreams. And the man cried at the word of the judge, and he said, Not so my Lord, for it was in the day that I gave him the cord and mantle which was upon the ass, in order to put them by in his house; and they both disputed before the judge, the one saying, Thus the matter was, and the other declaring otherwise.

And Hedad said to the man, Give me four pieces of silver that I charge for my interpretations of dreams; I will not make any allowance; and give me the expense of the four meals that thou didst eat in my house. And the man said to Hedad, Truly I will pay thee for what I ate in thy house, only give me the cord and mantle which thou didst conceal in thy house. And Hedad replied before the judge and said to the man, Did I not tell thee the interpretation of thy dream? the cord means that thy days shall be prolonged like a cord, and the mantle, that thou wilt have a vineyard in which thou wilt plant all kinds of fruit trees. This is the proper interpretation of thy dream, now give me the four pieces of silver that I require as a compensation, for I will make thee no allowance.

And the man cried at the words of Hedad and they both quarreled before the judge, and the judge gave orders to his servants, who drove them rashly from the house. And they went away quarreling from the judge, when the people of Sodom heard them, and they gathered about them and they exclaimed against the stranger, and they drove him rashly from the city. And the man continued his journey upon his ass with bitterness of soul, lamenting and weeping. And whilst he was going along he wept at what had happened to him in the corrupt city of Sodom.

"The man going leisurely on the road, seated upon his ass, which carried a fine mantle of divers colors, bound with a cord upon the ass" would represent the baby in the womb receiving its mantle of nourishment from its mother through the umbilical cord. The "wicked and mischievous man, one skilful to do evil, named Hedad" would represent the mother of the baby and Hedad's house the womb. Hedad invited the man in, and excepting cases of rape or incest, the woman invites pregnancy by consensual sex. Just as Hedad held the cord and mantle in his house, so the woman's body holds the essential nourishment of her unborn infant, which nourishment really belongs to the kid. They are living together enjoying each other's company for a time, though the wife considered the guest a burden.

Hedad instead of acknowledging the rightful ownership of the mantle and cord, tried to (and succeeded) turn it into a business move in which the man had no invested interest. But that is exactly what the wicked pregnant woman does when she decides it is in her best business interest not to continue carrying the child which she treats as not having rights to the nourishment from her body. What is striking is the way the judge of Sodom saw the matter, that it was indeed a good interpretation of the dream, a very good business move. Likewise our Supreme Court made allowance for the very good business advantage a woman might gain by terminating her pregnancy. The implication is that as God judged Sodom, he also might judge us having produced such judges.

This reminds us of (James 2:15-16) "If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?" A woman who aborts her baby in order to pursue a career to make money presumably to support those under her care is such a contradiction. The traveler went on his way weeping, and the angels weep over such abortions.

Looking for an inevitable judgment that fills the bill, consider, (Matt. 18:6-10) "But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe unto the world because of offences! For it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh! Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire. And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee; it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire. Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven." Here it is more the case of the supremely innocent preborn babies rather than little children with faith, but who knows? It seems to me that to take it to some kind of heavenly plane goes where the earthly minded pro-choicers wish to avoid, just as my one opponent seemed to like wide open areas rather than enclosed spaces. In principle we Christians are willing to give up parts of our bodies rather than risk hellfire, so what is the big deal about letting the fetus have what nature designed for it from the mom? The particularly grim fate of the offender likened to worse-than- drowning has a terrestrial analogy of the grim slow death by AIDS where the sufferer typically loses his mind in the process, there is not much he can do about it, and there is the stigma attached. Drowning is preferable to dying from AIDS. Finally, the attachment of a guardian angel to the child in the womb takes the humanity debate to a new dimension.

Speaking of angels, was it not angels that destroyed Sodom? But Sodom included in her sins the same inhospitality women show to their unborn babies by aborting them. We understand from Abraham's discourse with God, that his judgment against a people minimizes any hurt to the righteous. AIDS afflicts almost entirely only those engaged in sinful behavior, particularly homosexuals — which sodomites were found in Sodom, whence the name. I mean, in the AIDS issue of The Watchtower the writer responded to the question how to avoid getting AIDS by saying the best way was to become a Jehovah's Witness: they do not practice homosexuality or sex outside of marriage, they do not have blood transfusions, and they do not take drugs. I am not saying that we should all necessarily become Jehovah's Witnesses, but that as a judgment from God against a wicked society, AIDS fits the bill well enough that we can use it as a warning after first establishing our own credibility.

When I asked the martial arts experts what it was called, what I did to neutralize my opponent, I figured there might be a particular word in their lingo they would use. The one told me I was "messing with his mind." He said that with respect. A woman contemplating abortion is in a different position from when she got pregnant, nature following its course. She has time to think about her actions now. The concept might be easier to see if we consider Dante's "cool spot in hell".181

     "But tell me: those who lie in the swamp's bowels,
        those the wind blows about, those the rain beats,
        and those who meet and clash with such mad howls—

     why are they not punished in the rust-red city
        if God's wrath be upon them? and if it is not,
        why must they grieve through all eternity?"

     And he: "Why does your understanding stray
        so far from its own habit? or can it be
        your thoughts are turned along some other way?

     Have you forgotten that your Ethics states
        the three main dispositions of the soul
        that lead to those offenses Heaven hates—

     incontinence, malice, and bestiality?
        and how incontinence offends God least
        and earns least blame from Justice and Charity?
An unmarried woman gets herself pregnant from the disposition of incontinence, but she aborts the child through the disposition of malice, a more serious offense and one she might be able to be talked out of if she is apprised of the true status of the human being in her womb.




View My Guestbook
Sign My Guestbook

Earl Gosnell
1950 Franklin Bv., Box 15
Eugene, OR 97403

Contact: feedbackatbibles.n7nz.org

Copyright © 2003, Earl S. Gosnell III Creative Commons Licence
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Licence.

Permission is hereby granted to use the portions original to this study--with credit given, of course--in intellectually honest non-profit educational material. The material I myself have quoted has its own copyright in most cases, which I cannot speak for but have used here under the fair use doctrine.

I have used material from many sources for teaching, comment and illustration in this nonprofit teaching endeavor on Abortion and Religion type issues. The sources are included in notes. Such uses must be judged on individual merit, of course, so I cannot say how other uses of the same material might fare.

Any particular questions or requests for permissions may be addressed to me, the author.

Image of four men dancing courtesy of www.animationlibrary.com

Web page problems?
Contact: webfootsteratbibles.n7nz.org

Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional    Valid CSS!

Abortion and Religion