Today marks the fortieth anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the controversial Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion throughout the United States. In many ways it was a watershed event, a turning point in our nation's culture and mores. It changed, perhaps forever, what we are as a nation.
The crusade for access to legal abortion is a cornerstone of the modern feminist movement. Feminists see it as a women's rights issue, a matter of "reproductive freedom." The theory is that if women are to achieve economic equality with men, they must be able to pursue careers without interference from unwanted pregnancies. Thus access to abortion is a necessary part of individual freedom and self-determination.
|Berthe Morisot, The Cradle|
Feminist writers have a variety of semantic dodges to evade the obvious difficulty. The fetus is not a human being; it is only a "potential" human being. Or, even worse, it is only a clump of cells. And besides, it is inside the woman's body, an imposition on her, disrupting her life against her will. She has a right to control what goes on inside her own body, does she not?
All of which misses the point. If the woman carries the pregnancy to term, a human being is born. At what point did it become human? What differentiates it five minutes after it was born from what it was five minutes before it was born? The mere change in physical location? Its dependency upon the mother? Isn't the newborn still dependent upon the mother for its care? Isn't this still an imposition? Why not infanticide? The feminist cannot answer these questions, but to her none of it matters. It is the woman's rights that are at issue, her need for "reproductive freedom."
What this amounts to is nothing less than a massive cultural shift. For centuries the western world believed that there was something fundamentally wrong with taking innocent human life. This belief, in turn, was rooted in something deeper, a belief that we live in a rationally ordered universe that was created and governed by a Supreme Being. That Supreme Being has given us a moral law, and among the precepts of that law is the commandment "Thou shalt not kill." Human life was created in the image of God and is therefore sacred. No one is allowed to take it at will.
The Supreme Court decision, then, was a repudiation of one of the basic pillars of western civilization. "Enlightened" progressive thinkers now call the older viewpoint an "outdated morality."
The underlying assumption of modern feminist thought is that we exist in an impersonal universe as autonomous individuals, and that it is up to us to determine our own destinies. Abortion, indeed all of morality, becomes a matter of "personal choice." There are no moral absolutes. Feminism is nothing less than nihilism in a skirt and blouse.
Martin Luther King, Jr. was the end of an era; Roe v. Wade was the beginning of another. We have entered a starkly different world – an amoral world of radical individualism. Or perhaps we should say, we have reentered the old world, the pre-Christian world, the world that existed for thousands of years before the Advent of Christ. It was a harsh and cruel world, a world of brute force and ruthless tyranny, a world of cruelty, barbarity and oppression.
"And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually, and it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart" (Gen. 6:5,6).
For an analysis of the Supreme Court's decision, click on this link:
Should Abortion be Legal?
For an example of a Feminist "Pro-Choice" argument, click on this link:
Jill Filipovic on Roe v. Wade
For a doctor's perspective on abortion, click on this link:
Ron Paul on abortion