With the current controversy swirling around the leaked US Supreme Court document relating to overturning the Roe v. Wade decision, along with legislation before Congress attempting to codify a right to abortion into law throughout the US, it’s important to understand what the root issue is in the abortion controversy.
Abortion has very little to do with a woman's right to choose. It has very much to do with allowing men to use women, and then abandon those women when they get pregnant with their child, not just her child.
Most people don’t realize it, but the women who began the Women’s Rights Movement in the nineteenth century were strongly pro-life. Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Matilda Joslyn Gage and others understood correctly that abortion then, as now, is sometimes injurious to women . . . and 100% fatal for their unborn children.
Gage, writing in the April 9, 1868 issue of The Revolution – the official newspaper of the National Woman Suffrage Association begun by Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton – wrote:
“. . . the crime of abortion is not one in which the guilt lies solely or even chiefly with the woman . . . I hesitate not to assert that most of this crime of 'child murder,' 'abortion,' 'infanticide,' lies at the door of the male sex.”
Mattie Brinkerhoff wrote in that same publication a year later,
“When a man steals to satisfy hunger, we may safely conclude that there is something wrong in society – so when a woman destroys the life of her unborn child, it is an evidence that either by education or circumstances she has been greatly wronged.”
“Guilty? Yes. No matter what the motive, love of ease, or a desire to save from suffering the unborn innocent, the woman is awfully guilty who commits the deed. It will burden her conscience in life, it will burden her soul in death. But, oh, thrice guilty is he who drove her to desperation which impelled her to the crime!”
The reason why these women were opposed to abortion is actually quite obvious. Abortion cuts to the core of what it means to be a woman. For, unlike every biological male who has ever existed, only women can be the agents of one of the most miraculous events that can occur here on earth – the conception and birth of a child.
The women’s movement became pro-choice during the height of the free-love movement in the 1960s out of self-defense.
The fact is that free love produces babies. And it is the woman who literally “bears” the responsibility of the sexual activity in the form of a child.
It was all too often the case in the sixties that irresponsible males abandoned their children and the mothers of their children in pursuit of greener pastures. The question that was then asked over and over again by women was,
“Where were the men when the babies were born?!”
That pattern continues today, except that men can soothe their consciences to a certain degree by telling themselves that if she gets pregnant, she can always get an abortion!
Considering the abysmal record of some in high public office when it comes to personal morality, it’s no wonder abortion legislation passes. The actions of these legislators are too often motivated not by a concern for the best interests of women, but by a concern for what they see as the best interests for themselves.
The Heart of the Issue
Abortion is the most important moral issue of our day, in much the same way that slavery was for America in the nineteenth century, and the “Final Solution” was for citizens of Nazi Germany in the twentieth century. In each of those cases, as in the case of abortion today, it was deemed acceptable to deprive a certain group of people of their inherent rights as human beings – in the case of abortion, depriving a human being of the right to life itself.
A child inside the womb is not just a piece of tissue that is part of a woman’s body. Every cell in an unborn child’s body is genetically distinct from its mother . . . just as every cell in the bodies of every child or adult outside the womb is genetically distinct from its mother.
The scientifically determined fact of the matter is that human life begins at conception and is continuous, whether inside or outside the womb, until death.
The motives of many pro-choice people who want to help women in need are clearly honorable. Unfortunately, the method they seek to employ is misguided. Abortion often harms women physically and psychologically, and it’s always fatal for their unborn children, who, if they had been given the right to choose, would undoubtedly have chosen life.
Just like with slavery and the holocaust, there will come a time in the future when people will look back on this generation and wonder how a civilized people could ever have considered that the taking of an innocent human being’s life would be something that was not only allowed, but considered good.