Thomas Fleming has an ongoing series of important posts up at Chronicles on the abortion debate. So far there are:
Part I, II, III
Often, the comments after the posts are as insightful as the posts themselves. Here is a snippet from his first column:
There is really no good Scriptural text on abortion, and the common pro-life bumper sticker “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you” assumes a knowledge of embryology on Jeremiah’s part (and an intention) that is quite out of the question. The various fundamentalist/evangelical attempts to find a secure Scriptural basis for outlawing abortion are as futile as most of their theology. Exodus 21, the most frequently cited text, merely states the penalty for causing the death of the fetus, though it is quite true that rabbinical commentators used this to support their condemnation of abortion.
Despite rabbinical prohibitions, there is no reason to believe that Jews did not behave more or less like other Mediterranean peoples. This has no bearing on the undoubted fact that Christians were early on distinguished for their rejection of infanticide and abortion.
There is no need for Scriptural authority in this case. Man is made in the image of the God who sent his Son in human form to take upon Himself the sins of the world, to die for us, and in rising from the dead to give us the promise of life everlasting. The Christian vision, then, could give no support to infanticide or abortion, except in the difficult case where a mother’s life is at stake. (I do not intend to take any position on this since it is of almost no significance today. We shall stick to the main road.)
Like other ancient texts, the Old Testament says nothing nothing about the rights of children and very little about parental duties: What matters most is the child’s duty to the parent and not the reverse. Nonetheless, the OT texts, like the literatures of the Greeks and Romans, gives a very positive portrayal, generally, of parents. There is no need, I think, to speak of Abraham and Isaac, or Jacob and Joseph, when we have the portrait of Mary and Joseph’s very tender regard for Jesus. Mary’s outburst, on finding her son teaching in the temple, is almost amusing, it is so like what any normal mother would say when realizing that her son is safe–and not through any effort of his own! I can hear my own mother’s “Where have you been? Do you realize your father and and I have been waiting up all night long…?
In the Christian tradition, then, there is no talk of a child’s universal human life to be guaranteed by a government or legal system, only the parents’ duty to love and care for their children. This is not a universal or convertible obligation: I have to take care of my children but not your children much less everybody’s children. Of course, a Christian society will want to enforce up to a point Christian moral law and might even institutionalize some forms of charity, but in an anti-Christian society it is incumbent upon us to return to a more traditional Christian way of thinking about matters such as abortion, divorce, and charity, lest we find ourselves sacrificing the moral authority of family’s to the power of an anti-Christian state that makes war upon the family.
It should not be surprising to us that politicians, particularly Democrats, support killing babies in the womb if this interview with Rielle Hunter is any kind of guide to their thinking. When “Johnny” Edwards impregnated her, he seemed to hope and suggest that she get an abortion, witness:
And what was his reaction?
He was always very gracious about it. And always said that he would support whatever decision I made. But I believe on some level he was hoping I would get an abortion. Because he didn’t—he wasn’t happy about the timing. Which is understandable. [laughs] He was married and running for president.
So he was gracious, really? There were no fights about it?
No, there were no fights. He was very gracious, but I always felt the underlying discontent in his graciousness. I remember one time in Miami—or was it Orlando? [laughs] I traveled a lot to see him. But he said to me, he was like, “There’s just nothing I can say to make you change your mind about this.” and I said, “Nope.” he said, “Guess I’m just gonna have to accept it.” very teasing and sweet.
Isn’t that nice? There was nothing he could say to change her mind and get her to agree to killing the baby he had conceived and which was about to become a big inconvenience in his life of lies. So, he was sweet about it. “I support whatever decision you make” equals “you may kill or keep this baby alive, it’s up to you.”
So, one reason that will never be uttered in the Senate or House about why we need to keep abortion legal is so that politicians can have their mistress’s babies killed to cover up the cheating. Of course, they could probably fly them somewhere or pay enough to get it done even if it were illegal, but it’s so much easier on the conscience since it is legal.
Unbelievable. Read this horrible (and coldly murderous) quote from Justice Ginsburg in the NYT:
Q: Are you talking about the distances women have to travel because in parts of the country, abortion is essentially unavailable, because there are so few doctors and clinics that do the procedure? And also, the lack of Medicaid for abortions for poor women?
JUSTICE GINSBURG: Yes, the ruling about that surprised me. [Harris v. McRae — in 1980 the court upheld the Hyde Amendment, which forbids the use of Medicaid for abortions.] Frankly I had thought that at the time Roe was decided, there was concern about population growth and particularly growth in populations that we don’t want to have too many of. So that Roe was going to be then set up for Medicaid funding for abortion. Which some people felt would risk coercing women into having abortions when they didn’t really want them. But when the court decided McRae, the case came out the other way. And then I realized that my perception of it had been altogether wrong.
James Jordan does the usual: speaks his mind and lets the chips fall where they may. This essay is dated, but is now relevant again due to the murder of Tiller in Kansas. Read the whole thing here. An excerpt:
As a result of all this, the older, responsible anti-abortion Christian voices have been overwhelmed, and their organizations left in the dust. You cannot hear a string quartet if a rock band is playing in the same room. This is probably for the good, if it forces us to channel our efforts into rebuilding the Church. The fact is that it takes an act of faith to believe that the baby in the womb is a human being, because you cannot see it. In our time, only Christianized cultures have regarded abortion as murder and criminalized it. Thus, apart from a revival of genuine Biblical Christianity, the present situation will not significantly change. We should do what we can, bearing witness and helping unwed mothers, but more and more it will be necessary for Christians to separate publicly from the heresies of the Prolifist religion and its false humanist god.