Friday, May 17, 2019

A Few Points on the Current Abortion Debate

The Missouri Capitol in Jefferson City
As Alabama and Missouri have recently passed relatively strong laws against abortion, there has been an escalation of the already strong debate in our society on the subject of abortion and the state. I have posted here in the past on the case against abortion from the Bible and the church fathers. Here I want to make a few points on the current debate on anti-abortion legislation.

1. The point of anti-abortion laws is the same as existing laws against murder. The pro-life position argues that abortion is murder, the unjust taking of innocent human life.

This is why exceptions for rape and incest make no sense to someone who is pro-life. Rape should be strongly punished, but it does not justify the killing of an innocent party.

This is also why the argument for "safe, legal" abortions as opposed to "unsafe, illegal" abortions makes no sense - the fact that robbery and murder are illegal do make those actions more dangerous, but this is not an argument to make them legal (in this vein, see this satire article). It is the job of the civil government to protect and vindicate innocent life and punish those who take it unjustly.

2. Anti-abortion legislation, like all legislation against crime, is a moral issue, so it is no surprise that religion is involved. This is why the argument against imposing my religious views on others does not hold weight. If you asked me why murder, stealing, or perjury is wrong and unjust, I would also appeal to my religious beliefs. Non-Christians still have some god-like authoritative source for their moral judgments, which they then seek to impose by law in society. (And few object to the imposition of religious beliefs when they are invoked to support the fair treatment of minorities and immigrants.)
"Law is in every culture religious in origin. Because law governs man and society, because it establishes and declares the meaning of justice and righteousness, law is inescapably religious, in that it establishes in practical fashion the ultimate concerns of a culture. Accordingly, a fundamental and necessary premise in any and every study of law must be, first, a recognition of this religious nature of law. Second, it must be recognized that in any culture the source of law is the god of that society" (Rushdoony, Institutes of Biblical Law, p. 4). 
3. This is not a "war against women," but a certain type of feminism is waging a war against the unborn. In line with my first point, the focus of anti-abortion laws and the pro-life position is on the life of the unborn child. Its goal is not to punish or suppress women - in fact, the pro-life movement has resulted in many charitable efforts to help pregnant women and their children in difficult circumstances. With that said, egalitarian feminism does come into conflict with nature. With its insistence that men and women must have identical options, abilities, and positions, it runs into the fact that men and women are created with different bodies.

In general, we are created to naturally desire sex, which naturally leads to pregnancy, which naturally leads to distinctions between men and women and their abilities. All this naturally leads to traditional marriage as the best arrangement for these factors, all of this being designed by God. The conservative and biblical approach is to strengthen marriage, passing laws such as those that limit divorce (Matt. 19:3-9), hold men accountable for premarital sex (Ex. 22:16-17), and punish rapists (Deut. 22:25-27). But egalitarian and individualist theories have sought to get rid of all distinctions between men and women, even if it means killing the unborn.

Now some feminists, including many of the founders of feminism, have not taken their position to this extreme and have opposed abortion, pointing to other solutions such as birth control, adoption, and accommodations in the work place. But a certain type of feminism believes that women need the ability to have their unborn children killed so they can be free and equal. But it is a sorry version of freedom and equality that requires women to betray their own unborn offspring and have the innocent murdered. So yes, the pro-life position does conflict with a certain type of feminism, but this is because this type of feminism is waging a war on unborn children.

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