Thursday, January 25, 2007

Celebrating the Freedom of Choice

Lately, the blogdom has been abuzz with the 34th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the landmark judicial opinion in the United States regarding privacy and abortion. The infamous Supreme Court decision made it legal for a woman to have her unborn child murdered for any reason during pregnancy.

While I am no American, the event had far-reaching consequences, some of which affect me. For America, and much of the civilised world, is now sharply divided into pro-life and pro-choice camps. As a student, I have had several run-ins with my similarly dogmatic peers over this subject - the most recent being some four months ago, when a biomedical science student attempted to force me to see things his way (so what else is new about these "liberals"?), deploying his entire knowledge of the human anatomy and his brattish temperament. I do not even see why this topic should be subject to debate - the subject of life and death are not to be trivialized in such manner. Henceforth, I make known my decision to refuse to engage anyone with malicious intent in debate over this topic.

The Church Fathers have always been clear on the matter:

And when we say that those women who use drugs to bring on abortion commit murder, and will have to give an account to God s for the abortion, on what principle should we commit murder? For it does not belong to the same person to regard the very foetus in the womb as a created being, and therefore an object of God's care, and when it has passed into life, to kill it; and not to expose an infant, because those who expose them are chargeable with child-murder, and on the other hand, when it has been reared to destroy it.
Athenagoras of Athens, Apology for the Christians

For I have no name to give it, since it does not take off the thing born, but prevent its being born. Why then dost thou abuse the gift of God, and fight with His laws, and follow after what is a curse as if a blessing, and make the chamber of procreation a chamber for murder, and arm the woman that was given for childbearing unto slaughter?
St John Chrysostom, Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans

Robbers kill for greed, and to avoid conviction. Soldiers who inflict death in war do so with the obvious purpose not of fighting, nor chastising, but of killing their opponents. And if any one has concocted some magic philtre for some other reason, and then causes death, I count this as intentional. Women frequently endeavour to draw men to love them by incantations and magic knots, and give them drugs which dull their intelligence. Such women, when they cause death, though the result of their action may not be what they intended, are nevertheless, on account of their proceedings being magical and prohibited, to be reckoned among intentional homicides.
St Basil the Great, Letter CLXXXVIII

Karen has a very good post on this matter, comparing the deaths caused by abortion alone with several American wars.

Statistics can be very useful. The can illuminate starkly some feature of our complex world, which otherwise may be hard to discern. They serve as forewarnings of the silent threat creeping up on us, giving us the luxury of time to think up and implement counter-measures. Let the unbelieving among us look, that they may be persuaded to have a change of mind.


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