This article originally appeared in the February 16, 1973 issue of Christianity Today.
Writing to Christians in Rome about the spiritual condition of the pagan world, Paul diagnosed it in this way: "Although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their senseless minds were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools. … Since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a base mind and to improper conduct" (Rom. 1:21, 22, 28).
Not only the thinking but often the laws of men, and even the decisions of religious councils, can conflict with the laws of God. That is why Peter and John, called before the Sanhedrin, declared that they must obey God rather than men (Acts 4:19).
In a sweeping decision January 22, the United States Supreme Court overthrew the abortion statutes of Texas, indeed, of all the states that protect the right of an unborn infant to life before, at the earliest, the seventh month of pregnancy. The Court explicitly allows states to create some safeguards for unborn infants regarded as "viable," but in view of the present decision, it appears doubtful that unborn infants now enjoy any protection prior to the instant of birth anywhere in the United States. Until new state laws acceptable to .the Court are passed—at best a long-drawn-out process—it would appear impossible to punish abortions performed at any stage.
This decision runs counter not merely to the moral teachings of Christianity through the ages but also to the moral sense of the American people, as expressed in the now vacated abortion laws of almost all states, including 1972 laws in Massachusetts, New York, and Pennsylvania, and recently clearly reaffirmed ...