A License to Live

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Before the United States Supreme Court handed down the fateful decision that in effect legalized abortion on demand (Roe v. Wade, January 22, 1973; see CHRISTIANITY TODAY, February 16, 1973), opponents of easy abortion had warned that such a decision would be the first step in a far-reaching assault on human life. Not far behind, they said, would be euthanasia (first voluntary and then compulsory), forcible family limitation, and genetic Controls. The pro-abortion forces decried these warnings as unrealistic and hysterical.

Many Christian spokesmen, distracted by the rhetoric of religious liberty surrounding the court’s abortion decision, did not discern the anti-Christian militancy underlying the court’s rejection of our once dominant Judaeo-Christian ethical tradition in favor of “ancient religion.” On the other hand, some virulent anti-Christians recognized it for what it is and exulted (cf. Paul Blanshard and Edd Doerr, “A Glorious Victory,” The Humanist, May/June, 1973). Many discerning Christians, as well as others concerned with the dignity of man as the image-bearer of God, see the handwriting on the wall, and are anguished at the massive substitution of principles from pre-Christian paganism and post-Christian utilitarianism for those of the biblical heritage.

The thinking on abortion by the court’s majority reveals not only ethical and spiritual hollowness but also a lack of realism and reason. Many secular writers have noted this, such as law professor Philip Kurland, who wrote in the University of Chicago Magazine: “[The Supreme Court] has issued decrees but it has not afforded adequate rationales for them; it has attempted to rule by fiat rather than by reason” (July/August, 1973, p. 9). With neither ethics nor ...

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