Monday, December 11, 2006
ABORTION - ITS HISTORICAL CONTEXT
Because Christianity is inextricably rooted in history, we must bear our Christian witness in the context of our cultural history. Until fairly recently, our laws reflected a morality grounded in the Judeo-Christian ethic. This ethic, while not necessarily indicating a Christian majority, constituted a consensus of recognized values, supreme among which was the inviolable sanctity of human life. Consequently, abortion was historically forbidden, including by English Common Law. Until 1967, no state permitted abortion except to prevent the death of the mother and by 1973, sixty percent of the states had statutes expressly forbidding abortion for any other reason. One notable exception to this came in 1967. Legislation sponsored by a little known state legislator named Richard D. Lamm was passed in Colorado, permitting abortion in cases of rape, incest, severe fetal malformation, or when the health of the mother was demonstrably threatened. While this law seemed to restrict abortions to a few narrowly defined exceptions, in fact it sanctioned Colorado's becoming one of the nation's largest centers for abortion. Colorado so defined the "health of the mother" to include mental health, such that abortions were allowed when certification from any compliant physician was forthcoming that a given pregnancy was a threat to that woman's mental health. As predicted by pro-life defenders, such certification became merely a routine formality and what was promoted as compassionate limits on abortion, in practice became a license to kill any of the unborn. When California and New York followed suit, abortion statistics began to rise to unconscionable levels. In the early seventies, the pro-abortion forces, perceiving that they had a sympathetically liberal Supreme Court, began to search for a test case with which a national precedent could be established. No one, however, not even the most militant pro-abortion activist, anticipated what happened next.
[From 'A Resource Manual', page 13]
To be Continued . . .