Editorial, The Review of Religions, September 1989
In 1972, the year before the U.S. Supreme Court legalized abortion on demand, there were 184 abortions per 1,000 live births in the United States; however, by 1983, there were 419 abortions per 1,000 live births.
After Roe. v. Wade took effect, 216,000 married women and 528,000 unmarried women procured abortions. By 1983, the figures had risen to 283,000 married women and 1,232,000 unmarried women.
Moreover, statistics reveal a nexus between the pro-abortion or anti-life mentality and an increase in child abuse. Supporters of Roe v. Wade said legalized abortion would reduce the incidents of child abuse by reducing the number of unwanted children; but the statistics clearly demonstrate that the reverse is true.
In 1978, there were 606,600 reported cases of child abuse, but by 1984, the figures had almost doubled to 1,131,300 cases. Furthermore, the ratio of child abuse cases per 1,000 population increased from 2.7 (in 1978) to 4.8 (in 1984).
Abortion on demand is the killing of innocent unborn babies; it scorns the sacramental nature of sex, marriage, family and human life. Unhappily the pro-abortion or anti-life mentality, which subordinates the right of life of unborn babies to personal, social and economic convenience, pervades our society.
One explanation for the pro-abortion mentality is that we live in an increasingly utilitarian society: Everything, it seems, has become easily disposable and easily replaced: Cars, cans, bottles, furniture, books, appliances. Unhappily the attitude that everything is easily disposable and easily replaced has come to permeate even our thinking and conversation regarding the abortion issue. For many, human lives have also become disposable.
The Protestant theologian Helmut Thielicke, in his work Being Human, Becoming Human (New York: DoubleDay), points out that, from the utilitarian perspective,
Humanity is not given the dignity of being an end in itself in Immanuel Kant’s sense but is a means to the end of production … There is no infinite worth of the human soul, no privilege that differentiates humanity from things, no according of qualitative distinction. People are significant only as they are useful in the process of production or in society.
Only if human life is unconditionally sacred and humanity is made the measure of all things are we protected against its being made a thing or tool and thus consigned to the scrap heap, as machines are when they wear out and are no longer of use.
This emphasis on utility goes hand in hand with a lifestyle that reduces moral choices to economic choices. Since it is cheaper to procure an abortion than to rear a child, many would rather kill an innocent unborn baby than accept an economic burden. Many would rather have a new swimming pool or fur coat or trip to Europe than a new baby.
Even more basic explanations for abortion are selfishness and a lack of a sense of moral responsibility. For many, sex – instead of being the communion of life and love within the sacrament of marriage – is simply a plaything or a tool to enhance one’s popularity or alleviate one’s doubts about one’s masculinity or femininity.
Many crave sexual freedom but do not want to accept responsibility for their deeds. Abortion then becomes a quick, cheap, selfish and convenient solution to an embarrassing pregnancy, and what results is the destruction of innocent unborn human beings.
On the killing of human life the Holy Quran states:
Do not destroy a life that Allah has declared sacred except for just cause. (25:69)
Consequently, for the sake of our social, moral and spiritual well-being we must adopt a philosophy of life and man that acknowledges God-given rights and corresponding duties, affirms the intrinsic moral worth and dignity of human beings including handicapped, elderly and unborn human beings and upholds the sacredness of sex, marriage, family and human life.