Abortion has been a topic that has stirred passionate responses from antiquity. While this is a medical process, the procedure often combines the ending of life with severe brutality- for both the unborn and the mother. While technology has made the procedure quicker in the modern era, the methods are frighteningly similar to those used in more ancient periods.
One of the most renowned Church Fathers was Tertullian, living around 200 AD. Abortion and infanticide were practices the ancient world knew well and he spoke strongly against them. He said: “Among surgeons’ tools there is a certain instrument that is designed with a nicely-adjusted flexible frame for first of all opening the uterus and then keeping it open. It also has a circular blade, by which the limbs within the womb are dissected with careful, but unflinching care. Then a copper spike is driven into the unborn to take its life. From this infanticide method, some gave it the name, ‘Killer of the Infant’.” Tertullian, in another article, writes: “Are you to dissolve the conception by aid of drugs? I believe it is no more lawful [and right] to hurt a child in the process of birth than to hurt one who is already born.
The process of separating one life from another, a child from its parent, is never a reason to rejoice and is usually barbaric. Regardless of the empty rhetoric, which surrounds the issue of abortion, there is life that is being destroyed. While modern science and ethics debate over issues of emergent life and personhood, embryos and fetuses are being destroyed. The developing life that is within the womb is being overlooked by battles over principles and doctrine. Life, in its earliest stages, hangs in the balance of academic debate, political rhetoric, and medical disputes. The most fragile and vulnerable of all life is relegated to being the means to the ends of our leaders. The intrinsic humanity that is present as soon as the spark of life ignites is obscured and reduced to statesmen fodder.
Life has an intrinsic dignity, an inestimable worth and value, that is being forgotten or ignored by our leaders. Those who would not value this dignity, whether politician and medical professional, is truly the “Killer of the infant”. When politicians want to change these core doctrines of the Christian Churches, they are advocating the “Killer of the infant”. When a politician would exchange the precious life of the unborn for votes, she is acting for the “Killer of the infant”. When a politician offers false empowerment and promises using the life of the unborn to trade upon, she is acting for the “Killer of the infant”. When a politician promotes an agenda of global wellness and health, but advocates for abortion she is being the hypocritical voice of the “Killer of the infant”.
The question before us: Do we look to the “Killer of the infant” or to the source of eternal life, Jesus?