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Abortion: The poster child for moral freedom

Supreme Court, abortion
Pro-abortion and pro-life demonstrators gather outside of the U.S. Supreme Court on May 02, 2022, in Washington, D.C. In an initial draft majority opinion obtained by Politico, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito allegedly wrote that the cases Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood of Southeastern v. Casey should be overruled. |

What prompts otherwise-reasonable folks to get up one morning, take to the streets, and stridently demand the right to destroy developing life in the womb? And why do homosexuals, who obviously needn’t worry about getting pregnant, join vociferously in these protests? 

The battle over Roe v. Wade isn’t just about abortion. Abortion is a rally cry for the freedom to do whatever one pleases. “Pro-choice” is about unrestricted moral choice — particularly when it comes to all things sexual. If you can take life in the womb with impunity, what can you not do? When you are sexually free, you are free indeed!  

It’s not freedom to have an abortion that drives the protests, but freedom to have the sex that makes abortion necessary. In some sub-cultures, abortion has become the “contraceptive” of choice for socially-accepted, marriage-free sex. Little wonder that abortion has become the poster child for unfettered moral license across the board. 

It was my own “free love” generation that started the ball rolling. Along with sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll, came “the pill,” liberating sex for us heady heterosexuals. With the advent of the gay rights movement, sexual choice was out and proud. And sex was “safe”…except, of course, for STDs, HIV, and shocking unexpected pregnancies, for which abortion became a backstop.

Even for women of faith, the unthinkable becomes thinkable when faced with the alternative of stigma and derailed lives. Then again, few of them have ever marched, loudly demanding the right to suffer the consequences for a decision that has left them emotionally scarred. No fetus suffers alone. Being forgiven by God is one thing; being able to forget is quite another.

I also get the privacy bit. For a society obsessed with privacy, we have the least privacy of any generation ever. How dare Big Brother and Big Business track our every move! Nor does the law have any business in the bedroom, whether couples are married or unmarried.  Those are moral decisions for which we will individually answer to God. 

In sharp contrast, abortion and same-sex unions are not just personal moral issues. Gay marriage forces society to legally recognize what God has not joined together, and abortion permits the destruction of life that God has made sacred, of no less concern to the law than any other “termination” of human life. 

For believers, Eden’s primordial garden speaks volumes. “Where are you?” God asked Adam and Eve, the first pair to seek privacy in an attempt to cover their sin. And what was the forbidden fruit? Appropriating to themselves the knowledge of good and evil, determining their own right and wrong. Nothing’s changed: Moral autonomy, hiding under the cover of privacy.

Today, it’s not love that covers a multitude of sins, but “privacy.” And never more so than in Justice Anthony Kennedy’s vacuous, abortion-focused words: “At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.” 

The logic of that reasoning must surely be good news for mass murderers and child abusers!

Ever considered how the notion that everybody can do whatever’s right in their own eyes quickly backfires? When the law promotes individual moral autonomy under the popular banner of “privacy”—proudly celebrating abortion as the icon of that freedom — the very concept of law, constitution, and authority is nullified, along with allrights…including “abortion rights”!

F. LaGard Smith is a retired law school professor (principally at Pepperdine University), and is the author of some 35 books, touching on law, faith, and social issues.  He is the compiler and narrator of The Daily Bible (the NIV and NLT arranged in chronological order). 

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