Gary Wills distorts history, biology in LA article.
The pro-abortion crowd will do anything but examine the facts. Indeed in order to confuse the average person who must focus his or her daily life on the mundane things such a taking care of the family to getting through the rush hour traffic, the pro-abortion propagandist will dig up well-worn canards in an effort to cloud the issue.
Such were the old discredited arguments propounded by Gary Wills in his November 4, 2007 piece published by the Los Angeles Times. Wills, a dissident Catholic liberal, has made a living attacking the Church of his parents. In his article he attempts to sound intellectual, all the while presenting false, misleading bits of history along with half-truths designed to give the reader both an intellectual as well as religious reason not to care about the abortion debate.
He starts by setting up the premise by which Evangelicals are supposed to oppose abortion – religion. It is true that many Evangelicals oppose abortion because of their religious faith. But it could be argued that many oppose abortion because abortion kills a human being.
So Wills interjects the word ‘murder’ as a way to sidestep what every abortion does. He then equates the nascent human being with the fact that cells are “living” and yet are neither protected by law nor the cause of grave moral concern.
He mistakenly interprets the absence of any mention of abortion in the Old and New Testaments as implying that abortion was not an issue., He conveniently forgets that for the Hebrews and later the Jews, childlessness was considered a curse and that children were a “gift from the Lord.” ( Psalm 127) He ignores the multiple references in Holy Scripture to the child in the womb as being formed by God, alive and leaping the womb for joy (a reference to John the Baptist (Luke 1:41-43). The truth is that there are so many references to the child in the womb as a living person that Wills should be called to task for a blatant misrepresentation of the Scriptures.
Then he ignores early Patristic Christian literature:
"You shall love your neighbor more than your own life. You shall not slay a child by abortion. You shall not kill that which has already been generated." (Epistle of Barnabas 19.5; second century)
"Do not murder a child by abortion or kill a new-born infant." (The Didache 2.2; second century catechism for young Christian converts)
"The fetus in the womb is a living being and therefore the object of God's care" (Athenagoras, A Plea for the Christians, 35.6; 177 A.D.)
"It does not matter whether you take away a life that is born, or destroy one that is coming to the birth. In both instances, the destruction is murder." (Tertullian, Apology, 9.4; second century)
"Those who give abortifacients for the destruction of a child conceived in the womb are murderers themselves, along with those receiving the poisons." (Basil the Great, Canons, 188.2; fourth century)
Jerome called abortion "the murder of an unborn child" (Letter to Eustochium, 22.13; fourth century). Augustine used the same phrase, warning against the terrible crime of "the murder of an unborn child" (On Marriage, 1.17.15; fourth century).
The early church fathers Origen, Cyprian and Chrysostom likewise condemned abortion as the killing of a child.
Aquinas condemned abortion as well as contraception. Wills, however makes the effort to focus on the limited science of the time. This tactic is akin to arguing that the earth is flat or that the sun circles the earth because it rises in the east. Modern scientific knowledge has put the limited ideas of previous ancient and medieval scholars to rest. That Wills brings up these dusty concepts can be explained by his fear of the current scientific information of the day.
Even the Protestant reformers in the 16th Century knew that abortion was wrong.
"The fetus, though enclosed in the womb of its mother, is already a human being and it is a most monstrous crime to rob it of the life which it has not yet begun to enjoy. If it seems more horrible to kill a man in his own house than in a field, because a man's house is his place of most secure refuge, it ought surely to be deemed more atrocious to destroy a fetus in the womb before it has come to light." John Calvin (sixteenth century reformer)
But Wills is right on one point. Opposition to abortion need not be based on ones religion or ones beliefs.. Medical and scientific evidence describing the details of the origin of every human person is not controverted. Medical texts remind the physician that he treats two patients during a pregnancy. So opposition to abortion can and is based upon reason and the natural law.