Abortion - RR130V39

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Professor: Rushdoony, Dr. R. J.
Title: Abortion
Course: Course - IBL06: Sixth Commandment
Subject: Subject:Law/Prerequisite
Lesson#: 6
Length: 0:39:57
TapeCode: RR130V39
Audio: Chalcedon Archive
Transcript: .docx Format
IBL06 Sixth Commandment.jpg

This transcript is unedited. It was:
Archived by the Mt. Olive Tape Library
Digitized, transcribed, and published by Christ Rules
Posted by permission of the Chalcedon Foundation


Our scripture is Exodus ...

Our scripture is Exodus 21:22-25. Exodus 21:22-25. The subject, abortion.

Exodus 21:22 through 25.
  “22 If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart from her, and yet no mischief follow: he shall be surely punished, according as the woman's husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine.
  23 And if any mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life,
  24 Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot,
  25 Burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.”

The subject of abortion is not a pleasant one. But if we were only to deal from the pulpit and from scripture with that which is pleasant we would very quickly abdicate our Christian state. We are to deal with what God requires rather than that which pleases us. Now, abortion, the destruction of the human embryo or fetus has long been regarded by biblical standards as murder, but it is significant that in recent years this stance has been radically altered. [00:01:55]

We are very thoroughly familiar with the fact that...

We are very thoroughly familiar with the fact that the liberals both within Protestantism and the roman catholic church have very extensively compromised on the subject, and are ready to grant the so called right to abortion. The sad fact is, that even within evangelical circles the compromise is very deep. For example, Christianity Today a major evangelical publication which represent the Billy Graham perspective --in fact, one of the moving forces behind it is Graham’s father in-law-- had an article in the November 8, 1968 issue. This article was written, again very significantly, by Waltkey[?] of the Dallas Theological seminary.

This man’s perspective is antinomian, premillennial, dispensationalists. In this article he declares that abortion is permissible in terms of scripture. Now this is inflamed defiance of our text and of the sixth commandment. The historic grounds from the days of the old testament to the present has been the sixth commandment, Thou Shalt Not Kill, and the text which we read. Let us look at that text again as given in a very modern legally precise translation by Casuto[?]. “When men strive together and they hurt unintentionally a woman with child and her children come forth but no mischief happens, that is the woman and the children do not die, the one who hurt her shall surely be punished by a fine. But, if any mischief happens, that is if the woman dies or one of the children dies, then you shall give life for life.” It should be noticed that children is given in the plural because this is a legal statement to cover not only a child but multiple birth[s] as well. [00:04:17]

Now let us analyse this law...

Now let us analyse this law. Remembering that this is case law under the general principle thou shalt not kill. Remembering further that case law gives a minimal case and declares that from this minimal case if it is true here it is certainly true elsewhere. Thus this has legal implications which from the days of Moses through the early church to the present have been realized. Now first of all in this case cited, we do not have deliberate abortion. It is accidental. Two men are fighting and they fall against the woman who is pregnant and she aborts or delivers later prematurely.

This then, is a minimal case! It covers any type of case that might ensue from an accident. This entered into legal statutes all over the world; for example, in Boston just very recently there was a case in which a child was born prematurely as the result of an accident when a truck struck a car in which Mrs. [unintelligible name] was a passenger, and she won a case against the trucking company because of that. In terms of this principle which has entered into our law. Thus even in the event of an accidental abortion there is liability! There is still a crime, a legal offense. Second, this means that if there is a penalty for even accidental abortion and the penalty is death if the child be born dead, how much more is this true without possibility of exception in an induced abortion? This is of course the principle of the minimal case illustrating everything in an area. [00:06:49]

Now third, a point that is very obvious here is that...

Now third, a point that is very obvious here is that even if there be no injury to the woman or the fetus, still the man is liable to a fine and must be fined. It’s stipulated as mandatory. Now again this sets forth something of considerable importance. The law clearly protects pregnant woman and the embryo so that every pregnant woman has, in terms of biblical law, a strong hedge of law around her. For since even a mother bird with eggs or young is covered by the law, according to Deuteronomy 22 verses 6 and 7. It is clear that any tampering with the fact of birth is forbidden except where required or permitted by God’s law.

Now this legislation against abortion is unique in world history. There is nothing to compare with it outside of scripture and those legal codes which have been influenced by the Bible. It is true that occasionally you do find in some cultures laws against abortion, but they are not against abortion in principle! For example, in the Roman empire there were laws against abortion, but it was not that abortion was bad it was only a crime if and when a woman defrauded her husband of an heir, by means of abortion. Only then.

Perhaps most revealing of the attitude outside of scripture is the statement that we find in Plato and in Aristotle. These are so typical of the attitude of all pagan antiquity and of the modern world that it is well worth reading what Socrates says in Plato’s republic. And I quote: “I should make it a rule for women to bear children to the state from her twentieth year to her fortieth year. And for a man after getting over the sharpest burst in the race of life, henceforth to beget children to the state until he is fifty-five years old. If then, a man with either above or under this age shall meddle with the business of begetting children for the commonwealth, we shall declare his act to be an offense against religion and justice inasmuch as he is raising up a child for the state, who should detection be avoided instead of having been begotten under the sanction of those sacrifices and prayers which are to be offered up at every marriage ceremonial by priests and priestesses and the whole city to the effect that the children to be born may ever be more virtuous and more useful than their virtuous and useful parents who have been conceived under cover of darkness by the aid of dire incontinent.

The same law will hold, should a man who is still of age to be a father meddle with a woman who is also of the proper age without the introduction of the magistrate, we shall accuse him of raising up to the state an illegitimate unsponsored and unhallowed child. But as soon as the woman and the man are past the prescribed age we shall allow the latter I imagine to associate freely with whomsoever they please, so that it be not a daughter or a mother or a daughter’s child or grandmother. And in like manner we shall permit the woman to associate with any man except a son or a father or one of their relations in the direct line, ascending of descending, but only after giving them strict orders to do their best if possible to prevent any child happily so conceived from seeing the light. But if they cannot sometimes be helped to dispose of the infant on the understanding that the fruit of such a union is not to be reared.

‘That too is a reasonable plan, but how are they to distinguish fathers and daughters and the relations you described just now, since all the children are reared by the state? How are they to know which is their daughter or their father?’ Not at all, I replied, only all the children that are born between the 7’th and 10’th month from the day on which one of their number was married, are to be called by him if male, his sons, if female, his daughters. And they shall call him father and their children he shall call his grandchildren. These again shall call him and his fellow bridegrooms and brides grandfathers and grandmothers. Likewise, all shall regard as brother and sisters those that were born in the same period in which their own fathers and mothers were bringing them into the world. [00:12:03]

And as we said just now, all these shall refrain from...

And as we said just now, all these shall refrain from touching one another, but the law will allow intercourse between brothers and sisters if the lot chances to fall back that way and if the delegated priestess also gives her sanction.”

Now, this is substantially what Aristotle said. This is substantially also what many of the modern so called reformers have in mind. What is the principle here? There is much reference here to religion and to marriage ceremonies, sacrifices and prayers. The principle of course is that the state is God. It is the ultimate order, it is the working God of the system. Therefore the state can order abortion, infanticide, and incest, whenever it so deems advisable. There is no law beyond the state, and whatever the state decrees is therefore ipso facto morally right. Total statism.

This was the world into which the early church moved. On all sides there was this total permissibility in so far as the state decreed it was advisable. But the church condemns abortion from the very beginning! From it’s earliest days. For example the apostolic constitutions declared “Thou shalt not slay the child by causing abortion nor kill back that which is begotten, for everything that is shaped and has received a soul from God if it be slain shall be avenged as being unjustly destroyed, according to Exodus 21:23.”

Tertullian[?} for example declared that “To hinder a birth is merely a kind of man killing, nor does it matter if you take away a life that is born or destroy one that is coming to birth. That is a man which is going to be one, you have the fruit already in the seed.” Thus very early the church took a stand, in fact it would take a sizable volume just to quote the various statements of the early church fathers and of the various church councils against abortion. It was declared to be murder.

This attitude prevailed until recent years, but the modern attitude has been increasingly permissive. Beginning in the latter half of the last century some scholars began to say that there was nothing ultimately wrong with abortion, that in fact the main reason for it was not sin or murder, but it was poverty. In fact, A. E. Crawley, a distinguished anthropologist of the last century and the beginning of this century maintained and I quote: “Often as not, the sole reason is poverty.” Unquote.

Havelock Ellis saw civilization as leading to a decrease in abortion as life became more rational and scientific, and he declared that “It was not a sin, but just a primitive remedy for economic distress and for reckless sexual behavior.” But abortions have not decreased but they have increased with the spread of rationalism and science. [00:15:55]

As a matter of fact in ...

As a matter of fact in 1946 there was the very startling I. Nesburns abortion case in San Francisco, and the records that there were seized at that time indicated a very startling fact. The annual birth at that time in San Francisco were approximately 1600, the annual abortions, 18,000. Since then the ratio has increased markedly in favor of abortions, and the various states that have liberalized abortion laws have not found any decrease as has been admitted within the past two or three weeks in the number of illegal abortions. With the 1960’s an extensive program was begun, to gain the so called woman’s right to abortion with the U.S. public health association leading the way in the campaign.

It was pointed out that in the soviet union it was legal and that much needs to done to bring us up to the times. The courts themselves had been leading the way in recognizing these so called rights. In recognizing this so called right. Just recently, in New York, Mrs. Robert Stewart won a case against a hospital when they refused her an abortion after she had had measles and the child was born defective. She won a very sizable award against the hospital, which demonstrates the direction the law is taking.

And yet, it is interesting that at the same time, studies in primitive societies and abortion in these societies has been most telling against abortion! Even though the scholars like Doctor George Deberiou who report these findings are not particularly favorable to the Christian perspective. According to Doctor Deberiou for example; in these primitive societies the purpose of abortion seems to be revenge against the father, hatred of responsibility-- he quotes the {?} as saying “Children are a burden and we get tired of them. They destroy us.”--, as analog to suicide, as hatred of life and as hatred of men. And the motivation in very many cases is, he says, the preservation of beauty and the continued enjoyment of freedom and responsibility. And yet, interestingly enough Doctor deberiou has a chapter in this report on these primitive societies titled The Eschatology of the Fetus[?]. [00:18:57]

In other words, even these primitive societies believed...

In other words, even these primitive societies believed that they are committing murder. And so they have various stories about the afterlife of these murdered ones. The situation today then is very, very critical, and very little attention is being paid to the objections that are being raised by some outstanding doctors. For example, a very important article which gains too little attention was written by doctor A.C. Midas of the U.C.L.A. medical schools together with his brother and published in the American Bar Association journal, and here is the resume of that article. They, the brothers, said: “Those who deplore the loss of five to ten thousand mothers annually in illegal abortions ignore the one million or more unborn children sacrificed in the process of this massive assault on human life. The brothers said that some persons would justify abortion in the case of unborn infants that would be born crippled or defective.

“Would any reputable doctor propose”, they said, “to try living cripples or mental or physical defectives? Incomparable ex parte proceedings.... start by eliminating senile parents, then the millions of blind persons. Move on to all who are bedridden, then those confined to wheelchairs, and finally those who use crutches. Proceed a gradually with a disposition of the millions who wear spectacles, who have braces, use hearing aids, are equipped with false feet, are too stout or too thin. Where draw the line between acceptable and the unacceptable of fitness?!” the Midas brothers asked. “No human being is perfect, would the world moreover really be a better place after the destruction of the millions of defective individuals? Has the world gained or lost from the services of the epileptic Michael Angelo or the deaf Edison, or the hunchback Stimeds[?], or the Roosevelt’s --both the asthmatic Theodore or the polio paralyzed Franklin--, it must be recognized abortion laws would logically be followed by {?} or legalized euthanization. [00:21:33]

The attack on life is essentially the same...

The attack on life is essentially the same.” they said. Unquote. And that of course is an excellent statement from a medical perspective of the Christian stance. Abortion places life under man and the state rather than under God. And the demand for abortion is antinomian to the core. It was very revealing that just this past week in New York when a legislative committee was holding hearings on the subject the meeting was broken up by a mob of young women. They entered, screeching and declaring they were tired of listening to men debate something that was a primary concern to women. And they shouted, what right to you men have to tell us whether we can or cannot have a child? Now that states the issue very, very tellingly.

What right? In other words, what these women were saying was that unless you could experience childbirth you have no right to legislate. Law is then derived from experience, and if you follow this to its logical conclusion then you must say no one who has not committed a murder has the right to legislate about murder. And those of us who have never thought of murder re disqualified then from legislating in this area. Only those who’ve experienced something then can legislate according to this perspective. Can anything be more deadly to law?

In other words the modern humanistic position says that the only ground for any law is experience. We began by citing someone writing in Christianity Today which is the Billy Graham voice more or less, who came from Dallas Theological Seminary, a premillennial dispensationalist school, saying that abortion is permissible and why not? Their perspective again is experience. Experiential religion, you have to have a revival experience or you’re not a Christian. In other words, the test is again experience; not the work, not the act, not the law of God! And wherever you shift things from the law word of God to experience, you become antinomian and you destroy everything. [00:24:30]

So whether you are an open atheist --like these women...

So whether you are an open atheist --like these women-- and leftist, or whether you are someone from Dallas Theological seminary or Christianity Today, when you shift the ground to experience you are anti God. We must say therefore, that men who cannot bear children can legislate concerning childbirth because the principle of law is not our experience but the law word of God. In this and in every realm. Let us pray.

Our Lord and our God we give thanks unto thee for our law word. And we pray our Father that in these days as men make an assault on and on the life of man in every domain, Thou wouldst make us strong in Thee that we may once again establish Godly law and order. Confound, we beseech thee, these wicked ones. And frustrated their endeavors, and use us mightily unto the end that we may reestablish this end on the foundation of thy word. Bless us to this purpose in Jesus name, Amen. [00:26:10]

Are there any questions now? With respect to our lesson...

Are there any questions now? With respect to our lesson first of all. Yes?

[audience member speaks unintelligibly]

It’s an entirely different subject. We won’t deal with it at this time. Yes?

[audience member speaks unintelligibly]

She is. She is guilty of murder. Right. Yes. You see, this says that even where it is an accident there is guilt whether it is on the part of the woman or someone else. The guilt is all the more inescapable. Yes?

[audience member speaks unintelligibly]

This is a question that has been extensively debated in Catholic theological circles, I hesitate to legislate in such an area because first of all, I don’t have the confidence... and second, I think this is an area where Christian doctors should do some thinking and exploring in terms of the principle here. First of all I think we greatly exaggerate such cases, I think they rarely if ever occur and I think too often these cases are brought up as a toe hold to try to break down the fundamental principle in the law.

[audience member speaks unintelligibly]

I don’t know about that but I do know that about the only good statements against it came from the medical profession also and I quoted this one. The churches by and didn’t say much. Had the churches protestant and catholic really spoken out, there would have been no problem. Yes? [00:29:42]

[audience member speaks unintelligibly]...

[audience member speaks unintelligibly]

Well, in the ten commandments remain these remain. Yes. Unless they can find some statement in the new Testament that clearly alters or reinterprets something there is no grounds in scripture for eliminating them. And the most obvious fact is that if this were true, what these people say, then why did the church through the centuries move in terms of this? Now, you can go back to the lifetime of some of the apostles like John and you find them speaking along these lines. Some of the earliest church fathers. Now, if it had been taught that all this was done away with and there was no more law, there was something wrong with them that they didn’t know it! After all, they walked and talked with John and Paul and Peter and the others, and yet they never mentioned the fact that these laws were gone.

[audience member speaks unintelligibly]

They hinge it on the statement that we are dead unto the law when we die in Christ, but they forget to say that we are also made alive in Christ, no longer to be law breakers but to be alive unto the law as the righteousness of God. And it was Saint Paul who spoke about being dead to the law when we die with Christ in Romans 7, and then in Romans 8 when he speaks of us being made alive he says “Why? That the righteousness of God may be fulfilled in us.” So they are obviously perverting scripture. It is the heresy that was called at the reformation antinomianism, but now no one even thinks of this as a heresy any longer. [00:32:02]

If there are no more questions...

If there are no more questions... our time is rather limited, there are just a few things I’d like to pass on to you, first with respect to our study last week a very interesting point was made afterwards by Doctor Sandy with respect to datron it is very useful in surgery, in supplying new veins, that while it is... it sets up a reaction of allergy when it is used outside the body against the skin, this is not true when used internally. This takes us back to the principle that I cited last week, which deserves further exploration.

That barley and wheat cannot be planted together, they are too close, but barley or wheat can be planted in an orchard because they are not similar, they are dissimilar therefore they can be combined. So this is an area to be explored. Then, Miss Walker pointed out that her father had a feedlot in the middle west and found that the hybrid corns were rejected by the cows. They would not take them, and the only way he could get them to take it was to mix it with the regular corn. Now, I’d like to call your attention to something of importance that came over the Dow Jones[?]'s news service just this week, I believe on Thursday.

The treasury is exploring a possible request, that congress remodel instead of simply raised what department officials deem an outmoded ceiling on the national debt. While the precise plan isn’t yet, the basic idea is to exempt from the ceiling limitation all or part of the government debt. That is held by government trust funds. If the authority seek the maximum amount of relief possible on this basis it could mean that the statisticians could stop counting as public debt securities amounting to some 80 billion dollars as currently defined. The debt subject to the limit is about 363 billion dollars, and so on.

Now the significance of this is this. That, the debt ceiling is 365 billion unless congress rates it in which case we are bankrupt. It is now apparently only 800 million dollars from that limit and is bound to reach it within a matter of weeks. Now, this remodeling the public debt means canceling, in effect, some 80 billion dollars that the government owes to various government agencies, namely social security. The first step will be to say that all of this is not a debt, we owe it to ourselves. The next, to wipe it out entirely so that social security savings will have disappeared. In other words, they’re already spent but their counted as a debt by the treasury to social security. This is the first step towards canceling entirely that obligation. [00:35:38]

The next step would be after that would be to cancel...

The next step would be after that would be to cancel that which has been borrowed from insurance companies and other financial agencies.

Then this very interesting item which was handed to me from The Forecaster a weekly service by a consulting economist. And his reckoning on inflation is very modest, but he says from 1967 through the year 1968 Currency In Circulation, C.I.C., has increased over ten percent. Therefore CIC is ten percent less scarce in ‘68 then in ‘67. CIC increased from 46 billion to 50.5 billion. Let us take a speculative?] stock XYZ corporation, which earned a dollar and thirty per share in 1967 and repeated it’s performance in 1968, again earning a dollar thirty per share. Ahh but, the childish would say, earning the same in both years and I did not take a beating. But if you measure 1968 earnings against 1967 money, the true and real 68 earnings were thirteen cents less, or a dollar point seventeen, or a dollar seventeen cents per share. [00:37:04]

Why is this so? Simple, the unit of account has been...

Why is this so? Simple, the unit of account has been changed it was ten percent less scarce in 68, earning reports are made up in units of account. A sophisticated investor takes this into consideration just as a technician would take a change in measuring units into consideration. For example, from Troy ounces to {?}. So as he points out there is no true reckoning of the situation without a knowledge of the CIC, currency in circulation.

Now from that to a happier note, I was amused to read this last week of an old New England epitaph, I ran across this some years ago and forgot about it, ran across it in a history book just the other day. It’s an epitaph set up by a young widow. “Sacred to the memory of Mr. Jared Bates, who died August the 6’th, 1800s. His widow, aged 24 who mourns as one who can be comforted, lives at Elms Street this village and suffices every qualification for a good wife.” [general laughter ensues]

In this from the Ozarks some time ago from a very plain spoken Missouri preacher who was called upon professionally when a young man was bitten by a rattle snake. The parson offered up the following petition: “We thank thee O mighty God for thy watchful care over us, and thee goodness and thy tender mercy, and we especially thank thee for rattlesnakes. Thou hast sent one to bite John Weaver. We pray thee to send one to bite Jim, one to bite Henry, one to bite Sam, one to bite Bill, and we pray thee to send the biggest kind of rattle snake there is to bite the old man for nothing but rattlesnakes will ever bring the Weaver family to repentance. We pray to stir up Missouri and if nothing else will bring the people to repentance, we pray thee to send down more rattlesnakes. Amen.

And with that, we are adjourned.

[audio ends]