Frameworks of Thought

My blog posts are normally focused on spreading the gospel, in particular to the general population of New Jersey. But today I’ve decided to weigh in on the raging pro-life versus pro-choice controversy to see if I can get a clearer picture of what is going on. I’m doing this primarily for my own benefit, to try and understand the intensity of emotions that are associated with this topic.

To bring clarity to the discussion it seemed necessary to determine the actual scope of the phenomenon of abortion in the world today. Is it merely a peripheral issue, as some people believe? Is it a matter of re-hashing old legal arguments that have already been settled once and for all? Is it a matter of ultra-conservatives struggling against left-wing radical extremists? Is it a rare and private departure from the norm of human behavior?

Searching the internet for information on this topic led me to the Guttmacher Institute’s website, where I learned a great deal about abortion in the world today. I immediately discovered, for instance, that over the entire earth, between the years 2015 and 2019, roughly 73 million unintended pregnancies ended in abortion, per year. Assuming that 2020 was no different, simple math reveals that 365 million abortions have been performed worldwide over the past 5 years to terminate unintended pregnancies. Whether these were medical emergencies where the mother’s life was at risk, or purely elective abortions, was not specified.

Prior to 1970, most countries (although not all) had laws outlawing abortion. Presumably, the number of abortions being performed at that time was much lower, and for the sake of this article I have assumed it was negligible, close to zero. (The number was certainly higher, but I couldn’t find any data to make an accurate estimate.) Therefore, to graph the number of abortions performed between 1970 and 2015, a triangle starting at zero in 1970 and rising to 73 million in 2015 would indicate that 1.642 billion abortions were performed during the 45 years prior to 2015. Adding that figure to the 365 million abortions performed since 2015 yields a total of roughly two billion abortions performed worldwide over the last 50 years, according to data supplied by the Guttmacher Institute.

Whether a person thinks abortion is a safe and necessary means of population control and a mercy to struggling women, or whether another person thinks this is the greatest case of mass genocide in the history of the world, still, in either case, two billion represents a number of individual souls greater than one quarter of the entire population of the world, currently estimated to be around 7.8 billion people. Two billion children is twice the total population of the entire Western Hemisphere (North, South, and Central America combined). This is a very large number of human beings by anyone’s count.

The Guttmacher Institute also keeps track of laws governing abortion across the globe.  According to their data, there are six nations on earth that still outlaw abortion completely, six nations out of a total of two hundred and twenty. Two hundred and fourteen nations, or 97% of the world’s governments, currently allow abortion in one form or another.

The United States was certainly not the first nation to legalize abortion. Russia, for instance, legalized abortion back in 1920, and many other nations followed suit. But the SCOTUS decision in 1973 was particularly instructive because of the train of thought that was employed in the decision making process. The website offers a really helpful summary of what we need to know about Roe v. Wade.  To summarize the summary, the court’s decision boiled down to two things: 1) It was impossible to determine when life begins in the womb, so the fetus could not be considered a person, that is, a person who was entitled to protection under the Constitution, and 2) The woman, and only the woman, had an absolute right to determine the fate of her unborn fetus. It was her own private decision to make.

Hillary Clinton, speaking about this during her 2015 bid for the presidency, said, “Under current law, as it now stands, an unborn fetus has no legal rights or protections under the U.S. Constitution. Furthermore, under current law it is a woman’s absolute legal right to choose an abortion.” She wasn’t being nasty or vindictive or cruel. She was simply stating true legal facts that needed to be recognized.

As a thinking person, of course, I find the SCOTUS arguments troubling.  What follows are my own private thoughts with regard to the data I have just cited, and I don’t mean to go off on a rant, but the current legal framework of thought is not the only framework of thought that exists. Biology has an equally valid framework of thought. Genealogy has a framework of thought. Cultural anthropology has a framework of thought.  Astrophysics has a framework of thought. People who rise to prominence in any of these disciplines are considered experts. They have competence to speak authoritatively in their field of knowledge. Their input should be weighed carefully and they should be given the deference they deserves. It would be highly irregular for a chemist, for instance, to make a pronouncement that contradicted a known fact of geology.

If an astrophysicist were to discover a tiny carbon chain in a space rock, he would immediately declare the existence of life in outer space. Similarly, a biologist has no trouble determining when human life begins. It begins when a male sperm unites with a female egg. The resulting child has a completely unique DNA, beginning immediately. That child has two parents who are absolutely responsible for the child’s conception. Likewise, that child has two sets of grandparents and four sets of great-grandparents. These facts are taught and understood in ninth grade biology.

Ancestry, or genealogy, follows the same logic, attaching actual names to the individuals involved. I have been able to trace my father’s ancestry back five generations to the mid 1700’s, and I was surprised to discover that in five generations, each person has 62 adults in his or her direct bloodline, not counting siblings or aunts and uncles. Everyone has parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, etc. Why does this matter?  It matters because each of those adults made a decision to do what was required for the transmission of human life.  They were glad to participate, they knew what they were doing, and they knew they were accountable for the outcome.

Although some of those adults may not have taken their responsibilities seriously, a cultural anthropologist would understand that there has always been an expectation that the immediate blood relatives need to protect and nurture new members of their own family.  While most of the bloodline would be long dead at the time of a child’s conception, there are, almost always, six adult direct blood relatives alive at that time: a father, a mother, and two sets of grandparents. This is considered to be the child’s support team. Six adults. To an anthropologist, the idea that giving life is somehow solely the choice and decision of the mother would be a completely strange and novel concept.

So, despite the contradictory and irregular pronouncements of certain SCOTUS judges speaking outside of their field of competence, I think we should defer to the biologist to determine when human life begins, and to the anthropologist to determine who is responsible for the fate of the child.

With regard to the propagation of the human race, in a perfect world, in all cultures across the earth, all six adults, the parents and grandparents, would hover around a developing child from the moment of its conception, providing support, protection, education and love throughout the child’s lifetime.

In an imperfect world, for many reasons, some of those adults might be missing, and the responsibility for the child’s care would be assumed by others.

In a dystopian world, all six adults would turn their backs on the child and refuse to take any responsibility whatsoever, thus rendering a unanimous decision for abortion.

It is hard to believe, but two billion abortions must require the permission, or at least the tacit agreement, of twelve billion living adult blood relatives, a six-to-one ratio.

Yes, this seems like a ridiculously huge number. The point I’m trying to make is that abortion in the world today is not being driven by some left wing radical fringe, nor is it peripheral to the many important cares and concerns of the human race.  The complete freedom to choose abortion without fear of reprisal or punishment is mainstream thinking for almost the entire human race with very little exception or opposition, and has been for the past 50 years. Those who oppose it are in fact on the fringe. That would help to explain why seven (of the nine) Supreme Court justices, highly intelligent men who knew the facts of life, searched so frantically through the Constitution back in 1973 to provide a path for abortion, on the flimsiest of legal precedent. The decision, I believe, had already been made for them, and has now been ratified by twelve billion adults and 97% of the world’s governments. That’s basically the entire population of the earth, those who have lived over the past 50 years, and those who are alive now.

We, the human race, have collectively chosen to eliminate a significant portion of our population through the process of abortion. This is a fact. We wanted abortion, we have given ourselves permission for abortion, and we will continue to press for unrestricted abortion. Some politicians actually make that a central part of their platform. We have evidently created such a toxic world that killing our own children seems to be the best solution to our problems.  And somehow we have managed to put the full responsibility for this decision completely onto our young pregnant daughters while the rest of us go off scot-free.

People like myself, the ones who are slowly waking up to these realities, clearly need to take some action, and join with the ones who have been fighting this battle for decades. We should join the resistance, and fight for a reversal of unjust laws, and continue to march on Washington each year, and pray for an end to abortion.

But in addition, I believe we should double down on our efforts to spread the gospel. I’m completely serious when I say:

“Print up seven billion copies of the gospel of Jesus Christ,

 and pass them out everywhere.”

Jesus, the master of the universe, certainly tried to talk some sense into the leaders of his day. He argued with them and reasoned with them and pointed out the inconsistencies in their thinking.

But he spent most of his time setting up a new society, which he called “The Kingdom of God”.  The Kingdom of God is society with a leader who knows what He is doing, and a framework of thought all it’s own, stretching back to the dawn of history, and looking far into the future and beyond. Whereas this framework of thought sometimes nudges science, and occasionally challenges customs and norms, it has frequently and dramatically come into direct conflict with human law. The Kingdom of God seems to have singled out the “legal framework of thought” for particular scrutiny and harsh judgment. I’m not speaking about the work of an individual lawyer or judge or legislator. I’m talking about an important branch of human thought that has been captured and twisted by the human race to justify a whole range of irresponsible and destructive behaviors that often unfortunately end in abortion.

God’s kingdom on earth is precisely what the human race needs at this darkest hour. If I’m not mistaken, those tiny little sixty-page books, The Gospels, are the official invitations to join the Kingdom of God. They also serve as the front door through which a curious and frightened individual can enter and find a brand new beginning.

I’m stuck on this idea:

“Print up seven billion copies of the gospel of Jesus Christ,

 and pass them out everywhere.”