Slavery and the Abolition of Abortion; Are We Really Morally Superior to Our 19th Century Fore Fathers?

Why Only Christians Can and Should Stop Abortion

“For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole Earth, to show Himself strong on the behalf of them whose hearts are devoted to Him.” 1 Chronicles 16;9

The arguments for abortion and what are called abortion rights are alarmingly like, if not identical, to those used justify the African slave trade almost two centuries ago. For example in the Dred Scott decision, the Supreme Court ruled;

“… a negro, whose ancestors were imported into this country, and sold as slaves. . . were not intended to be included under the word ‘citizens’ in the Constitution, and can, therefore, claim none of the rights and privileges which that instrument provides for and secures to citizens of the United States.” Dred Scott, 1857

And in the Roe vs. Wade 1973 Supreme Court Decision ;

“The word ‘person,’ as used in the Fourteenth Amendment, does not include the unborn…. [T]he unborn have never been recognized in the law as persons in the whole sense.”

In the Dred Scott case of 1857 the Supreme Court said:

A slave is the property of the master and the Constitution has “provided for the protection of private property against the encroachments of the Government.”

Roe vs. Wade decreed;

This right of privacy… is broad enough to encompass a woman’s decision whether or not to terminate her pregnancy.”

In the Dred Scott case of 1857;

“…that unfortunate race…had for more than a century before been regarded as beings of an inferior order [and] they had no rights which the white man was bound to respect.”

And Roe vs. Wade;

“…abortion was practiced in Greek times as well as in the Roman Era…. Greek and Roman law afforded little protection to the unborn.”

In the Dred Scott case ;

“…the negro might justly and lawfully be reduced to slavery for his benefit.”

Roe vs. Wade;

“There is also the distress for all concerned, associated with the unwanted child, and there is the problem of bringing a child into a family unable, psychologically, and otherwise to care for it.”

In other words both Slavery and Abortion were justified by the Supreme Court because; the slave was enslaved and the child “terminated” for their own good, or for reasons of privacy or property or because they didn’t fit the description of  persons or citizens under Constitutional definitions, or for reasons of historical precedent, ( the blacks had been enslaved in a previous era or because the Romans and Greeks practiced abortion and infanticide.) The reasoning is for all intent and purposes, the same.

Often it is said by Christians, that we should concentrate on teaching Creation and refuting evolution more heartily, to which I would agree. Or they say, it’s not really wrong, because these girls don’t know what they’re doing, which is at least partly true. Others that we as Christians have no responsibility in defending the rights of the unborn, pagan nations kill their baby’s and it’s not our job to change the culture. That also may be partly true. And I want to make it clear that I in no way wish to punish or condemn the women and girls who for a variety of reasons, have taken the carrot stick offered by a decadent society and given in to abortion.

But none of these truths, or partial truths, do much for the baby.

And I for one am glad that the Christian folk of the late 1700’s thru the end of the 19th century didn’t take any of these positions or attitudes on slavery. I take pride in the fact that it was my Christian forefathers and they alone, that first seriously challenged the African slave trade. And like various Christian and Jewish leaders of the middle ages and  before, they based their arguments on the Scriptures, starting with Moses, and on the writings of the Jewish Talmud. And while the Torah, and New Testament and Talmudists never dealt with a trade like the African, and stopped short of banning all slavery, they all recognized the personhood of the slave and passed laws to protect them.

Students today often learn of the mistreatment of the Native Americans by the Spanish Conquistadors  and North American “Expansionists” but they are not told that many Popes issued strong warnings and admonitions against the Spanish exploiters and even threatened to excommunicate them, though often to no avail. Nor do they learn actual history of how many like Crockett, Boone and Houston often fought for Native American rights just as hard as they fought the Indians during wars caused by the expansion of Europeans into Indian territories. And held no rancor towards the Indians even though they all lost family to Indian raids and sometimes torture. Nor are they told that slave trading was pretty much outlawed by the church by the middle of the “dark ages”.

Let the skeptics and critics say what they will, outside of the Judeo-Christian ethic, no where  in history did anybody else lift a finger to help slaves. Let alone recognize their rights or outlaw the act of slavery.

But why would anybody else condemn the act of slavery or abortion? (other than the slaves or babies themselves) Under what rationale? Even if people reject evolution, as many are now doing, that doesn’t mean that they accept that the God of Torah is the Creator. Many now believe we are descendants of life planted by space aliens. Only the Bible teaches that all humanity is made in God’s image, and therefore endowed with certain rights which cannot be easily cast aside. No one else has any reason to take up the defense of the life of the unborn. Therefore, just as in the slavery issue, abortion will not be stopped unless Christians make the effort to stop it.

Interestingly enough, Congress has already recognized that humans are human from the point of conception;

“Physicians, biologists, and other scientists agree that conception [they defined fertilization and conception to be the same] marks the beginning of the life of a human being — a being that is alive and is a member of the human species. There is overwhelming agreement on this point in countless medical, biological, and scientific writings. (1)

(1) Report, Subcommittee on Separation of Powers to Senate Judiciary Committee S-158, 97th Congress, 1st Session 1981, p. 7 On pages 7-9, the report lists a “limited sample” of 13 medical textbooks, all of which state categorically that the life of an individual human begins at conception.

Yale, and dozens of other universities, which are hostile witnesses, have also declared that from even a “scientific” consensus, babies are human from conception. They don’t care if the babies are human or not.

The arguments brought against the abolition of abortion today are no better than those brought against the abolition of Slavery, yesterday. The God of the abolition of slavery is no less powerful today than He was 100 or 200 years ago. He doesn’t age or wax less powerful with time.  Personally, I think unbelievers know it’s wrong, but they have no real moral rationale nor the Holy Spirit to give them a reason to rise up and take a stand.

Therefore, if  the practice of aborting unborn babies is going to be stopped, it will have to be stopped by a people who have a moral background and foundation for doing so. It will have to be stopped by Christians.


About notmanynoble

woodcutter from Washington State
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10 Responses to Slavery and the Abolition of Abortion; Are We Really Morally Superior to Our 19th Century Fore Fathers?

  1. Amber says:

    Most people don’t believe that abortion and slavery have anything to do with each other, but they do. And what you said here was said very well. Though I don’t completely agree. Yes, I agree that we as Christians need to stand up and fight abortion, and I believe as God’s children we have an obligation to do so. But I don’t believe that ONLY Christians can and should. There are many people out there who are not Christians yet are pro-life, and are taking a stand and fighting this. Christians probably greatly outnumber them, but I’m just saying that there are people who care. I think sometimes (and I’m not blaming you or even just talking about abortion, but about many people and many things in general) as Christians we think that non-believers don’t care about the things we care about or don’t appreciate life or morals. But there are some caring, good moraled people out there, I’ve known a few.
    Anyways, God bless you and your love for life and I enjoyed reading this.


    • notmanynoble says:

      Amber, thank you for your kind comments. I actually do agree with you that many unbeleivers are well aware of right and wrong and that many do stand up for the right. The bible is very clear that God puts a conscience or sense of His moral laws in everyone and I’ve known many non Christians who were kinder and morally superior to myself either before or after I became a Christian. It’s just that, particularly in times of moral confusion like today, they have a much harder time taking decisive action or stances, particularly in an atomosphere of ” I would never judge” or “tolerance”. It’s just that in the face of the cares and affairs of this world and the difficulty in rising above their own cultures list of rights and wrongs, it is much more likely that they will ultimately just conform. Christians have both the Bible and the Holy Spirit to help them resist the cultural pressures, and that is why ultimately, even though it was a long time coming, they finally rose to the task and stopped the slave trade. God bless you also and thank you.


      • Amber says:

        You’re very right. tolerance is a big thing nowadays in the hearts of non Christians and even Christians alike and it’s very sad. But I think the most sad thing is the Christians who care (or at least say they care) yet don’t do anything about it. I myself and tired of seeing every Christian I know talk about how they hate abortion yet they don’t even try to make a difference. But what can you do besides pray for them and talk to them and hope they’ll open their eyes and realize that this is a real thing thats happening and needs to be stopped and those babies can’t afford us sitting on our butts doing nothing.


      • notmanynoble says:

        Prayer might be the most effective thing. During the 80’s we had all the abortion rescues in which thousands of Christians and some non-Christians showed themselves willing to go to jail and even be beaten, in order to take a stand on the issue. Those rescues while played down by the media, did have an effect on the conscience of the nation. I actually think this next generation may be willing to step up to the plate and take their turn at the bat. Naturally only God can raise them up and prayer is the best tool I know of for that.


  2. Lance Ponder says:

    I am with you completely. I’ve never done this kind of research, but it makes perfect sense. Slavery and abortion are related in other ways, too. But you really did a good job here!


    • notmanynoble says:

      Thank you, I appreciate it. It would be interesting to do more research, particularly on the legal similaries of the two issues.


      • Lance Ponder says:

        The other big correlation that comes to mind, and one that a number of Creationists have talked about, is the use of Darwinism, directly or indirectly, to support both of these practices. Both are tied into eugenics. In fact, Marg Sanger’s original intent was to target blacks for abortion due to her racist beliefs which were in turn driven by her views on eugenics – the whole master race thing. It makes perfect sense that there would be other similarities like those you’ve talked about because the arguments share a common foundational worldview.


      • notmanynoble says:

        Great point, Lance. the acceptance of Darwinism did play a major role in eugenics and thus abortion, as well as in slavery. Darwins attitude toward blacks in general was strongly flavored by his evolutionary ideas.


  3. TONY says:

    Great article, Mark. Excellent references and quotes delivered in a coherent and effective manner. Being that we are studying the value of human life this month for Creation Club, I will be using this article in the meetings and linking to it off the website. Thanks for another superb piece which addresses, once again, the heart of the matter.

    In Christ,



    • notmanynoble says:

      Thanks, Tony. Let me know when your creation club meetings are, so I give you guys some prayer support. It is a very important issue in which the church at large seems to have grown apathetic about in the last 20 years.


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