Abortion Before Roe v Wade - a question for the elders

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Ed B, Oct 31, 2012.

  1. Ed B

    Ed B
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    I know this is a very sensitive subject and as Baptists we know what the correct answer is on the issue of abortion. However, I have an observation and question about abortions for our older members and by older I mean > 70 years old.

    My cousin and I have compared notes about our father’s and their rather lenient stance on abortion. Both men have passed on and they both were professing Evangelical Christians. And yet they were both very much against outlawing abortions. They were raised in Oklahoma during the mid-30s thru the mid-50s. My uncle who was quite a bit older than my dad (at least 8 years) and he moved to Oregon in the early ‘50s. My father moved to Texas in the late ‘50s.

    My cousin (female) and I have compared notes on our father’s almost identical lenient stance on abortion. They both talked about back alley abortions and the horrors of that. My cousin would argue with her dad about the issue with her taking the strong pro-life stance but uncle Don insisted that it should not be outlawed because of those back-alley abortions. We are convinced that they saw traumatic things in their childhood related to back alley abortions. Perhaps it involved family members. There were two great aunts who married and were successful in every material way but they were both childless. I wonder if they might have been a victim of one of those illegal abortions which went badly. Whatever it was that they saw or knew we are convinced it was traumatic. I had almost identical debates with my father and the distance between our families prevented our separate family debates from influencing one another. It was only after my Father’s death and my subsequent conversations with my cousin that we realized just how common the stories and the opinions of our father’s were.

    My question for our elders here in this community is do you have memories or first/second hand knowledge of the “horrors” of these illegal abortions and can you provide us with perspective that anyone born in the ‘60s and after simply could not have experienced or fully appreciate? It is very easy to reduce these questions to sound bites and “bumper-sticker” slogans. While I remain firmly pro-life I think I do the debate and the sincere, rational people on the other side a disservice if I don’t try to understand their point of view especially from those who lived in the pre-Roe v Wade era.


    Thank you
     
    #1 Ed B, Oct 31, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 31, 2012
  2. Ryan.Samples

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    Thank you for asking this question! I hope someone out there will be able to chime in, as I am likewise interested in hearing some feedback on the matter.
     
  3. Mexdeaf

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    I'm 14 years shy of being 70 but I will say this- the problem wasn't the abortions. The problem was churches that weren't willing to stand up and provide alternatives such as adoption.

    It was a scandalous thing to become pregnant outside of marriage back in those days, and it was much easier to just paste the scarlet letter on those who did so rather than minister to them and their offspring.
     
  4. Mexdeaf

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    This article touches a bit on the history:

    http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/r...icles-and-addresses/an-ex-abortionist-speaks/

    "We persuaded the media that the cause of permissive abortion was a liberal enlightened, sophisticated one. Knowing that if a true poll were taken, we would be soundly defeated, we simply fabricated the results of fictional polls. We announced to the media that we had taken polls and that 60% of Americans were in favor of permissive abortion. This is the tactic of the self-fulfilling lie. Few people care to be in the minority. We aroused enough sympathy to sell our program of permissive abortion by fabricating the number of illegal abortions done annually in the U.S. The actual figure was approaching 100,000 but the figure we gave to the media repeatedly was 1,000,000. Repeating the big lie often enough convinces the public. The number of women dying from illegal abortions was around 200 - 250 annually. The figure constantly fed to the media was 10,000. These false figures took root in the consciousness of Americans convincing many that we needed to crack the abortion law. Another myth we fed to the public through the media was that legalizing abortion would only mean that the abortions taking place illegally would then be done legally. In fact, of course, abortion is now being used as a primary method of birth control in the U.S. and the annual number of abortions has increased by 1500% since legalization."
     
  5. humblethinker

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    I believe the SBC had some resolutions in the 1970's in support of Roe v Wade decision and a very moderated/accepting stance on abortion.

    I believe that W.A. Criswell also expressed similar ideas.
     
  6. gb93433

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    Just because people get drunk does that mean we should be lenient on drunks especially when they drink and drive and kill someone. Some in Baptist leadership at that time believed life did not begin at conception but when the baby was born alive.
     
  7. SolaSaint

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    I was adopted at one week old in 1958, I'm very happy that my birth mother didn't opt for abortion. Not sure if she was detered by the law or was pro-life. I think she was pro-life, she had several children and all were adopted out At birth. Never met her.
     
  8. Ed B

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    Hello Rick, I am very glad you birth mother opted for adoption too.
     
  9. exscentric

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    72 here and when about ten the chiropractor across the street and down a couple houses got arrested for doing abortions (Woman). It was kind of hushed in small town NE, didn't hear anything about it. My folks were disgusted, father was not a believer and mom - well maybe, maybe not. I heard nothing about it before so she must have been doing them in a modestly good way or she would have been arrested way sooner.

    Even into the 60's pregnant out of wedlock was not acceptable though things were turning a little on that subject. Pastors seemed to realize problems happen and that there is life after sin and tried to assist the girl/couple in doing what was right.

    Actually I personally thought little about abortion for many years. I had little interest in spiritual things of a regenerate nature (was raised in a Christian church but never heard the gospel).
     
  10. saturneptune

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    Having grown up in that era, it is a fact that the illegal abortions at the time were a nightmare, as it put two lives in danger instead of one. However, abortion was murder in 1962 as it is in 2012. The fact abortion is legal and safe now has nothing to do with the issue. Perhaps before abortion was legalized, the harsh attitude towards out of wedlock pregancies contributed to the problem, or the mindset to sweep it under the rug encouraged women not to seek help in raising their child or adopt, but nothing is an excuse for murder.

    One sin leads to another. Everyone knows the consequences when having sex in the back seat on a date. There is no mystery about that. It was a chance all who chose to do that took. Once pregnant, even back in the 50s and 60s, one could raise their own child or put the child up for adoption. As I said above, I believe the harsh, judgemental attitude at the time discouraged women from seeking help. There was no excuse fifty years ago of creating an atmosphere of "having to leave town" or seek an abortion. A life of a child is at stake, regardless of what the holier than thou community thought about the situation. Yes, we all know it was a sin, but there was no excuse in condemning a person to the degree that put the child's life in danger. Usually back then, those accusing the loudest were involved in their own sin, like adultry or being drunk, etc.

    Anyway, in that sense, things are better today, in that, even though sin has consequences, women can seek help without everyone pointing a finger. One thing is, with modern DNA tests, one finds the father, and he helps solve the problem.

    The bottom line is, no matter what year, murder is murder.
     
  11. Aaron

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    Could the similarity in the views of your father and his brother be due less to their time in history than in the training and indoctrination they received, i.e. their upbringing?
     
  12. Oldtimer

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    I'm 67 now, so I'll weight in with my 2-cents.

    In the days before birth control bills and legal abortions, there were few out of wedlock babies born around here. Girls and boys (men and women) knew the consequences of pre-marital sex. A shotgun wedding, a visit to Aunt Betty for a few months, or a life threating visit to someone with a coathanger wire.

    Additionally, it was expected that a girl would leave school when her pregnancy began to show. Along with that, a sense of shame was associated with giving birth outside of marriage. Much like the shame people used to experience when they got caught breaking moral or legal laws. It was shameful to get caught shop-lifting, cheating on tests, jailed for being drunk in public, etc. & etc.

    Parents and teenagers knew the consequences that could result from sin. Parents had the responsibility to teach their children. I remember the "lectures" that I received when I was old enough to understand what my responsibilities would be if I got "caught" doing what I shouldn't be doing. Parents had the responsibility to monitor their children's activities. To put limits on what they would permit. To instill in children the necessity of children earning trust from their parents.

    Parents also assumed some degree of responsibility towards the children of other parents, too. It took me a while to realize just how my folks knew that I'd been seen somewhere I shouldn't have been, doing something I shouldn't have been doing. There were consequences to be suffered when that happened.

    Pills and abortions have removed the earthly consequences. FWIW, I've watched the change since the 1960's. For so much where there used to be a few, there are now many. Biblical condem has progressed to tolerate to condone over these years. Today, it's openly and loudly condemnation of a Christian if he or she doesn't condone abominations to our Lord.
     
  13. Jerome

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    June 4, 1971 Baptists Ask Legalization of Abortion in Some Cases

    ST. LOUIS, MO. (UPI) — The Southern Baptist Convention Wednesday called for legalization of abortion in certain cases, including those where there was "carefully ascertained evidence of the likelihood of damage to the emotional, mental and physical health of the mother."
    A spokesman for the convention's 114th annual meeting said it was the first time the group had taken a stand on the abortion issue.
    A resolution on the controversial issue was presented last year at the convention in Denver but was buried in committee, he said.
    The resolution, adopted by a show of hands, was sponsored by Rev. Larry Maddox, pastor of Maywood Baptist Church in Independence, Mo. The convention spokesman, Jim Newton, said it was approved with no major changes from the form in which it was reported from the resolutions committee, although two attempts were made to weaken it.
     
  14. Ed B

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    Thanks for the reply

    Very unlikely that any conscious or deliberate training or upbringing regarding that question had any impact on them. The family was totally screwed up and they were basically raised by different people. My older uncle left home at 14 for good, worked the wheat harvest north and then headed West to Oregon. My father spent most of his childhood in an orphanage - from about 6 until about 15. There is way more to it than that. The common thread was they both knew severe poverty and severe abuse. My grandmother was encouraged to abort my father because of their poverty and because they already had three children that they couldn't feed. She obviously refused.
     
    #14 Ed B, Nov 1, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 1, 2012
  15. Jim1999

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    In Canada, the evangelical churches essentially denied abortions. If an abortion was to take place, it took three medical doctors to approve it for medical reasons. If it was approved, it took place in a hospital.

    To-day, society has become so loose, abortions are rampant and done on request.

    My motto has always been, "Abortion if necessary, but not necessarily abortion."

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  16. Ed B

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    Thanks Oldtimer for your perspective and the comments.
     
  17. Aaron

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    I think this pretty much explains their views.
     
  18. Ed B

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    It would seem that the legalization of abortion eventually provided the slap in the face that our churches needed to work at restoring or converting the sinner instead of shaming her (and him) into abortion or banishment.
     
  19. Ed B

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    Exscentric, thanks for sharing your experience and perspective.
     
  20. saturneptune

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    Ed,
    Thanks for the post. It brings the issue to real life instead of just being against it. I realize it is easy to be pro life if one never had to deal with it personally.
     

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