Ancient Child Sacrifice And Abortion -- By: Andrew White

Journal: Bible and Spade (Second Run)
Volume: BSPADE 25:1 (Winter 2012)
Article: Ancient Child Sacrifice And Abortion
Author: Andrew White


Ancient Child Sacrifice And Abortion

Andrew White

Parallels Of Abortion And Child Sacrifice

At the risk on the one hand of pointing out obvious parallels and on the other hand of suggesting parallels which some may say are forced, we compare the ancient practice of child sacrifice with the modern practice of abortion. However, before going any further it should be noted that the parallels between the two have been recognized for centuries. The Church Father, Tertullian of Carthage (160-220 AD), commenting on the Roman practice of infanticide by comparing it to the Carthaginian practice of child sacrifice, admonishes:

...there is no difference as to baby killing whether you do it as a sacred rite or just because you choose to do it.

For us murder is once for all forbidden; so even the child in the womb, while yet the mother’s blood is still being drawn on to form the human being, it is not lawful to destroy. To forbid birth is only quicker murder. It makes no difference whether one take away the life once born or destroy it as it comes to birth. He is a man, who is to be a man, the fruit is always present in the seed.1

The most obvious parallel between the rite of child sacrifice and the practice of abortion is the sober fact that the parents actually kill their own offspring. There are however many other parallels. At Carthage, the main reason for sacrificing a child was to avert potential dangers in a crisis or to gain success through fulfilling a vow.2 Today many times when a woman faces an unwanted pregnancy, abortion seems to be the only way to resolve the crisis she finds herself in. The potential danger to reputation, education, career, etc., becomes overwhelming. To avert the seemingly terrifying consequences of carrying a pregnancy to term, the woman may turn to abortion as a means of escape. Another woman may experience much less of the anxiety and fear that accompany a crisis. She may simply see the pregnancy as an intrusion into her self-serving lifestyle and an obstacle in the way of the road to her success. Sadly, this woman’s offspring must be sacrificed so that she can continue uninterrupted with her plans for the future.3

It is no secret that in American society extramarital sexual intercourse (fornication and adultery) is the cause of most pregnancies that end in abortion.4 Pregnancy is a risk many are willing to take knowing that any undesired consequences can be eliminated by abortion. Theologian Carl Henry recognizes this fact in calling abortion ...

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