Sign up for email updates!


As Warned By Donna Howell and Allie Anderson in DARK COVENANT: WE ARE RE-PAGANIZING

Share this!

To mention abortion and infanticide in the same breath is a provocation. A majority of voters in Britain and America regard abortion as permissible in some circumstances, whereas very few are willing to say the same of infanticide (with some notable exceptions, as we will see). But this distinction has not been made by all peoples at all times. The anthropologist David F. Lancy describes the “far more common pattern”:Among the ancient Greeks and Romans sickly, unattractive, or unwanted infants were “exposed” or otherwise eliminated; the Chinese and Hindus of India have, since time immemorial, destroyed daughters at birth, to open the way for a new pregnancy and a more desirable male offspring; the Japanese likened infanticide to thinning the rice plants in their paddies; among foragers such as the Inuit or the Jivaro, unwanted babies were left to nature to claim. Modern technologies such as ultrasound allow us to identify undesirable characteristics (for instance, female sex or Down syndrome) earlier than our ancestors could, but the most common reasons given by women seeking abortions today—poverty, fetal disability, and simple unwantedness—were the same reasons given by mothers and fathers who killed their newborn infants in other times and places. Historical and anthropological accuracy therefore demands that we plot the acts of abortion and infanticide on a chronological continuum, since they have typically been performed for the same reasons and have been permitted in accordance with the same moral calculus. It was the arrival of Christianity that disrupted the Romans’ favored methods of keeping reproduction in check, with laws against infanticide, and then abortion, imposed by Christian emperors from the late fourth century…(READ MORE)

Category: Featured Articles