Abortion: a reading list...

Error message

Reading books is important. Put down your stupidmaking phone and pick up a book that will help in the godly work of learning discernment.

A brother wrote to ask for recommendations on abortion, so here's a list.

History is the key to the present and the following three books/articles provide a clear and objective account of how the work of destroying the sanctity of the marriage bed, then the murder of the unborn, newborn, feeble, and elderly, came about here in North America. On these fronts, Margaret Sanger is the woman you first want to understand.

Start then with David Kennedy's Birth Control in America: The Career of Margaret Sanger. There are anti-Sanger books around, but this is a Yale bio written with no axe to grind, and so the woman's wickedness and devious tactics come through crystal clear. Reading this bio will prepare you to...

see that Margaret Sanger had already established the pattern of revolution that Bernard Nathanson copied in legalizing abortion. I never saw or understood the hostility to children so prevalent in America until I read Kennedy on Sanger.

Next read Bernard Nathanson's Aborting America. As indicated above, here in the U.S., Nathanson was to the legalization of abortion what Sanger had been to the legalization of birth control. An OB/GYN who ran an abortuary in New York City, in 1974, the year after Roe v. Wade legalized abortion, Nathanson announced a change of heart in a letter to the editor in The New England Journal of Medicine (the American equivalent of the UK's The Lancet). In the letter, he confessed to being:

deeply troubled by my own increasing certainty that I had in fact presided over 60,000 deaths... There is no longer serious doubt in my mind that human life exists within the womb from the very onset of pregnancy.

Nathanson went on to write a book exposing the methods he and his fellow NARAL ghouls had used to get the Supreme Court to legalize abortion. One part of his account I've found extremely helpful across my lifetime is Nathanson's forthright confession that he and his fellow NARALers lied about the danger and deaths from illegal (what at the time were called "back alley") abortions. They all knew that, since the discovery of antibiotics, abortions by unlicensed medical workers were much safer with only a fraction of the deaths there had been beforehand. Yet over and over again they lied about it. As Nathanson puts it, they always spoke of "10,000" deaths per year while knowing full well the number was a bald faced lie. Why did they do it?

They believed their cause was righteous and thus their lies were justified.

I've often remembered his words when I watch feminists who claim the Name of Christ lie about the prevalence of domestic violence committed by women; by lesbian lovers, wives, and mothers. Also when I listen to and read the lies of the majority of Evangelical Bible scholars, now, who sinfully deny what Scripture clearly declares concerning God's Creation Order of Adam first, then Eve. More recently, I've been reminded of Nathanson's confession of deceit as I've watched the "gay Christian" movement promoted by celebrity pastors that is taking over conservative Reformed churches. Men who want to get on the latest social justice bandwagon and strike a blow for the latest fad in victimhood always, always lie—particularly about the suffering of those poor victims they claim to be serving so selflessly. They lie that male homosexual unions are monogamous. The lie that sexual orientation ia a real deal. They lie that malakoi refers merely to physical acts, and not identity...

But I've gotten off the subject.

Nathanson's book Aborting America is eye-opening and sickening. Written soon after his repentance for the 60,000 murders he had presided over, when he wrote the book Nathanson was still an atheist Jew. He continued to be so for many years, during which he was the leading voice against abortion in our nation. In time, though, Nathanson converted to Roman Catholicism and issued a new book titled The Hand of God: A Journey from Death to Life by The Abortion Doctor Who Changed His Mind. I haven't read this second work so I can't compare the two. The second is available for a lot less money, but I wonder if it contains the raw history and urgency of Aborting America? So I still recommend Aborting America. Nathanson went to meet his Lord in 2011 when he was eighty-four years old. His faithful witness against the bloodshed of innocents should be an enduring testimony to us all that it is the kindness of God that lead us to repentance—every one of us.

Third, my dear brother in Christ Fr. Paul Quay gave me a reprint of a two-part article written by his father, Eugene Quay. The first half of the elder Quay's article was published in the Winter, 1960 issue of The Georgetown Law Journal, and the second half in its Spring, 1961 issue. Eugene Quay was co-founder of The Georgetown Law Journal and a member of the prestigious and influential American Law Institute whose mission is ""to promote the clarification and simplification of the law and its better adaptation to social needs, to secure the better administration of justice, and to encourage and carry on scholarly and scientific legal work."

In the fifties, Eugene Quay saw the growing movement to work towards the legalization of abortion, and this long article titled, "Justifiable Abortion: Medical and Legal Foundations" is Quay's very public work among his peers opposing this movement.

I quote from a January, 1962 review of the Georgetown Law Journal piece by Quay. The review was published in The Illinois State Medical Journal:

Commenting on an abortion law drafted by the American Law Institute as a part of its proposed Model Penal Code, the author, himself a life member of the ALI, characterizes the statute as “a violent departure from all existing laws” and a denial of the traditional concern of all civilized societies since earliest times to protect the life of an unborn child.

Eugene Quay is prescient in this warning from his 1960/61 Georgetown pieces:

We cannot shut our eyes to the fact that Americans today are looking more and more to Government to define right and wrong for them. When the common judgment of moral laws and the welfare of the social and political community have been embodied in penal statutes which have over the years proved their place in the popular consciousness... the moral judgment becomes identified with the statutes. In that situation repeal takes on the character of a vindication of the acts which had been previously condemned.

Quay grasps a deep truth today's Reformed celebrity pastors and profs who called for the legalization of sodomy and presently are busy promoting the "gay Christian" LivingOut.org agenda seem incapable of seeing: that the removal of sodomy laws from our nation and the shame of sodomy from our churches is nothing less than a vindication of these wicked "acts which had been previously condemned" by God.

But I've gotten off the subject...

We find the beginnings of what became Quay's work in the Georgetown Law Journal several years later in this excerpt from The American Law Institute's 1959 Proceedings:

MR. QUAY: We stand in horror of totalitarianism as we see it in different parts of the world. We reject the claim of any state that it has in its predisposition the lives of all of the people, or of any single one of its people.

We were shocked by the slaughter of the Kulacks, we were shocked by the slaughter in the name of science at Dachau. We still malntain the right of every individual as a human being to retain his life as long as he is guiltless of any offense that would justify taking it.

That is equally true for the child, and the child still in the womb, in the case of a newly born child such as those in the days of my youth [who] were so commonly exposed by their mothers in China, in the case of a child or in the case of an adult. If the state wants to take the life of a human being at one stage, it can take the life of that individual at any other stage. I can see no difference, and I say the state does not have the authority and it cannot give it to any two medical men or men licensed to practice medicine.

 [T]his unborn child ...has done no wrong. It has simply followed the law of human nature, growing in the womb, inoffensive, doing no harm to anyone, simply waiting there patiently for the time when it will be ready to meet the mother's love and venture on a full life among fellow men.

Instead, it will never meet that love, but will have that life snuffed out before it has had a chance even to whimper a protest.

PRESIDENT TWEED: I don't want to deprive you of a day in court, but I doubt whether you have much support for your motion. I think we have got to move along as fast as we can. If you have got more support for your motion then (sic) I think you have, let us put it to the test.

[The motion was seconded.]

[The question was called for.]

MR. QUAY: Mr. President, as I say, the fundamental thing is that the state cannot give the authority to perform an abortion because it does not have the authority itself. Those lives are human lives, and are not the property of the state.

[The question was again called for.]

MR. QUAY: If there were such an authority in the state, this exercise of it in my opinion, viewed in the light of experience, is a ridiculous thing. But we are giving the right to impose a life or death sentence.

[The question was again called for.]

PRESIDENT TWEED: I am sorry to say it, but it is sort of a tradition that nobody speaks for more than five minutes on one point, and I think you have had your five minutes. If you would like a little more time, we will give it to you; but not very much.

MR. QUAY: I would like to say on the claim for medical justification, just a few words.

When the first of these statutes was enacted... 

Anyone who's ever stood for truth in a deliberative body—whether a meeting of a presbytery or general assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) or the Presbyterian Church in America—feels deeply the animosity pouring down upon Eugene Quay as he speaks up in defense beforehand of the now-some 50-100,000,000 little babies our nation has now slaughtered. If you won't take it as my promoting prayers for the dead, let me say God bless him and may his tribe increase—particularly among profs, docs, and attorneys.

If you'd like to read the reprint, you have two choices: you can purchase it from HEINONLINE (Part 1, Part 2); or you can e-mail me and we'll send you a scan of the original provided by Eugene Quay's son, Fr. Paul Quay.

Those are the three historical books I think most helpful. Now then, a few other recommendations and I'll be done:

Mortal Lessons: Notes on the Art of Surgery by Richard Selzer: this book includes a moving chapter on abortion you won't soon forget.

Aborted Women: Silent No More by David C. Reardon: the title tells you what you need to know. The book is long, but well done.

Abortion Rites: A Social History of Abortion in America by Marvin Olasky: I haven't read this, but I've heard it's good and have it in my library. The title tells you what you need to know.

The Unaborted Socrates by Peter Kreeft: I haven't read this, but I've heard it's good and have it in my library. The book takes the form of an imagined debate.

Supreme Court decisions Roe v. WadeWebster v. Reproductive Health Services, and Planned Parenthood v. Casey. There's no substitute for reading these decisions and seeing firsthand the depths to which the Supreme Court justices to whom we have delegated the work of defending the rule of law in our nation have sunk the past half-century in their desperation to legalize and defend their slaughter of 50,000,000 babies snugly sleeping in their mother's womb. Don't skip the dissenting and consenting opinions in these cases.

Pro-Life Answers to Pro-Choice Arguments by Randy Alcorn: I haven't read this, but I've heard it's good and I trust Randy Alcorn.

There are many other books, articles, and essays (check out Joe Sobran and Nat Hentoff, for instance) I've found helpful through the years, but what I've listed above should provide readers interested in getting a good start on understanding our culture of bloodshed some good places to start.

Finally, here's a pic of the shelf-and-a-half of books and two drawers of articles on abortion in my library. It should make you thankful for the brevity of this post.

Smiling broadly.

Tim Bayly

Tim serves Clearnote Church, Bloomington, Indiana. He and Mary Lee have five children and big lots of grandchildren.

Want to get in touch? Send Tim an email!