All Shall Live!



     What is the greatest destroyer of peace in the world as [the human] family enters the last two decades of the twentieth century? Is it the ominous nuclear arms build-up by the two most powerful nations of earth, the United States and the Soviet Union? Is it the still potent threat of a major war in the troubled Middle East region? Is it Third World famine and poverty? No, says the winner of 1979 Nobel Prize for Peace, the greatest destroyer of peace in the world today is legalized abortion, which claims the lives of an estimated fifty-five million unborn children every year. The poverty of the spirit in the industrialized world that allows such rampant pre-natal infanticide, said Mother Teresa of Calcutta as she accepted her great honor at Oslo, makes countries that have legalized abortion poorer than the economically depressed nations in which she ministers to thousands of the world's downtrodden people.

     The concept of legalized abortion as organized violence presents a serious question to the Society of Friends, the best known of the historic peace churches. For if Mother Teresa is correct, we as Quakers ought to oppose legalized abortion as fervently as we seek to stop the nuclear arms race and to ameliorate world hunger. Yet few, if any, Friends are in the forefront of the right to life movement in the United States. In fact, the
American Friends Service Committee, perhaps the best known Quaker political organization, has openly supported legalized abortion. Others, such as the Washington D.C., based Friends Committee on National Legislation, at least refrain from opposing abortion. . . .

     The abortion issue raises for Quakers and indeed all committed Christians more serious questions. How can one advocate social causes such as civil rights and equality for women out of an abhorrence of social and political oppression while simultaneously supporting the ultimate oppression of depriving an unborn child of life itself? Similarly, how can one reconcile a passionate dedication to the protection of the environment against wanton exploitation with a fervent belief in every woman's discretionary right to have the living fruit of her womb destroyed?

    These kinds of questions began to trouble me while I was a student at Earlham College during the mid-nineteen seventies. In an effort to understand how a revered and respected Quaker peace action group such as the American Friends Service Committee justifies its support for a policy of legalized abortion, I studied Who Shall Live? a statement on the issue published under AFSC auspices in 1970. Learning the AFSC position partially satisfied my curiosity, but it only deepened my growing sense of bewilderment and disappointment. Who Shall Live? appears to justify the widespread employment of abortion on demand largely as an antidote to the world population crisis. I consider the statement to be inconsistent in a tragic way with the best social activist instincts and traditions of Quakerism. It seems to me to be frighteningly utilitarian to countenance the violence of abortion in order to preserve a vaguely defined standard of the "quality of life" for those living in the extra-uterine world. For is it not a cherished tenet of the Society of Friends that some acts are wrong regardless of context or consequence?

     This volume is meant to be at once a vigorous reply to Who Shall Live? and a spirited advocacy of the basic human right to life in an age of abortion on demand. . .

     I am deeply grateful to my friend Mark Talbot . . . for his critical assistance and warm encouragement to me in this project. I wish also to acknowledge with thanks the reinforcing support of James and Elizabeth Newby, Elton Trueblood, and Earl Prignitz. The title All Shall Live originated as the enlightened suggestion of Jack Kirk, editor of Quaker Life.

Steven R. Valentine
Christmas Eve, 1979

     "Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid then not; for of such is the Kingdom of God."

-- Mark 10:14 (KJV)

The Evolution of Abortion Policy

     A great value in the study of history is the attainment of a sense of perspective. . . . What, then, is the broad history of abortion? What role, if any, have Quakers played in it? A brief treatment of these questions, it is hoped, will help to put the abortion controversy of today into some instructive historical perspective.

     Abortion was fairly common in the ancient Greek and Roman civilizations. . . . Plato and Aristotle, the immortal Greek philosophers, considered abortion a justifiable means of preventing overpopulation in society. But abortion was not accepted by all in ancient Greece. In their Hippocratic oath, physicians pledged not "to give a deadly drug to anyone if asked for it, nor to suggest it ... (and) not (to) give to a woman an abortifacient pessary." [1]

     There is no direct reference to abortion made in the Old Testament of the Bible. But as it developed as a religious movement in the shadow of the Roman Empire, Christianity did not remain silent on the issue. As John T. Noonan, Jr., has noted, "It was in this culture generally distinguished by its indifference to fetal and early life that the Christian teaching developed." [2] As with so many of its beliefs and practices, the Christian defense of the child ran against the grain of Roman authority, which condoned both abortion and infanticide. Even in the face of these odds, early Christians advocated respect for the rights of all persons, including the unborn. . . .

     Abortion continued to be a common phenomenon cross-culturally for centuries. While it was considered to be a terrible crime by most Christians, and others, and often was proscribed in some way by law, abortion did not become a controversial public policy question to any significant extent until recently. . . .

     According to abortion historian James C. Mohr, there was a "great surge" in the incidence of abortion between 1840 and 1870. During that period, reports Mohr, abortion came figuratively into the public view. That its practice was widespread became obvious. An important aspect of this upsurge was the increasing use of abortion virtually as just another means of birth control by white, married, Protestant women of the upper or middle economic class. With the rise in the demand for abortion, especially by more economically privileged women, the business nature of abortion changed. Some regular medical doctors went into the lucrative abortion trade as a specialty.[6]

     The significant upsurge in the practice of abortion during this period of American history produced a powerful reaction. Mohr describes and documents a "physicians' crusade" against abortion reaching its peak between 1857 and 1860. Its principal goals, Mohr contends, were to turn the tide of public opinion firmly against abortion and to promote the passage of tough anti-abortion legislation. . . .

     The doctors' crusade against abortion in the last years preceding the Civil War was successful in accomplishing its major goals. Influenced by the effective and pervasive medical profession crusade, between 1860 and 1880 popular opinion shifted dramatically towards the anti-abortion position. New laws prohibited abortion strictly in all cases except those threatening the life of the mother. The values implicit in these statutes thereafter became entrenched in the social, political, and moral fabric of American life. . . .

     The decade of the 1960's in America was unusually turbulent and politically sensitive. Fueled by wrenching recriminations brought on by the assassinations of the Kennedy brothers and Martin Luther King, as well as the horror of the Vietnam War, the basic assumptions and values of Americans became the subject of a searching self-examination. Race consciousness rose, providing the impetus for great strides toward the elimination of discrimination against black people. For others, social consciousness was manifest in challenges to the morality of the American participation in the Vietnam conflict. Late in the 1960's, a great new concern for conservation and a renewed sense of commitment to the quality of the environment became a part of the national mood. . . . Finally, the 1960's gave birth to a potent resurgence of feminism, which was to influence significantly the course of public issues debate throughout the decade of the seventies. The call for legalization of abortion became a principal rallying point for the women's movement.

     In this context, Quakers began to examine the abortion issue in a serious way. Although abortion had been a public issue at various times in the history of the Society of Friends, it never had been as pressing for Quakers as the paramount social concerns of slavery, capital punishment, and peace. In 1969, the American Friends Service Committee established a "Working Party" largely comprised of medical doctors to consider the abortion question and to prepare a report on the subject for the AFSC Board of Directors. So charged, the Working Party studied, deliberated, and issued its report in 1970. Recognizing its lack of authority to speak for all Friends, the AFSC Board of Directors endorsed the general viewpoint presented in the Working Party's document, entitled Who Shall Live? Man's Control Over Birth and Death, and ordered it published.

     The preface to Who Shall Live? stated that the quality of family life was its "chief concern." Overpopulation, the AFSC contended, had become one of the major threats to the overall quality of human life and to world peace itself. Pollution, traffic jams, and deteriorated housing all have undermined the ideal of a high quality of life. "In an impersonal, overcrowded world," asked the Working Party, "what happens to man's dignity and self-respect, to his sense of importance and fulfillment? Demographers and ecologists agree," the AFSC reported, "that if man is to restore the balance that he has destroyed, we must reduce the birth rate significantly."[7]

     The AFSC report continued by stating what is accurate and objective. People want to have children, but not in unlimited numbers. Infanticide once was common, as recently as in Great Britain during the nineteenth century. Contraception has been available for centuries, but it has not been widely effective. The principal goal of the birth control movement, that of limiting a family's children to those for whom the parents can care comfortably, has been accepted by most religious groups, medical doctors, social philosophers, and world leaders. But some religious groups, most notably the Roman Catholic Church, have opposed all artificial methods of birth control. Moreover, significant numbers of people will not limit the size of their families voluntarily.[8]

     The Working Party estimated that there were from thirty to forty million abortions world-wide by 1970. The predominant reason why pregnant women seek abortions, noted the report, is that they do not wish to have a child. Citing studies purporting to demonstrate that unwanted children are more likely to lead troubled, emotionally torn lives, the Working Party implicitly supported the common pro-abortion argument that a dead aborted fetus is preferable to a living unwanted child. Noting the danger of illegal abortions as well as population pressures, the AFSC panel favorably reported statistics demonstrating that nations permitting abortion on demand experience significant reductions both in birth rates and in the numbers of illegal abortions.[9]

     But the morality of abortion cannot escape scrutiny. "The public conscience continues to be ... torn," observed the AFSC, "between concern for human welfare and the still unresolved religious and ethical issues of when a new human life begins, when the soul enters the body and when, if ever, it is moral to destroy a potential human being." . . .

     The traditional attitude of Friends towards war and capital punishment, said the AFSC panel, seems to imply an absolute standard against the taking of human life. Yet the debate about when a developing fetus becomes a human being has continued. "If questions of when a human life begins and when a fetus has a soul cannot be determined with precision," wondered the Working Party, "we must ask ourselves how much we value (the) potential (of the fetus for full humanity). Do we value it so much that we believe that the fetus has an absolute right to life?" But weighing heavily in this dilemma, the AFSC perceived the ominous threat of the population problem. Noting that many families seem determined to have four or more children, the panel noted that it "appears that families of such size spell demographic disaster." "Will it become necessary to use some kind of social coercion to avoid disaster?" asked the AFSC hauntingly.[11]

     After posing these serious questions, the AFSC made its stand in favor of abortion on demand. The major justification for this position, said the report, was the pressing need for population control in pursuit of the conservation and enhancement of the "quality of life." The report's conclusive recommendations follow:

     "We believe that the population crisis is so threatening to quality of life that for the sake of the individual, the family, and society, we must bring population and resources into balance by learning to control our fertility. Toward this end, we believe that contraception is by far preferable to abortion. But we also believe that abortion, performed under proper conditions, is preferable to the birth of an unwanted child.
"We believe that no woman should be forced to bear an unwanted child. A woman should be able to have an abortion legally if she has decided that this is the only solution she can accept and if the physician agrees that it is in the best interests of mother and child . . .
"We believe that no physician should be forced to perform an abortion if this violates his conscience; but, if this is so, he has an obligation to refer his patient to another physician willing to serve her."[12]

     The substance of the position on abortion advocated by the AFSC was adopted by the United States Supreme Court in 1973. In January of that year, the Court rendered its landmark decision in the case of Roe v. Wade . . .

[Editor's note: as one of the many developments since this was written, the "Jane Roe" of Roe v. Wade has been identified as Norma McCorvey. Norma has concluded that her experience was highly exploitative and has been active in the pro-life movement for several years now.]

Abortion and Quaker Values

     A June, 1979, issue of the respected political journal The New Republic featured an article in which modern Quakers, particularly the American Friends Service Committee, were accused of seriously compromising Friends' historic commitment to non-violence. Writer Stephen Chapman argued that the AFSC gives its tacit support to various Third World revolutionary organizations that use violence to affect desired changes in their respective countries. By backing such groups, Chapman believes, the AFSC effectively condones their employment of violence.

     The AFSC did not take The New Republic's challenge to the credibility of its professed pacifism lightly. Several weeks after Stephen Chapman's article appeared, the magazine carried a lengthy rebuttal from AFSC Chairperson Stephen Cary. Cary's reply to The New Republic was well argued and generally convincing. One may support the worthy goals of political organizations, he said, without condoning their use of violence. He pledged that the AFSC would continue to press for social justice while proposing non-violent ways in which to achieve it.

     Neither Chapman nor Cary, however, chose to address themselves to another serious question concerning Quaker pacifism. Does the AFSC's support for a social policy of abortion on demand as expressed in Who Shall Live? constitute an unprecedented Quaker endorsement of violence? In the case of abortion, the AFSC appears to advocate the goal of alleviating worldwide population pressures through widespread employment of the violent act of abortion.

     In its purest form, Quaker pacifism condones no violence whatever, regardless of its context or consequence. The AFSC, certainly, gained public note by upholding the best senses of this standard through several wars. As we consider the pressing issue of abortion and the credibility of basic Quaker pacifism, therefore, it is essential that we ask how abortion relates to the Friends' commitment to non-violence. Is abortion in fact an act of violence? If so, how can Quakers support its legalized status without compromising the idealistic pacifist standard?

     Nothing distresses many of those who advocate abortion on demand more than true contemplation of the physical act involved in the operation. As journalist M.J. Sobran has observed, [abortion defenders] "regard factual information ... such as pictures of fetuses ... as adversely inflammatory."[15] Radical feminists supporting abortion rights are hard-pressed to dispute their own aversion to the basic reality of abortion. In a shockingly frank admission of the stark utilitarianism of her position, feminist writer Mary Daly has asserted boldly that "Feminist ethics will refuse to give attention to the isolated physical act involved in abortion and will insist upon seeing this within its social context."[16] The AFSC in Who Shall Live? also avoided any direct look at the act of abortion. Yet if we are to inquire honestly whether abortion is a violent act, then we must isolate and look at it as it exists in America today.

     There are three ways, primarily, in which an abortion is executed in the United States. All disturb severely the peaceful, dark, warm, and watery world in which the beautiful developing human child lives and grows.

     The first abortion method may be termed the suction procedure. Most often, it is used only during early pregnancies, usually those between four and ten weeks in gestation. At nine weeks, the human fetus has a functioning brain, highly developed major organs, and even fingerprints. To accomplish the suction technique, the physician inserts one end of a plastic tube through the opening to the woman's womb and attaches the other end to a suction device. The vacuum created when the suction device is activated is so powerful that the developing unborn child is broken up instantly into a fluid mass of blood, tissue, and cartilage. This fluid of human matter quickly passes through the tube and is collected in a container.

     The second common abortion technique is the curettage procedure, which generally is employed in later first trimester pregnancies. At this point in gestation, the developing human fetus already may be sucking his or her small thumb. To execute this abortion procedure, the doctor stretches or dilates the mouth of the mother's uterus in order to admit his forceps or curette. Then he reaches in and pulls or scrapes out the developing unborn child and its placenta. The surgeon must work by touch alone, often cutting the tiny unborn baby into several pieces in order to remove it from its natural environment. Sometimes it is necessary for the doctor to crush the pre-natal child's small head with his forceps in order to reduce its size for withdrawal. Bleeding usually is profuse until the womb is scraped empty. The bits and pieces of the killed human fetus are discarded.

     The third principal abortion procedure is the saline solution method. . . . [Editor's note: we are spared this description by the fact this is no longer a commonly used method. A description of that which is currently more commonly used in late-term abortions would still establish it as stomach-churning violence, but was not in the original 1979 book and so is not included here.]

     A dispassionate consideration of the sheer ugliness and horror of the abortion operation is nearly impossible for the sensitive person. The conclusion that it is a violent act is inescapable if we are honest. The doctor who performs an abortion is committing an act of violence. The unborn child is suffering violence when he or she is sucked apart, cut up and scraped out, or chemically burned and drowned in his or her mother's womb.

     If we grant that abortion is violence, as we must if we are objective, then we must ask how this violence is justified by those who promote the freedom to commit it. Feminist Mary Daly, and presumably the AFSC as well, have insisted that we consider abortion within the proper "social context," which is as a matter of women's rights or as a solution to the population problem. "Christian moralists," argues Daly, "generally have paid attention to context when dealing with such problems as killing in self-defense and in war." "These Christian moralists," she continues, "have found it possible to admit the existence of a 'just war' within which the concept of 'murder' generally does not apply, and have permitted killing in self-defense and in the case of capital punishment."[17]

     Daly's assertion is fair. Many Christians do justify the violence of killing under circumstances such as war and as capital punishment. Many others, such as the AFSC, are able to justify the violence of abortion. On the other hand, however, the AFSC does not condone killing in war or as capital punishment. In not approving killing these latter two circumstances, the AFSC implicitly sets an absolute standard against it. Yet by justifying killing in abortion for the sake of the quality of family life or in order to alleviate the world population crisis, the Quaker peace group weakened substantially its own principled standard.

     When the AFSC abandoned its own idealistic commitment to non-violence in the case of abortion, it undermined its moral credibility on other vital issues. If the violence inherent in abortion is acceptable, then why not justify war in order to stop totalitarian tyranny or capital punishment to deter potential murderers? It is a haunting irony that the AFSC, which originally was established in part to give Friends a chance to serve humanity during wartime without being violent, suggests a freedom of conscientious objection doctors asked to perform abortions. The AFSC takes its strange logic as step further by suggesting that such doctors have an obligation to make an abortion referral if they themselves are unwilling to perform the operation. By this kind of thinking, the AFSC would have us revive the Civil War era practice of war objectors hiring substitutes to carry out the dirty work of battle for them. . . .

     Instead of supporting the violence inherent in a social policy of abortion on demand, Quakers ought to advocate the maintenance of non-violent ideals while suggesting morally acceptable alternative ways in which to address the multiple problems of overpopulation. This is, after all, the manner in which Quakers behave with regard to other complex issues involving the use of violence. On the question of war, Friends have upheld the principled standard of non-violence while suggesting peaceful means of settling difficult conflicts. On capital punishment, Quakers have upheld their pacifist tradition while suggesting both ways in which to address the basic causes of violent crime and to rehabilitate those who commit even the most brutal acts. As ardent Jesuit pacifist Gordon Zahn has aptly noted, "It is not just a matter of consistency; in a very real sense it is the choice between integrity and hypocrisy."[21] "No one who mourns the senseless burning of a napalmed child," he continued in a reference to the Vietnam era, "should be indifferent to the intentional killing of a living fetus in the womb."[22] The rigorous and honest pursuit of moral consistency is the price of moral credibility. If one does not wish to open a Pandora's box of situational ethics and utilitarianism with regard to violence, then one simply cannot justify the violence of abortion. . . .

     In a practical sense, the abortion issue is an outgrowth of the social reform movement of the nineteen sixties. Many of those who supported the civil rights and anti-war causes later joined forces with feminists in crusading for the repeal of abortion restrictions. But in an ideological sense, the social policy of abortion on demand is a perversion of the best instincts of the liberal social causes of the last decade. Abortion violates the basic moral values upon which moralistic opposition to the Vietnam War was based. It violates the moral values underlying the civil rights and women's rights crusades. Abortionism also is morally inconsistent with environmentalism, another popular cause among American liberals.

     It is most disappointing to see the apparent moral idealism that my own younger generation demonstrated on the issue of the Vietnam War corrupted by its apparently overwhelming support for abortion in the United States. A couple of explanations of how this situation came to pass are plausible. The most optimistic one is that those who opposed the war on grounds of moral principle simply do not realize that the same values of pacifism, human dignity, and respect for all life that prompted moral opposition to the war are at stake in the controversy over abortion policy. The less optimistic explanation is that many of those young persons who have advocated the anti-war cause as well as that of abortion on demand have not done so out of a commitment to moral principle. Opposition to the Vietnam War could have been motivated by a personal fear of the military draft and an aversion to the inconvenience of service rather than adherence to moral ideals. For those who opposed the war, but did not face the possibility of being drafted, opposition to the American effort in Vietnam could have been motivated out of purely political antipathy or simply a desire to be fashionable. It should be clear that a similar narcissistic desire to avoid inconvenience and responsibility, plus a need to be chic, also may produce support for the abortion on demand position.

     There can be little doubt that most Quakers supported the civil rights movement for blacks and favor the goals of the so-called feminist cause. The fight for freedom from oppression has been joined on many occasions in the history of the Society of Friends. Blacks and women are human beings who should be treated as being fully equal to other members of society. They have the right to insist upon equal treatment in employment, credit practices, housing, and in all other significant respects. The Society of Friends has favored this view for centuries. It has tried to treat its own members equally and fairly. It is only natural that we should express our concern that all of society is bound morally to do likewise.

     The appalling news that women sometimes choose abortion because they have learned that their unborn child is female is just one clue to why abortionism and feminism are inherently incompatible. But the philosophy of abortionism violates not only the best senses of feminism, but also the moral values underlying the civil rights cause. For what feminists and civil rights advocates most desire is an end to oppression. It is their implicit claim that oppression is morally wrong and is therefore unacceptable in our society. As Gordon Zahn has observed, however, the true measure of oppression is the degree to which a person and his [or her] life are made subject to the commands of another and "his [or her] very existence made dependent upon the pleasure, the whims, the convenience, or the self-determined 'necessity' of that other." Those who advocate a policy of abortion on demand, Zahn notes, "are in effect claiming rights that reach the absolute in oppression, rights that give them the arbitrary power to destroy a human being at those stages of development when its dependency is greatest."[30]

     For many Quakers and for others who favor the basic goals of the women's rights crusade, the only solution to the dilemma of how to reconcile the question of abortion with support for feminism is to address the two issues on the same basis. We favor feminism because we are opposed to oppression. In the same way, we must advocate the right to life of the human child in the womb because countenancing the forcible deprivation of the unborn child's life for any reason of context or consequence is an ultimate form of oppression. It would be well for the women's rights movement itself to follow the same path. Feminists make a tragic error when they place self-centered desires for more complete control over their reproductive functions above the higher ideal of the unborn child's right to live. Persons must be respected and valued as ends in themselves, not merely as means or obstructions to the happiness of others.

     The women's rights cause of our time, unfortunately, has tainted itself unmistakably as pro-abortion. In doing so, it has cost itself the support of many thoughtful persons who otherwise would be entirely sympathetic with its goals. It well may be true that a significant segment of those who oppose the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution do so not out of an abhorrence to equal rights for women, but because they have been alienated by widespread feminist support for abortion. The ERA forces, therefore, risk final defeat because of something other than strict judgment on the worthiness of their cause. In much the same way, by advocating abortionism, the AFSC may well have undermined significantly its own credibility on the issues of non-violence and opposition to oppression. Clear thinking, however, can be the way out of the woods both for Quakers and for feminists. We can be consistent only by making testimonies of truth for equal rights and equal protection both for all women and for all unborn children. . . .

     In the decade or so since a resurgence of the kind of environmental consciousness not known in America after the era of President Theodore Roosevelt, the term environmentalism has slipped into our national vocabulary. . . . Basically, environmentalism means a conscientious consciousness about the fragile, delicately balanced world around us. Born out of opposition to the needlessly destructive, opportunistic manipulation of the earth's natural condition and resources, environmentalism connotes a set of moral principles. It implies a moral responsibility for human beings as stewards of the environment both for ourselves and our posterity. It is believed by the environmentalist that long-term damage done to our natural milieu for the sake of momentary gain is immoral.

     If we are concerned about being moralists on questions of environmentalism as well as abortion, then we must ask whether abortionism is consistent with an environmentalism standing in principled opposition to the destructive, opportunistic manipulation of nature. There can be little doubt but that abortion is destructive. The operation destroys the body and the life of the unborn child. Is abortion also opportunistic? If we define correctly opportunism as the attribution of undue weight to circumstances of the moment in determining a course of action, then we must admit that abortion is at least most of the time quite opportunistic. Is it, then, also manipulative of nature? Brief consideration of the plain fact that if left alone the child in the womb will be born is enough to see the basic truth that abortion artificially interrupts a process of nature. If we are morally consistent in our environmentalism, then, we see that we must not support abortionism. . . .

     Ultimately, support for a social policy of abortion on demand involves the abandonment of morality. This, aside from the actual deaths of the aborted unborn children, is the most depressing by-product of that policy. One simply cannot justify abortion on demand on moral grounds without deluding oneself into believing that the unborn child is not a human being and therefore has no right to live or denying the existence of an objective moral order that holds resolutely that all killing is wrong. The abandonment of morality involves the abandonment of religion. For it is only from God that an objective moral order can come. As Quakers, we must assert without apology that abortion on demand is wrong. If by inaction those of us who recognize the evil of abortion permit it to persist, then we risk not just ten million senseless deaths by abortion for every decade that passes in America, but the opening of a Pandora's box of other horrors. How soon will the apostles of the idea that every human being must be fully developed, wanted, and viable in order to be allowed to live begin to advocate the "termination" of the retarded, the quadriplegic, and the helpless old? How soon will the growing cultural narcissism of which abortionism is an outgrowth succeed in placing its selfish desires for convenience and comfort above the moral duty to care for those who cannot care for themselves? . . .

     As members of a unique religious people committed to non-violence and to the recognition of and respect for that of God in every person, we must rise to the call for positive action to oppose the evil of abortion on demand: to support the philosophy of an unlimited freedom of abortion, Quakers are in complicity with the killing of the unborn. To do so, moreover, also supports the culture of narcissism in its ugliest manifestations, which involve the abandonment of traditional Judeo-Christian values for an obsession with self-gratification. To remain indifferent on the right to life issue, Quakers help to insure the continuing blight of abortion on our society. To act boldly to oppose abortion, Friends rise to the high standards of our heritage and to the moral principles of our most cherished beliefs. Let us not shirk our responsibility unless we think that we shall live comfortably in the aftermath of the precipitous decline of our moral credibility.

     The right to life movement may be a heresy among some Friends today, but at some point in the near future, we may hope that it will come to be considered a self-evident truth. All Friends must rise as one and answer the Orwellian question "Who Shall Live?" firmly and clearly - All Shall Live!


[1] John T. Noonan, Jr., "An Almost Absolute Value in History," in The Morality of Abortion, edited by John T. Noonan, Jr. (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1970), p. 4.
[2] Ibid.
[3] Noonan, p. 8.
[4] section not included in excerpts
[5] section not included in excerpts
[6] James C. Mohr, Abortion in America: The Origins and Evolution of National Policy, 1800-1900 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1978), p. 110.
[7] American Friends Service Committee, Who Shall Live? Man's Control Over Birth and Death (New York: Hill and Wang, 1970), p. 8.
[8]AFSC, pp. 9-13.
[9]AFSC, pp.14-17.
[10] section not included in excerpts
[11] AFSC, pp. 37-39.
[12] AFSC, pp. 58-65.
[13] section not included in excerpts
[14] section not included in excerpts
[15] M. J. Sobran, "Roe & Doe: Six Years After" The Human Life Review, Winter 1979.
[16] Mary Daly, "Abortion and Sexual Caste," in Social Problems:
Values and Interests in Conflict, edited by Robert J. Antonio and George Ritzer (Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 1975).
[17] Ibid.
[18] section not included in excerpts
[19] section not included in excerpts
[20] section not included in excerpts
[21] Gordon Zahn, "A Religious Pacifist Looks At Abortion," in Antonio and Ritzer.
[22] Ibid.
[23] section not included in excerpts
[24] section not included in excerpts
[25] section not included in excerpts
[26] section not included in excerpts
[27] section not included in excerpts
[28] section not included in excerpts
[29] section not included in excerpts
[30] Zahn article in Antonio and Ritzer.