I recently read a book that named the obvious, told me what I already knew, yet held my attention from cover to cover. The book, written by Mary Eberstadt, is titled Adam and Eve After the Pill: Paradoxes of the Sexual Revolution. The author shows how the birth control pill has changed our world for the worse, and she makes a very persuasive case.
A half-century ago along came a birth control device that could simply be swallowed, and a pregnancy would be prevented. It was thought that this little pill would liberate women from the slavery of fertility and free them from the shackles of domesticity. Everyone agrees that the Pill, at least in part, helped spawn a sexual revolution during which our mating habits changed dramatically.
The Pill whispered to us, Sex is fun, harmless, safe, and good! Go ahead! But today sexually transmitted diseases are epidemic, fatherlessness is rampant, and over 50 percent of all children born to women under the age of thirty in 2012 will be born to unmarried mothers. Furthermore—and it’s a horrifying consequence of the revolution—the practice of abortion has set the hearts of fathers and mothers against their own children. Eberstadt calls abortion the Pill’s sad backup plan when things don’t go as expected. As we as a culture became rather numb to the changes wrought by the revolution, abortion became a part of our national conversation. By the 1970s, abortion had become increasingly acceptable as a means of birth control for large numbers of American women at all socioeconomic levels, so, when pressed, the Supreme Court agreed that the practice should be legalized.
Abortion was marketed, so to speak, as something that could take place in the first trimester of a woman’s pregnancy before the fetal tissue had developed into a human being—and, to this day, there are probably people reading this essay who believe that abortion is only allowed in the first trimester of a pregnancy. When Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton were handed down simultaneously by our nation’s highest court, we were led to believe that the practice would become legal and safe but not necessarily common. That was then but this is now, and what a long way we have come in the intervening years.
First, our language has changed. In the 1970s and 1980s pro-choice advocates rarely, if ever, referred to that which was aborted as a baby or child. Fetal tissue, mass, or product of conception were the preferred euphemisms. With the advance of prenatal technology, however, our vocabulary has, of necessity, changed. Now we use the word baby. Think of the very serious public debate carried out on our bumper stickers. One reads, It’s a baby, not a choice. The rejoinder bumper sticker doesn’t bother to disagree, it simply says, If you can’t trust me with a choice, how can you trust me with a child?
Second, our collective conscience has been seared. These almost forty years of virtually unlimited abortion have hardened our hearts toward human life. We see children as expendable if they don’t suit our fancy. Consider two examples from just the past few weeks.
On June 19th, the New York Times ran an article entitled “Before Birth, Dad’s ID” by Andrew Pollack. Appearing on the first page of the business (!) section, this article described a new technology that allows a woman to determine who the father of her baby is in the eighth or ninth week of her pregnancy. The Times rightly pointed out that this will be a game-changer of sorts. The article began with the following:
It is an uncomfortable question that, in today’s world, is often asked by expectant mothers who had more than one male partner at the time they became pregnant. Who is the father?
The article then goes on to praise this new, noninvasive procedure:
Besides relieving anxiety, the test results might allow women to terminate a pregnancy if the preferred man is not the father—or to continue it if he is.
Notice the word might: A woman might terminate a pregnancy based on who the father is? Perhaps a woman mighttake this test simply out of curiosity or to relieve her anxiety over who the father might be, but, clearly, terminating a pregnancy that resulted from the wrong sire will be one of the primary purposes of this blood test. The Times could have and should have had the intellectual honesty to state the obvious.
Another example of the searing of our national conscience has to do with abortions based on the gender of the baby. It is estimated that since the technology to determine the sex of the child in utero has been available, sex-selected abortions have claimed the lives of an estimated 200 million baby girls worldwide. You see, for various reasons most parents who want to select the sex of their child want baby boys, not baby girls. This grisly practice should cause us to shudder.
And it is happening within our own borders. At least six studies have shown that sex-selection abortions are taking place here in America. In late May, the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act (PRENDA), which would have prohibited abortions for the purpose of sex selection, was put before the House of Representatives. PRENDA would have forbidden this heinous crime against children in general and against little girls in particular. As Arizona representative Trent Franks said on the House floor, PRENDA is needed to prevent this ultimate violence against women. The White House press office disagreed, issuing a statement saying, The government should not intrude in medical decisions or private family matters in this way. In the end, what has been called gendercide was protected: the House defeated the bill 246-168. Abortion can take place because of either who the father is or who the baby is.
So how are Adam and Eve doing after the Pill? Mary Eberstadt has the courage to say, in effect, Not very well. While this research fellow from Stanford’s Hoover Institution claims that both men and women have suffered from the effects of the sexual revolution, she says that women suffer the greater loss:
It is women who have abortions and get depressed about them, women who are usually left to raise children alone when a man leaves for someone else, women who typically take the biggest financial hit in divorce.
Then there is the sexual doublespeak of the revolution:
Just look at any …popular “chick” fare like the television series Sex and the City. [They] reveal a wildly contradictory mix of chatter about how wonderful it is that women are now all liberated for sexual fun—and how mysteriously impossible it has become to find a good, steady, committed boyfriend at the same time. It’s as if, say, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals were to put out magazines that were half pitches for vegetarianism and half glossy pages of pork and beef and chicken simmering in sumptuous sauces.
Modern Adam and Eves may have suffered greatly from what the Pill has wrought, but we worship One who is sometimes called the second Adam. The One whose perfect obedience made it possible for us to be born again, to be transferred out of a kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of Christ. We call upon this One whose love is immeasurable and whose forgiveness is without qualification. This second Adam, Jesus of Nazareth, died to forgive all our sins and to turn us into something new and glorious. Our history is not measured by a Pill that was invented fifty years ago, but by the One who came at just the right time (Romans 5:6) and died for our sins.