My recent post on the killing of abortionist George Tiller got me thinking about a related topic I wanted to address, on the rise of child abuse as a result of abortion. My belief is that when people believe it’s okay to kill a child before he’s born, because an adult has rights over his life, then inevitably it will become more acceptable to beat him up once he's born.
In 1973, when abortion was first legalized, United States child abuse cases were estimated at 167,000 annually. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, approximately 903,000 children were victims of abuse during 2001, a number more than five times greater.
The increase in child abuse is even more dramatic, since the 45 million American children killed by surgical abortions (and an unknown number by chemical abortions) aren’t counted as victims of child abuse. Yet abortion is the earliest child abuse, and no other is more deadly. The argument that aborting a child prevents child abuse is true only in the same sense that killing a wife prevents wife abuse. Dead people can no longer be abused... but preventing their abuse by killing them is convoluted logic.
Why have children been abused far more since abortion was legalized? Because abortion has changed the way we think about children.
“Having more unwanted children results in more child abuse,” pro-choicers argue. Studies, however, disagree.
University of Southern California professor Edward Lenoski conducted a landmark study of 674 abused children. He discovered that 91 percent of the parents admitted they wanted the child they had abused. The pro-choice argument that it is unwanted children who are destined for abuse may sound logical, but the best study done to date demonstrates it is false.
“Studies indicate that child abuse is more frequent among mothers who have previously had an abortion.” Dr. Philip Ney’s studies indicate that this is partially due to the guilt and depression caused by abortion, which hinders the mother’s ability to bond with future children. He documents that having an abortion decreases a parent’s natural restraint against feelings of rage toward small children.
Both mother and father override their natural impulse to care for a helpless child when they choose abortion. Having suppressed that preserving instinct, it may become less effective in holding back rage against a newborn’s helplessness, a toddler’s crying, or a preschooler’s defiance.
The attitude that results in abortion is exactly the same attitude that results in child abuse. Furthermore, if she doesn’t abort, the mother can look at her difficult three-year-old and think, “I had the right to abort you.” The child owes her everything; she owes the child nothing. This causes resentment of demands requiring parental sacrifice. Even if subconscious, the logic is inescapable: If it was all right to kill the same child before birth, surely it’s all right to slap him around now.
Of the five thousand American children murdered every year (the figure doesn’t include abortions), 95 percent are killed by one or both of their parents. There’s a pervasive notion that children belong to their parents. Adults think they have the same right to dispose of their children that society assured them they had before the children were born. Once the child-abuse mentality grips a society, it doesn’t restrict itself to only one age group. If preborn children aren’t safe, no children are safe.
Peter Singer says, "There [is a] lack of any clear boundary between the newborn infant, who is clearly not a person in the ethically relevant sense, and the young child who is. In our book, Should the Baby Live?, my colleague Helga Kuhse and I suggested that a period of twenty-eight days after birth might be allowed before an infant is accepted as having the same right to life as others."
Children granted a right to life at twenty-eight days after birth? Why not wait until six months? Or six years? Killing a five-, ten-, or fifteen-year-old child is really just a postnatal abortion, isn’t it? As Singer has demonstrated, once you establish it’s all right to kill a person, logically the door is wide open to killing the same person at a variety of ages, for a variety of reasons.
The solution to battered children outside the womb is not battered children inside the womb.
The solution to child abuse isn’t doing the abusing earlier. It’s not doing it at all.
Browse more prolife articles and resources, as well as see Randy's books Pro-Choice or Pro-Life: Examining 15 Pro-Choice Claims, Why ProLife? and ProLife Answers to ProChoice Arguments.
Randy Alcorn (@randyalcorn) is the author of over sixty books and the founder and director of Eternal Perspective Ministries.