Reformed Churchmen

We are Confessional Calvinists and a Prayer Book Church-people. In 2012, we remembered the 350th anniversary of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer; also, we remembered the 450th anniversary of John Jewel's sober, scholarly, and Reformed "An Apology of the Church of England." In 2013, we remembered the publication of the "Heidelberg Catechism" and the influence of Reformed theologians in England, including Heinrich Bullinger's Decades. For 2014: Tyndale's NT translation. For 2015, John Roger, Rowland Taylor and Bishop John Hooper's martyrdom, burned at the stakes. Books of the month. December 2014: Alan Jacob's "Book of Common Prayer" at: January 2015: A.F. Pollard's "Thomas Cranmer and the English Reformation: 1489-1556" at: February 2015: Jaspar Ridley's "Thomas Cranmer" at:

Thursday, January 22, 2015

22 January 1973 A.D. Roe v. Wade: Abortion’s Religious Dimension

22 January 1973 A.D.  Roe v. Wade: Abortion’s Religious Dimension

Graves, Dan.  “Roe v. Wade: Abortion’s Religious Dimension.”  Jan 2007.  Accessed 10 Jul 2014.

Roe vs. Wade: Abortion's Religious DimensionWhen the U. S. Supreme Court handed down the Roe v. Wade decision, on this day, January 22, 1973, they hoped to end increasing controversy over a practice which was allowed in limited instances in some states but almost never in others. Instead, their decision polarized the American people and American politics. In its ruling, the court struck down a Texas law which prohibited abortion except when necessary to save a mother's life.

As is usual when a ruling defies custom and popular conscience, the decision could only be achieved through deception. The woman known as Jane Roe (Norma McCorvey, now a Christian and a pro-life advocate) has acknowledged that she perjured herself in her testimony. She also says she was lied to by her counsel. Supreme Court memos show that pro-abortion Supreme Court justices (especially William O. Douglas), knowing they had no precedent, plotted to "finesse" the issue." The ruling flew in face of scientific evidence which increasingly shows that a baby in the womb is very human. With modern technology, premature infants have survived at younger and younger ages.

What the court did in its divided opinion was to develop a new judicial theory--that a woman has a constitutionally protected right to privacy. The U.S. Constitution does not mention any such right, but the Court read it into the l4th Amendment which prohibits a state from unreasonably interfering with life, liberty, and property. The court expanded the meaning of the word "liberty" to guarantee a woman's right to privacy in choosing an abortion.

Although the court said that the liberty guaranteed by the fourteenth amendment protects the woman's right to privacy, at the same time the court held that it did not protect the unborn, since the court arbitrarily determined that a fetus is not a person and thus not a concern of the court. Roe v. Wade further permitted abortion to prevent the mother from future mental or physical distress in caring for the child. Thus the Court placed the personal choices of the mother above the life of her unborn.

Numerous jurists--even those who favor abortion--have observed that Roe v. Wade ignored constitutional precedent. In fact, the decision overturned laws regulating abortions in every one of the fifty states.

Many Christians protest the Court's ruling as immoral. They see the decision as an expression of an individualistic and secular society in which people try to live their lives independent of God's laws, principles, and truths. They teach that our bodies are not our own, but on loan to us from God and humans are made in the image of God and therefore to be valued. Roe v. Wade has become a central issue in the conflict over which principles should govern American society.


Adapted from an earlier Christian History story.

" 'Jane Roe' Tells True Story Behind Roe v. Wade. Norma McCorvey Says, 'Pure and Simple, I Lied.' " National Right to Life News. (February 11, 1998) 16ff.

" 'Arbitrary Legislation' from the Bench--An Inside Look at the Making of Roe vs. Wade." Ibid, p. 26ff.

Reagan, Ronald. Abortion and the Conscience of the Nation. Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, 1984.

Reardon, David C. Aborted Women; Silent No More. Springfield, IL: Acorn Books.

Roe vs. Wade. 410 U.S. 113 (1973).

Various encyclopedia, internet, and news articles; articles from National Right to Life, Focus on the Family, Time, Newsweek, World, and other publications too numerous to list here.

Last updated Janaury, 2007.

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