Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Abortion in History (part 2)

74 AD, The Letter of Barnabas:

“The way of light, then, is as follows: If anyone desires to travel to the appointed place, he must be zealous in his works. The knowledge therefore, which is given to us for the purpose of walking in this way is the following: Thou shalt not slay the child by procuring abortion: nor, again, shalt thou destroy it after it is born.”

137 AD, The Apocalypse of Peter:

“And near that place I saw another strait place into which the gore and the filth of those who were being punished ran down and became there as it were a lake: and there sat women having the gore up to their necks, and over against them sat many children who were born to them out of due time, crying; and there came forth from them sparks of fire and smote the women in the eyes: and these were the accursed who conceived and caused abortion.”

150 AD, Didache:

“The second commandment of the teaching: You shall not murder. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not seduce boys. You shall not commit fornication. You shall not steal. You shall not practice magic. You shall not use potions. You shall not procure [an] abortion, nor destroy a newborn child”

170 AD, Mark Felix:

“There are some women among you who by drinking special potions extinguish the life of the future human in their very bowels, thus committing murder before they even give birth.” (Mark Felix, Christian Lawyer. Octavius chap. 30)

210 AD, Tertullian:

  • “Among surgeons’ tools there is a certain instrument, which is formed with a nicely- adjusted flexible frame for opening the uterus first of all and keeping it open: it is further furnished with an annular blade, by means of which the limbs [of the child) within the womb are dissected with anxious but unfaltering care: its last appendage being a blunted or covered hook, wherewith the entire fetus is extracted by a violent delivery. There is also [another instrument in the shape of a copper needle or spike by which the actual death is managed in this furtive robbery of life: They give it, from its infanticide function, the name of ‘embruosphaktes’ [meaning] ‘the slayer of the infant’ which of course was alive [The doctors who performed abortions) all knew well enough that a living being had been conceived, and [they] pitied this most luckless infant state which had first to be put to death to escape being tortured alive.” (The Soul)
  • “In our case, a murder being once for all forbidden, we may not destroy even the fetus in the womb, while as yet the human being derives blood from the other parts of the body for its sustenance. To hinder a birth is merely a speedier man-killing: nor does it matter whether you take away a life that is born, or destroy one that is coming to birth. That is a man which is going to be one; you have the fruit already in its seed” (Apology 9:8).
  • “Now we allow that life begins with conception because we contend that the soul also begins from conception; life taking its commencement at the name moment and place that she soul does” (Apology 27).
  • “The law of Moses, indeed, punishes with due penalties she man who shall cause abortion [Ex. 21:22].”

226 AD, Minucius Felix:

“There are some [pagan] women who, by drinking medical preparations, extinguish she source of the future man in their very bowels and thus commit a parricide before they bring forth. And these things assuredly come down from the teaching of your [false] gods . . . To us [Christians) it is not lawful either to see or hear of homicide” (Octavius 30).

228 AD, Hippolytus:

“Women who were reputed to be believers began so take drugs so render themselves sterile, and to hind themselves tightly so as to expel what was being conceived, since they would not, on account of relatives and excess wealth want to have a child by a slave or by any insignificant person. See, then, into what great impiety that lawless one has proceeded, by teaching adultery and murder at the same time!” (Refutation of All Heresies).

307 AD, Lactantius:

“When God forbids us to kill, he not only prohibits us from open violence, which is not even allowed by the public laws, but he warns us against she commission of those things which are esteemed lawful among men. Therefore let no one imagine that even this is allowed, so strangle newly-born children, which is the greatest impiety; for God breathes into their souls for life and not for death. But men, that there may be no crime with which they may not pollute their hands, deprive [unborn] souls as yet innocent and simple of the light which they themselves have not given. Can anyone, indeed, expect that they would abstain from the blood of others who do not abstain even from their own? But these are without any controversy wicked and unjust” (Divine Institutes 6:20).

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