Abortion and the Abolition of the Fairer Sex

portrait of a woman with a double exposure effect

As we pass through this June, we are grateful to our Merciful God for the overturning of Roe. We thank God for every advance against the abortion carnage while laboring for more advances. Indeed we must soldier on until this ghastly act which symbolizes the abolition of woman is itself abolished. Much work remains to be done. A good deal of that work concerns the legal and political front. But as we engage on those battlefields, we must realize that the heart of the matter resides elsewhere—in the chest.

C. S. Lewis said something profound in his Abolition of Man, which modern man—even modern Christian man—struggles to get his head around. He wrote, “The head rules the belly through the chest.” I say we struggle to grasp what Lewis meant, and that is in part because we no longer think about the chest. We’re in deep trouble for our negligence—”Without the aid of trained emotions, the intellect is powerless against the animal organism.”

That “animal organism” is the belly. The belly is the “reluctant nerves and muscles” that want to abandon their post when the enemy is shelling. The belly is mere passion or appetite. The head is Reason. A soldier knows in his head well enough that he ought not to abandon his post. And a woman knows well enough that she should not contract Planned Parenthood to murder her child. Why abortion, then? Because we have raised women without chests. Lewis told us many years ago, “In a sort of ghastly simplicity, we remove the organ and demand the function. We make men without chests and expect of them virtue.” The same goes for the women. We make women without chests and expect them to face pregnancy, childbearing, and childrearing with fortitude.

One of the chief reasons women contract the murder of their children in the womb is because they are afraid. They do so for the same reason a soldier leaves his post. Childbirth and childrearing are terrifying. Talk all you’d like about modern medicine and state-of-the-art hospitals. It doesn’t matter. Every woman knows, from somewhere down deep she knows, that she brings a never-dying creature into the world. A woman cannot face this mystery without fortitude. It is not merely a matter of the physical challenges, granted those are outrageous in their own right. A woman’s life changes when she bears a child. And this change occurs at a level that modern people can only vaguely remember. The fruit of her womb will face sickness and suffering. The child might hate her. The little one could grow up to be a murderer or a generous king. And she will be a key part of which road is taken. She knows this instinctively and there is simply no navigating these high stakes and troubled waters apart from fortitude.

June, then, is a month worth testifying to the Great Hearts of Christian women. As the wise man said, “Her children arise up, and call her blessed” (Proverbs 31:28). They do so with their lips and their very existence. The Christian woman, raising her children in the Lord, can look at her children and know that by their very existence, they testify that she has faced fears and stayed at her post. These children testify that she has governed her belly through her chest. This is all the more glorious because women are the weaker vessel (1 Peter 3:7). Even so, the Christian woman’s children testify that she is a daughter of Sarah who does not fear what is frightening (1 Peter 3:6).

Ending Abortion for Good

Now someone is going to read the last paragraph and point out that all Christian women don’t have this great heart. And that is true enough. But they are the only women who have the heart through which the head can govern the belly—”And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules” (Ezekiel 36:26-27).

The only way that abortion will be eradicated from our land is for this new birth to occur far and wide. And all of the evangelicals say, Amen . . . as they should. But we do need to ask what happens after this new birth. Why is it that the objection above sticks? Why is it that someone can say, “Not all of you Christian women rule the bell through the chest.” The answer is that once God gives a new heart, He then goes to enlarging it, “I will run in the way of your commandments when you enlarge my heart!” (Psalm 119:32)

Now we like to think that God zaps us and voila! Our chests are enlarged. But God enlarges our hearts much like muscles are enlarged at the gym. He often changes up the workout just when we are getting comfortable. Sometimes we pull a heart muscle. Sometimes we think we are going to have a heart attack. All of this is a part of God’s heart-enlargement-training-camp. And habits are a crucial element toward this end. Lewis called the chest “the seat . . . of emotions organized by trained habit into stable sentiments.”

Now this kind of thing sounds like death to modern women. She, and her masculine counterpart, of course, live by their emotions. “Their god is their belly” (Philippians 3:19). To tell them that they must discipline the seat of their emotions, to say that their emotions must be arranged and trained into a proper order, is to tell them to lie to themselves. It is to tell them to deny their very existence, or so they think. Such a response arises when a society has lost any notion of the chest as the means of governing the passions.

I am aware that laying the abortion carnage at the feat of unchecked passions is highly offensive. It would be much more palatable to lay the offense at the feet of reason, (and indeed God does give people over to a debased mind). But I am after a peculiar kind of sin that must be killed so that no more innocent babies in the womb would be. That sin is incontinence. It is listed among several vices in 2 Timothy 3, “For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud . . . incontinent” (2 Timothy 3:3). The word means to be without self-control. It means the belly has gone wild. 

I said that this point is offensive and highly so. But there is a reason for the offense. This is something like a medical diagnosis and I really want to cut the cancer out. But that starts by acknowledging the cancer:

Women contract the murder of their children in the womb because of cowardice. And the men they contract to murder those children are twice the cowards. That is why some have decided to shout their abortion. “They glory in their shame” (Philippians 3:19)

But there is a better way. These women who would glory in their shame must come to see that they are glory. They are the glory of the glory of God (1 Corinthians 11:7). They are glory that can be made more glorious. They can turn away from the abolition of women by their passions and turn to the restoration of women by means of new and enlarged hearts.