Some say abortion is a "health care" option for pregnant women. Others say it is the forced separation of soul and body of an unborn human being. In the U.S., the debate about whether abortion is good or bad for our society has become white-hot, with blue-state legislatures passing pro-abortion laws and red states laws opposing abortion. The gap between pro-abortion Democrats and anti-abortion Republicans has been widening every year since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1973 that abortion is legal in all states. The Democratic Party now uses "support of abortion" as a no-exception litmus test to be passed by any politician wishing to join the party. The divide between political parties on the issue is now so wide that it is preventing rational debate on nearly all legislative issues, whether abortion-related or not.
To understand the growing enmity between political parties on this issue requires a deeper look into the origins of abortion in modern society. The widespread practice and acceptance of abortion is a 20th-century phenomenon, but its philosophical basis is a direct outgrowth of a 19th-century philosophy about human nature called Scientific Socialism.
Most Americans think of "socialism" as a movement in the '20s and '30s that attracted immigrant Italian, German, and Irish blue-collar workers - mostly Catholic - seeking better working conditions and higher wages. Socialism in America was championed by men like Norman Thomas, a Presbyterian minister and pacifist. In 1928, Thomas became president of the Socialist Party of America (SPA). Under Thomas, the SPA adopted, in addition to workers' rights, civil rights and integration as causes. Thomas was a founder of the National Civil Liberties Union, the predecessor of the ACLU. However, with declining membership support, the SPA ceased operations in December 1977. By then, its causes had already been largely adopted by the national Democratic Party.
But the brand of socialism pushing for no-limits abortion in the U.S. is not the socialism our fathers and grandfathers knew. This socialism is the more virulent strain that has controlled life in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (now the Russian Federation) since 1920 and in the People's Republic of China since its formation in 1949 by Mao Zedong. This is the socialism conceived by Feuerbach, Engels, and Marx and implemented by Lenin, Stalin, and Mao. It is now creeping into the U.S. political system through the progressive wing of the Democratic Party. This wing's persistent advocacy has succeeded in coercing the party's national leaders and elected representatives to join in openly promoting no-limits abortion in our country.
For 1,500 years, from the 4th-century writings of Saint Augustine that codified the Christian faith until the socialist theories of the 19th-century German philosophers, religion and philosophy were inseparably intertwined. In 1841, Ludwig Feuerbach, Christian-born philosopher and anthropologist, published "The Essence of Christianity," in which he postulated that religion had no role to play in the understanding of reality and should not be a part of any philosophical study of human nature. For Feuerbach, a convert to atheism, religion imposed a restraining and debilitating fear in the minds of men, and its influence should be eradicated from society if humankind is to progress.
Karl Marx, a contemporary of Feuerbach, advanced the idea that religion places an unnatural inhibition on society. In the introduction to his 1843 "A Contribution to the Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right," Marx wrote that "religion is the opium of the people." He argued that religion is a "social authority" imposed by the ruling class on the working masses to keep them under control. This thesis was the foundation of all of Marx's political and economic theories that followed. Seduced by the concept that religious beliefs are detrimental to human progress, Marx, the grandson of a rabbi, turned away from Judaism to atheism. "Atheistic Marxism" and "Scientific Socialism," the titles later given to Marx's theories, proposed that future societies could survive and develop to their full potential only if their masses were emancipated from religion. These new liberated societies would have no churches or religious orders or societies and would permit no mention of God or religion in their schools.
Friedrich Engels was born in Prussia to a middle-class Protestant family. In his twenties, through association with radical activists at political "clubs," he became a militant atheist. Engels, a skilled writer, soon gained recognition among young German liberals as a persuasive anti-religion philosopher. In 1844, Marx saw several articles by Engels that articulated the very principals of socialism that Marx was advocating. After numerous written exchanges, Engels met Marx in 1845. The two immediately formed a partnership to develop, promote, and implement plans for their new political vision: Atheistic Marxism.
Born in Simbirsk, Russia in 1870 to Christian parents, Vladimir Lenin turned to atheism upon the death of his father in 1886. In 1887, Lenin decided to study law, and during his university years, he joined a political club that was advocating Marxism for Russia. Lenin became enamored of the Marx-Engels theories and immediately began to develop plans for their promotion and implementation. His first target was Russian farm workers. In 1903 he published an article titled "Letter to Rural Peasants" espousing the benefits of the new society for farm workers:
We want to achieve a new and better order of society: in this new and better society there must be neither rich nor poor; all will have to work. This new and better society is called a socialist society. The teachings about this society are called 'socialism'.
After the successful 1917 Russian revolution, Lenin became the first premier of the United Soviet Socialist Republics and quickly implemented his version of Marxist socialism. One of his first acts was to eliminate all religion in Russia and begin the conversion of the population to atheism. And in 1920, abortion was approved by the new government. Thus, under Lenin, Russia became the first country in history to sanction atheism and abortion as government imperatives. All of the Soviet socialist countries followed suit, as did China under Mao in 1949.
The common thread that unites the social engineers and the implementers who followed is atheism. The state-supported practice that has become socialism's identifying mark is abortion. For those who promote and operate the abortion industry, with no belief in God or in an afterlife, accepting the notion that abortion does no harm to anyone is understandably easy. There have been over 1.5 billion abortions worldwide since 1980. So an ironic flaw of this atheistic scheme has emerged: the socialist emancipation of mankind from God is facilitating part of mankind's own destruction.
The growing divide between national political parties certainly is about abortion. But it is also about the Democratic Party's attempt to integrate Scientific Socialism of which abortion is emblematic into our political system. Neither this strain of socialism nor abortion is compatible with the beliefs and practices of our free enterprise system - a system based on trust in God.