Readers may find below descriptions of child sacrifice disturbing.
As the Supreme Court deliberates on the right to life in Dobbs v. Jackson, the pro-abortion crowd is getting more and more defensive — and some of the most vicious attacks are from those who claim to be in the church.
Last September, the House of Representatives considered a bill to effectively solidify the national “right” to abortion access, which San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone called something “one would expect from a devout Satanist, not a devout Catholic.” He added: “This proposed legislation is nothing short of child sacrifice.”
Naturally, the pro-abortion crowd didn’t take kindly to this admittedly provocative language, eliciting comments from, among others, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (a lifelong professed Catholic). But based on how many pro-abortionists talk about abortion, perhaps Cordileone isn’t far off.
Murder As a Sacrament
In a Feb. 5 article in The Washington Post, Rev. Kaeley McEvoy at Westmoreland Congregational United Church of Christ in Bethesda, Md., discussed her thinking on abortion. When she and her boyfriend got pregnant together, the very first place they went was a cathedral to pray — but not for grace to persevere through an unplanned pregnancy. No, McEvoy actually called a doctor’s office while inside the place of worship to schedule an abortion. When other visitors to the cathedral tried to enter a small chapel where McEvoy was on the phone, the boyfriend turned them away, declaring: “Something holy is happening here.”
Among the pro-abortion crowd, abortion is increasingly no longer described as a necessary evil, but holy. The Post suggested McEvoy views it as a “social and theological good.” In a November sermon, McEvoy told her congregation that she “never felt more known and heard and loved by God than when I entered the doors of a Planned Parenthood.” At a January event addressing a group of abortion access activists meeting in a D.C. church, she reiterated: “Something holy is happening here, friends.”
McEvoy is not alone among clerics in this sentiment about abortion. Presbyterian minister Rebecca Todd Peters in an October USA Today op-ed wrote: “I did not make my abortion decisions despite my Christian identity and faith, but rather because of it.” Rabbi Rachael Pass in a September article claimed her abortion during rabbinical school was a “blessing” and a “sacred choice.” Everything about her experience, Pass observed, from “the timing of the accidental conception to the decision and procedure itself was brimming with my Jewish practice, learning and living.”
Abortionists: Abortion Is ‘Sacred’
Similar language can be found in less explicitly religious fora. A December article by Rae Guerra-Lorenzo on the Planned Parenthood website asserted that “abortion is sacred,” because women’s “reproductive health” is sacred. “I am here because of abortion—someone down the line of ancestors knew when it was and wasn’t time for expanding their family,” she continued. “My own children are here because of abortion.”
An article at the libertarian Ayn Rand Institute called abortion a “secular sanctity,” and explains that abortion “allows women to protect what’s sacred about life.”
It is a curious, if rhetorically clever, reversal on the oft-quoted pro-life lines that “every child is a blessing” and that “every human life is sacred.” It is not the conception of human life and bringing that baby into the world that is a sacred blessing, they say, but the elimination of that organism in the womb that is the truly holy act.
Wrapping abortion in the language of faith — and sometimes even specific religious traditions — would seem to suggest that such persons view it as an actual manifestation of their religious belief. “As people of faith, we abort,” they seem to say.
The Religious Language of Child Sacrifice
In that respect, we can better appreciate Cordileone’s comments, which orient us to the ubiquity of religiously motivated child sacrifice across much of the ancient world. Ancient sources including Cleitarchus, Porphyry, Philo of Byblos, and the Book of Kings describe the Canaanite groups of the Levant regularly performing child sacrifice in attempts to placate various divinities.
Their cousins the Carthaginian civilization — defeated and destroyed by Rome during the Punic Wars — sacrificed children as offerings to their gods. The Quran also mentions pagan Arabians sacrificing their children to pagan gods.
Nor was this practice limited to the civilizations of the Mediterranean basin. The Aztecs of present-day Mexico sacrificed thousands of people, including many children, to the god Huitzilopochtli in their capital at Tenochtitlan in order to bring good weather for their seasonal crops. An archeological site in Peru recently uncovered 140 children ritually sacrificed in what appears to be a single ceremony — the historical event occurred around 1450 A.D. and involved ripping the children’s hearts out. Ritual killings of children still occur in Uganda today.
Undoubtedly the practitioners of ritual child sacrifice across practically every human continent believed their act to be a holy one. The child must die, they believed, for the survival of their society: a sacred rite for the wellbeing of mothers, fathers, and the broader civilization.
Of course, the vast majority of the pro-abortion camp does not believe the organism inside the mother’s womb is a human life — it is only a “chia seed-size embryo,” as feminist columnist Monica Hesse recently called it, or “a clump of cells,” as they often tell us. Most who promote and procure abortions have not yet descended into actually using the bodies of the unborn in religious rituals to appease their gods — although fetal tissue research, used as it is for the secular, utilitarian gods of “science” and “progress,” gets us pretty close.
But the language of the pro-abortion movement, especially among those who wear clerical garb and use religious honorifics, should give us pause. Even if they cloak that life in the womb with the language of “embryo,” “cells” and “fetus,” it is quite another thing to label its destruction holy and sacred.
It is, after all, life, a living organism. Something living and growing is destroyed for the sake, so they say, of the mother’s life and wellbeing. A sacrifice is made, which, its advocates say, is cause for celebration. But that is not a holy thing. It is horrific.