With the scandalous leak of a majority draft opinion indicating that the Supreme Court is poised to overturn Roe v. Wade came the predictable rekindling of the debate about the morality of ending human life in the womb, but this endless back-and-forth skirts a deeper issue.
The left is clinging for dear life to the barbaric procedure they’ve euphemized as a “woman’s right to choose,” although even the president of the United States admitted after the leak that abortion isn’t just a “clump of cells” or “fetus” that’s being “terminated.” It’s the intentional killing of a “child.” Meanwhile, for the right, Roe‘s impending demise marks a victory for human life nearly 50 years in the making, plus the next uphill battle of protecting life in each state.
One reason that fight will always be uphill is that although abortion is an issue of monumental importance, it’s still just the ugly, rotten fruit of the real problem. Digging down to the root unearths the gnarly source of America’s murderous ecosystem: our perverted sexual ethic.
The design for sex, ordained by the Creator Himself since the dawn of Earth in Eden, is that it belongs in marriage alone in a covenant between one man and one woman until death. Only in that context can sex be what God intended: a mutual self-giving that is complete, unconditional, faithful, and ultimately fruitful. Although subduing the ground and bringing children into the world became painful with man’s rebellion, the aim of marriage and sex remained: “Be fruitful and multiply.” But oh, how we’ve strayed.
It’s easy to trace the degeneracy of America’s sexual mores. The sexual revolution of the 1960s and ’70s is a good place to start, with the advent of the pill, the second wave of feminism, and the so-called golden age of porn. All of these paved the way for the gay rights movement, Roe v. Wade, and the brave new world of sex without children.
That was the whole point, of course. It was the womb that kept women from things like education and careers, according to the revolutionaries, so women came to despise our own bodies and the unique functions they perform.
Then along came the pill and took contraceptive power out of men’s hands and placed it in women’s. As PBS characterized the pill, “most revolutionary of all, it separated reproduction and contraception from the sexual act.”
It’s that illusion of separation — between sex and reproduction — that’s evolved to form our modern sexual landscape, which the left cheers as progress with words like “freedom,” “choice,” “liberation,” and “empowerment.” It manifests in the soft porn of streamed entertainment, open relationships and even marriages, hookup culture and casual sex, and ultimately unplanned pregnancy and the decision to kill children rather than embrace the responsibilities associated with having sex.
I call it an illusion because there is no real separation between sex and reproduction. Unlike contraceptives, here’s the pill nobody wants to swallow: No pill or scrap of latex, no carefree intention, no careful timing, and no regret can completely remove children from the sex equation. Pregnancy is always a possibility.
We must confront this because it’s inherent in our culture’s propensity to murder our own young. Behind the veil of abortion is the inescapable reality that sex is deeply consequential — emotionally, physically, and spiritually — and until we are honest about the true costs of sex, we will never escape the terrors of abortion.
Thus it’s in the bedroom, not after a positive pregnancy test, that “choice” is not only an option but a responsibility. Sex is almost always a decision, and while the pro-abortion camp at this point screams “rape” and “incest” as a catch-all retort, those sinful realities only underscore the inextricability of sex and reproduction and emphasize men’s responsibility to choose protecting women over dominating them. Abortion does nothing but absolve men of that duty, reinforcing to them that they can exploit women without consequence.
Unfortunately, and contrary to the endless lies of our culture, abortion doesn’t take away the consequences of sex. It merely changes them. Whereas the consequence of sex might be filling our wombs, the attempt to escape it terrorizes our souls.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. Sex is a beautiful and gracious gift. Enjoyed within God-given parameters, the spiritual, physical, and emotional consequences of sex become oneness, intimacy, and the bonds of trust in marriage, an institution so important in God’s design that it bookends Genesis and Revelation.
Because the ultimate aim of the marriage bed is to be fruitful and multiply, the consequences of sex are not a threat to be escaped, but a calling to embrace with all the stability and comfort that a nuclear family can provide better than any other arrangement. As C.S. Lewis explained in “Mere Christianity”:
The monstrosity of sexual intercourse outside marriage is that those who indulge in it are trying to isolate one kind of union (the sexual) from all the other kinds of union which were intended to go along with it and make up the total union. The Christian attitude does not mean that there is anything wrong about sexual pleasure, any more than about the pleasure of eating. It means that you must not isolate that pleasure and try to get it by itself, any more than you ought to try to get the pleasures of taste without swallowing and digesting, by chewing things and spitting them out again.
Our progressive culture endlessly lies that the way to be liberated is to separate the trivial act of sex from its reproductive function and indulge without apology. It’s in rejecting this illusion of separation, however, that we find true freedom and embrace real choice. There’s nothing trivial about sex. Its consequences are life and death.