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In the animal kingdom, animals kill their offspring. I have seen it myself among housecats as well as chickens. I suspect cats of all sizes do this. Dogs, mice, pigs, bears, dolphins, and baboons practice infanticide pretty regularly. And they do it for reasons that are not illogical!
Males kill offspring because the offspring are a distraction for the mother of the newborn – and men like to be the center of attention. Ask any new father whether his wife remembers his existence, and it makes (some) sense. Killing the brat is a purely selfish act – and it is also entirely natural.
Women, on the other hand, are more practical. They will kill and eat their young when they are nutritionally deficient, but also if the young seem unlikely to be able to thrive because they are unusually small or deformed in some way. Female animals kill when food is scarce. Female animals kill for what people might call socio-economic reasons. It is also perfectly natural.
Abortion fits in quite reasonably with the above. Men are in favor of abortion because kids are a distraction for the mother, and reduce her sexual interest in the man.
Women, on the other hand, support abortion for the very same common-sensical reasons that motivate the animals who abandon or eat their young: babies are a major inconvenience, and they come with a multitude of costs. (Though at least in nature, the mother might kill or isolate a runt to enable the remaining litter to survive is still showing maternal instincts. Humans who kill babies because they are inconvenient are not being maternal at all.)
In which case, abortion is hardly unnatural. On the contrary, it is the dovetailing of normal animal instincts with the human technology to kill the unborn.
Animals also cull the weak or the sick newborn. Sometimes the newborn might just be… different. It can still trigger the same instinct that leads many species of animals to show hostility toward abnormal members of their species. Humans do the same thing, with state support. In Scandinavian countries Down’s Syndrome has been essentially eliminated, by killing the babies in the womb. Is it so different from how a mama bear, with a well-established fame for protecting her cubs, will kill and eat an abnormal newborn?
Killing our young is being more in touch with nature and our animal instincts! Indeed, suppressing our desire to exclude or harm those who are different requires us to suppress our natural instincts!
As with animals, the reasons we kill babies do not have to stem from desperation; it can merely be a matter of preference. The gender imbalance in Asian cultures is directly attributed to killing girls either through sex-selective abortion or after birth. “In China and India alone, an estimated 2 million baby girls go “missing” each year. They are selectively aborted, killed as newborns, or abandoned and left to die.“ (Link) Infanticide is commonly found in every primitive/native/pagan society known to man.
If the idea of infanticide or filial cannibalism fills you with horror, you might count the Torah among your holy texts:
And she who is most tender and dainty among you, so tender and dainty that she would never venture to set a foot on the ground, shall begrudge the husband of her bosom, and her son and her daughter the afterbirth that issues from between her legs and the babies she bears. She shall eat them secretly, because of utter want, in the desperate straits to which your enemy shall reduce you in your towns. (Deut. 28:56)
I cannot read even this passage out loud without loss of composure. On the day when we mourn our greatest failures, and the losses that resulted from them, the Ninth of Av, we read of women eating their children. It is our worst nightmare.
What on earth would bring this curse down on us?
Because you would not serve your G-d with connection/joy and goodness of heart over the abundance of everything. (Deut. 28:47)
Whoa. Now play it back. What are the dominant features of people who think abortion is a good idea? They have no relationship to G-d. They tend not to be happy. And they are deeply ungrateful for all the good that exists in their world. Which are more-or-less the traits you would need to have in order for parents to knowingly choose to kill their own child in a time when we are so rich by historical standards that nowhere in the Western World does having a baby mean that others will actually starve.
But, hey! At least they are being true to nature. Which might help explain why I understand that mankind’s job is always to try to overcome our instincts, and to be better than nature.
In the Torah, the woman who eats her afterbirth and young is deeply shamed – destroyed – by the act. She would be devastated by it. My mind boggles at the thought of doing the same thing with pride.
[an @iwe and @eliyahumasinter work]
P.S. I noticed that the mammals that kill their young tend to be not kosher. Though I think any non-human mammal with a large litter will still isolate and abandon the runt.Published in