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Letters from an Ancient Mind

My dear young friend,

You need not presume my ignorance in sexual matters. I am quite acquainted with the practice of abortion. What does surprise me is your ability to look into the womb and see the child not yet born. That is indeed a marvel. Your doctors are to be congratulated for that.

All the same, I am not so certain as you that we have not encountered much the same problem in our time. It is not so many years ago that our people worshiped pagan gods. They considered it no great thing to discard an infant. The prime difference is that in our time the father decided the infant’s fate, not the mother. The custom was that the midwife would present the infant to the father. If he picked up the child, he acknowledged it as his own. If he turned his back, the midwife was to take the child into the wilderness and abandon it.

At a guess, most of your abortions concern infant girls, do they not? So it was with us. Most often when the child was spurned it was for being a girl. Often the tender heart of the midwife would not allow her to abandon the child to death. She would take it to the market and leave it there – to be picked up by the priestesses of Aphrodite, who would raise the girl to be a temple prostitute. We, too, worshiped the animal nature.

Abortion is largely the art of the prostitute, for she cannot ply her trade when pregnant. They learn early how to use the instrument of abortion.

You consider this murder. I must confess we do not see it in that light, for we consider the baby alive only when the signs of quickening are felt. Your knowledge is disturbing to me. But may I point out what you have missed?

There is grave damage to any society that allows such. For is it not the mark of civilization that the strong care for the weak? Tell me, who is weaker than a babe not yet born? If you will so callously approve of abortion, will it not harden all hearts? Who among you will become the next to fall from favor? All of us become weak with age. The barbarians send their aged to die in the forest in time of famine. No doubt your methods will be swifter – but equally fatal. Does this not teach their young that the value of a man’s life is found only in his sword or his purse?

Do you not see it? By such actions you sear your consciences so that all manner of evil becomes palatable – as long as some may benefit. Soon you will have nothing but the tyranny of the strong. The barbarians have such. What stands between your people and such a horror, if not your consciences? Destroy them, and destroy yourselves.

With apprehension I remain,

Isaac the Alchemist

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