The latest by book author and scholar Marvin Olasky, The Story of Abortion in America: A Street-Level History, 1652-2022, is dedicated to former Care Net President Guy Condon.
New Book Details History of Abortion
Olasky, a senior fellow of the Discovery Institute and an Acton Institute affiliate scholar, co-wrote the book with Leah Savas, a reporter with WORLD News Group. In his portion of the dedication, Olasky honors his wife Susan, founder of the Austin (Texas) Crisis Pregnancy Center, and Condon, who died in a car accident in 2000. Condon, 46, was driving home from a pro-life event when his car was broadsided by another vehicle.
It is fitting that The Story of Abortion in America is co-dedicated to Condon. The book helps readers understand the history of abortion and its impact on American politics and culture, and helps make the case for a holistic, biblically based approach to women faced with unplanned pregnancies. Likewise, Care Net “envisions a culture where women and men faced with pregnancy decisions are transformed by the Gospel of Jesus Christ and empowered to choose life for their unborn children and abundant life for their families.”
Also of importance to Care Net and its supporters, Olasky and Savas chronicle the work of early pro-life advocates and precursors to today’s pregnancy centers in the centuries leading up to landmark cases Roe v. Wade, Planned Parenthood v. Casey, and Dobbs v. Jackson.
Roland Warren, Care Net’s President and CEO, called The Story of Abortion in America “an amazing work.”
“Olasky and Savas have made an important contribution on a topic that is both so controversial and also so essential to the understanding of what America has become and what it will be as a nation in the future. This book is a reminder that our nation’s abortion history is linked to its destiny, especially if we seek to offer compassion, hope, and help to those at risk for abortion and their vulnerable unborn children.”
Kristan Hawkins, President of Students for Life of America and Students for Life Action, said the book explains how abortion became “normal” under the reign of Roe v. Wade, yet, “it wasn’t always that way in our nation.”
Indeed it was not. In a recent podcast, Savas noted that the first recorded abortion in America occurred in 1652 when Captain William Mitchell forced a procedure on his servant Susan Warren after impregnating her. Mitchell stood trial for his actions.
“What does that tell us about that time period and what they actually believed about abortion?” asked Savas. “They saw it as murder. They saw the unborn child as a real human being that deserved to be protected. It was not a political issue to them… Captain Mitchell was not allowed to hold public office, and had to pay a big fine. The community pressures against abortion made it very rare.”
Savas said people are often surprised to learn that abortion has been going on for that long.
“It’s a good reminder for pro-lifers that abortion didn’t start with Roe v. Wade, and it’s not going to end with the overturning of Roe v. Wade.”
Savas and Olasky, former editor-in-chief of WORLD Magazine, are hopeful that the book will dispel popular “myths” regarding the history of abortion, including one perpetuated by the majority opinion from Justice Harry Blackman in Roe v. Wade.
“Blackman asserted that abortion was acceptable in early America (1800's) up until quickening (which is approximately five months into a pregnancy when the mother can start to feel the baby inside of her).”
In the interview, Savas also talked about her research with pregnancy center workers, noting how they believe that “abortion is, ultimately, a problem of the heart.” And hearts can only be changed by addressing spiritual needs and through the power of the Gospel.
“It’s very important to be the hands and feet of Jesus to women who are facing unplanned pregnancies—to serve them with material aid, to show them unborn life through ultrasound technology, to give them diapers and clothes for their babies and, and strollers and swings and all those material needs,” Savas said. “[But] the ultimate solution to the problem of abortion is not a law. It’s not science. It’s ultimately a conviction of what God’s Word says and the willingness to obey God by loving him and loving your unborn neighbor.”