Arizona Abortion Law and Chronological Snobbery

Old laws can be good.


John Stonestreet

Timothy D Padgett

Recently, the Arizona Supreme Court ruled that the state must abide by a 160-year-old law that would outlaw most abortions. Pro-abortion voices were quick to condemn the law on the grounds that the law is … old. 

The Associated Press, Vox, CNN, Vanity Fair, Forbes, Salon, and others all referred to the law, which was triggered back into effect by the overturning of Roe v. Wade, a “Civil War era” law. An ACLU policy analyst called it a “century-old zombie law,” and according to a University of Arizona law professor, “The code reads as if you’re going back to … [the] barbaric, wild west.”  

C.S. Lewis called this sort of talk “chronological snobbery,” the idea that anything older is bad and anything new is necessarily better. Of course, we won’t hear pundits complain about the thirteenth Amendment that outlawed slavery because it is from the “Civil War era,” or that freedom of the press should be dismissed because it’s even older.  

Abortion is wrong. It always has been. 


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