Wyrd Designs – Heathenry and Abortion

Wyrd Designs – Heathenry and Abortion January 25, 2011

Also see Galina Krasskova’s and Star Foster‘s posts on abortion.

Through the years I have been asked, especially by people outside of my religion, what stance if any that the heathen religion had on the issue of abortion. Unlike other religions (such as Christianity), there is nothing that specifically prohibits abortion within our religious worldview.

Ancient Heathens took a practical, not a religious, worldview as it applied to pregnancy and children. Two things were considered in the fate of a child: did the child appear healthy, and how would the child fit into the dispensation of inherited wealth, property and financial resources of the family/clan?

Mirror Cradle's Frigga Expecting

While we have plenty of evidence that sex was occurring between men and women of varying social strata, a man had to acknowledge the child as his own in order to provide financial compensation to the woman. A wife would probably have her child acknowledged, but other women may not have their children acknowledged, and then the child would become a financial burden upon the mother and her family. Could this child be supported? Could it be fed, and clothed? In an age before food stamps, and grocery stores, having an ‘extra mouth’ to feed without extra support, could mean that not only would that child go hungry, but other members of the household might as well. While this attitude may seem callous to some, it also is practical. By trying to feed one additional child, you could compromise the health of several members of the family, by curtailing the food intake the rest of the family would have had but now has to reduce to feed the new mouth.

More than this, there were a number of laws that existed to help curtail illegitimate children. While financial responsibilities are easily understood, a woman who had sex with a man that was not of worth was shamed, not for having sex, but rather because of whom she had sex with. In this sense women are keepers of the ancestral lines, a free-woman copulating with a slave, or outlawed man and having a child was a shame to her family, and the child would live a life denied of any benefits unlike those children born to different socioeconomic fathers could enjoy. While there are women like Samantha in Sex and the City, who have had a roll in the hay with the proverbial ‘bad boys’ for the mere pleasure of it, most of them wouldn’t want to consider having a family with those bad boys. Today, unlike in ancient Scandinavia, we are blessed with effective birth control, and ready access to them.

Outside of the financial ramifications of a child, the health of a child was also considered. If a child appeared to be deformed, or rather sickly, it wasn’t uncommon for children to be left outside to die, in some cases and with certain sort of deformities after Christian conversions, these children were sent to be baptized and then buried alive in the church cemetery. While the mere thought of this is abhorrent to many today, this custom didn’t exist out of an attitude of cruelty, but rather out of a practical attitude that could be described as merciful.

Life was very harsh back then. Most children didn’t survive out of their infancy, and even of those that did some scholars estimate that only 20% of the children lived to their fifth birthday. There was no American with Disabilities Act, no advancements in medicine that could help improve the quality of life for those born with deformities. The simple reality was that a child that could not work as ably-bodied as a normal child would not be able to support themselves, or contribute enough to the workload of the family to compensate for the time and materials spent on keeping that child alive.

When Viking children reached around five years old, they were expected to fully assist in the work of the family: working besides their parents in the fields, in the house, or wherever else their means of income might take them. By the time they reach their pre-teens most were doing the work of full adults. While modern child labor laws make this seem almost unreasonably cruel, you also have to remember that life was harsh for the adults as well. There are numerous instances showing that a woman was expected to work throughout her entire pregnancy, and after giving birth was required to return to work fairly promptly. One story has a pregnant woman while out herding the sheep, giving birth to twin boys unattended in the pasture, and she brought the children home that night. While this story may seem extreme, and there are a couple of other similar narratives, there are also narratives of the women having a little bit of rest before they were expected to return to work.

We see this practice of infanticide mentioned throughout various sources ranging from Iceland, Norway, and England, such as the Íslendingabók and Icelandic legal codes, as well as various Norse law codes. In England, we see the Archbishop Theodore of Tarsus imposing 15 years of penance for committing infanticide. The penance wouldn’t exist if the custom hadn’t been practiced already. Even after the Christianization of many of these formerly pagan areas, infanticide concerning children with visible birth deformities was still permitted by the Church well past medieval times.

While by no means am I advocating infanticide, the pre-Christian attitude concerning these children was that they weren’t even named until so many days after the birth and the child’s fate to live was determined. To those ancient pagans, one could almost argue that ‘life’ didn’t begin with the first breaths after childbirth (or as some argue today fertilization), but rather life didn’t begin until the moment the child was claimed and named by those in that culture.

With modern advances in medicine, we not only now know when we are pregnant within a matter of days of the magic moment of fertilization, but we unlike these ancient peoples have access to effective means of birth control as well as medically safe ways for the mother to undergo abortion, enabling us to avoid post-birth infanticide entirely.

Today, it is ultimately the choice of each Heathen woman should she find herself pregnant to make the choice she deems appropriate in her given situation. Those who face that choice consider can they support the child? Can they provide the child with a loving and nurturing home? I have seen the sort of emotional abuse that unwanted children have grown up in when their parents didn’t want them and only had them because their church-dictated their religious moral pro-life stance.  A woman might also consider what type of inherited luck would the child have? One such example of how inherited luck might play out in ancestral lines is looking at the genetic inheritance the child might have. For instance, if the child would be born with a hereditary but debilitating disease is it cruel to let such a child suffer? Beyond genetic inheritance, we also believe in a type of inheritance that is harder to physically point to, such as traits they might be prone to and general elements of luck that could negatively impact the child throughout their life. Sometimes there are of course complications from pregnancy meaning the child may be handicapped in some way, in those cases the mother must struggle with the issue of quantity of life versus quality of life.  Would she feel comfortable letting someone else adopt the child, if she did not feel up to the task of caring for it herself? Or in this particular circumstance, does she feel that abortion is the humane choice? And yes, I will argue that there are cases when choosing life isn’t always the humane choice.

This is sometimes in the community referred to as a rooftree issue, i.e. meaning it is a decision that only impacts an individual household as characterized by the roof under which they live. So if you’re an adult living on your own via independent means, you have an autonomous rooftree. A rooftree issue is understood in the community that those living outside of the rooftree (such as one’s religious kindred, neighbors, or even the community at large) really don’t have any business trying to tell you what to do.  While something like this can be construed as a rooftree issue, other items as they impact independent households can also fall under rooftree issues, such as curfew, chores, punishments for naughty children, divorces, inheritance, etc.

Personally, I believe that all women should have reasonable access to birth control, and to safe medical access to abortions. Even if you were to outlaw it, history has shown us that abortions would still occur, only then you’d have women in desperation going to unsafe places, who were sometimes maimed and occasionally killed in the process.

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  • The Norse Alchemist

    Interesting.

    I would like to mention though that what I’ve read of “Exposing” an infant was that the family was to leave the child at the sacred grove(s), in essence returning it to the Gods and Goddesses, with the understanding that a) the child would be found (hopefully, as I suspect the sacred areas were well visited and it wasn’t too cold) and b) left there for another family to take if they so chose.

    In addition, it was considered shameful for a wealthy family to expose an infant, but understandable for a poor one. It seems to me that exposing was as much a form of divine-based adoption (either the local priests/priestess would take the child or a family who needed a child could take it) as it was infanticide, but that’s my own thoughts. Kind of like leaving a child at a church is today.

  • The Norse Alchemist

    Interesting.

    I would like to mention though that what I’ve read of “Exposing” an infant was that the family was to leave the child at the sacred grove(s), in essence returning it to the Gods and Goddesses, with the understanding that a) the child would be found (hopefully, as I suspect the sacred areas were well visited and it wasn’t too cold) and b) left there for another family to take if they so chose.

    In addition, it was considered shameful for a wealthy family to expose an infant, but understandable for a poor one. It seems to me that exposing was as much a form of divine-based adoption (either the local priests/priestess would take the child or a family who needed a child could take it) as it was infanticide, but that’s my own thoughts. Kind of like leaving a child at a church is today.

  • This statement sounds misogynist and possibly racist: “In this sense women are keepers of the ancestral lines, a free-woman copulating with a slave, or outlawed man and having a child was a shame to her family…”

    The idea of “ancestral lines” runs perilously close to ideas of bloodline purity that, even if phrased in socio-economic terms, are essentially about who is fit to reproduce and with whom. Putting the burden solely on women about with whom they “copulate” (nice animalistic turn of phrase there) and then talking about “shame to her family” makes it sound like the woman is on the one hand a breeding animal and on the other hand the possessor of some kind of moral goodness that the family has the right to enforce on her if she doesn’t do it herself.

    Perhaps you meant to use a past tense verb there, to indicate that, like infanticide, these ideas are no longer relevant? If not, please explain how concepts of “ancestral lines” and “shame to her family” are understood in your approach to Heathenry today.

  • Literata

    This statement sounds misogynist and possibly racist: “In this sense women are keepers of the ancestral lines, a free-woman copulating with a slave, or outlawed man and having a child was a shame to her family…”

    The idea of “ancestral lines” runs perilously close to ideas of bloodline purity that, even if phrased in socio-economic terms, are essentially about who is fit to reproduce and with whom. Putting the burden solely on women about with whom they “copulate” (nice animalistic turn of phrase there) and then talking about “shame to her family” makes it sound like the woman is on the one hand a breeding animal and on the other hand the possessor of some kind of moral goodness that the family has the right to enforce on her if she doesn’t do it herself.

    Perhaps you meant to use a past tense verb there, to indicate that, like infanticide, these ideas are no longer relevant? If not, please explain how concepts of “ancestral lines” and “shame to her family” are understood in your approach to Heathenry today.

  • I’m pretty sure KC meant past tense and her language implies a woman’s choices but I can totally see a modern interpretation. I have a friend who decided to marry an abusive alcoholic bum against all her friends advice even though there were nice upstanding men interested in her. She invited his shame into her life and into the lives of the children they had.

    There are plenty of families today who don’t think of family as a sacred thing and aren’t as concerned as they should be with their relatives well-being and happiness. Some people aren’t fit to be parents, or to be husbands or wives. Your friends and family should be an extra set of eyes so that you make life decisions well, and they should do this in a constructive non-imposing manner.

    My ancestry is a muddled up mix and my ancestors are calling me to care for our ancestral lines, our luck and our wyrd or egregore. They want me to have kids and they don’t care about race, but they do care that if I have kids it’s in an honorable fashion and that the child is cared for properly.

    I think in today’s PC age it’s become wrong to say you want to raise kids with someone who is respectable and stable rather than indulging in some ill-fated romance. I don’t think our ancestors care about race, sexual orientation, single parenting, polyamory or a whole host of things we care about today. They care about continuity, prosperity and honor.

    So yeah, women do bear children. Men do not. Women can decide whose child to have (then as today most Pagan women know a “true apothecary”) and with whom to raise a child. Women hold the power of choice. I see that as an empowering thing, not a shameful one. So if we have a choice, then yes, we bear the responsibility to make a good choice, for ourselves, for our children and for our ancestors. And actually I think that is the essence of the Pagan pro-choice argument: we bear the responsibility of choice and that choice is holy, for it affects not just ourselves but our community, our ancestors and our Gods. To give birth is a magical act, and like all magical acts it should be carefully considered and undertaken mindfully.

  • I’m pretty sure KC meant past tense and her language implies a woman’s choices but I can totally see a modern interpretation. I have a friend who decided to marry an abusive alcoholic bum against all her friends advice even though there were nice upstanding men interested in her. She invited his shame into her life and into the lives of the children they had.

    There are plenty of families today who don’t think of family as a sacred thing and aren’t as concerned as they should be with their relatives well-being and happiness. Some people aren’t fit to be parents, or to be husbands or wives. Your friends and family should be an extra set of eyes so that you make life decisions well, and they should do this in a constructive non-imposing manner.

    My ancestry is a muddled up mix and my ancestors are calling me to care for our ancestral lines, our luck and our wyrd or egregore. They want me to have kids and they don’t care about race, but they do care that if I have kids it’s in an honorable fashion and that the child is cared for properly.

    I think in today’s PC age it’s become wrong to say you want to raise kids with someone who is respectable and stable rather than indulging in some ill-fated romance. I don’t think our ancestors care about race, sexual orientation, single parenting, polyamory or a whole host of things we care about today. They care about continuity, prosperity and honor.

    So yeah, women do bear children. Men do not. Women can decide whose child to have (then as today most Pagan women know a “true apothecary”) and with whom to raise a child. Women hold the power of choice. I see that as an empowering thing, not a shameful one. So if we have a choice, then yes, we bear the responsibility to make a good choice, for ourselves, for our children and for our ancestors. And actually I think that is the essence of the Pagan pro-choice argument: we bear the responsibility of choice and that choice is holy, for it affects not just ourselves but our community, our ancestors and our Gods. To give birth is a magical act, and like all magical acts it should be carefully considered and undertaken mindfully.

  • Rua Lupa

    When the woman so chooses to copulate (it is a formal term, not an offensive one. Also, yes we are all animals) she must take into account if whom she is copulating with would be able to contribute to the well-being of the child. If not, she is being irresponsible and putting the potential child at risk of being neglected by their biological father or having a family that is unable to care for it or even in a situation of abuse. If that is not a shameful situation, I don’t know what is. If you had a sibling who was pregnant with a criminal through her own decision, wouldn’t you feel the least bit ashamed?

    There are still families out there who would disown their child if they brought home a partner that was not of the same ethnic background. That is a reality still faced today, but it is still an individual choice of the now independent child.

    Biologically speaking, it is hard-wired to choose what your line has chosen in the past for your future, due to the evident success that those decisions had. (Ever read “Raptor Red”? It explains this subconscious ancestral decision a little more in depth.) You will notice that many women tend to choose partners that are much like that of their fathers and continue the trend that their family line has tread, for better or worse.

    I don’t know about you, but I’ve personally seen friends go and stick with men who were on the possessive side and likely abusive, and know that their fathers were much the same. I would ask myself, why then knowing this would they choose someone like that? Answer, Biological hard-wiring. Some individuals buck the trend and make, what is considered, better decisions. This makes us strange creatures in the animal world, which might attest to our success as a species.

    In the days of when I was unattached to anyone, when it came to deciding who I would date and put time and effort into a long term commitment, I always had asked myself, “would I want this man to father my children?” I even compared them to my own father, grandfathers, and other close male figures in my family. It is still of importance today for any woman. Today genetic analysis when considering a mate is of less consideration (although we honestly still do it subconsciously) it is more of the socio-economic status and the character of the man that is considered (which is what I mostly compared the potential spouse with).

    Men too, I’m sure, take into consideration the quality of the woman they choose to copulate with (within a situation that allows the possibility of a child). Would you, without knowing the individual, consider having a child with a woman who is rife with STI’s, or of ill-repute?

    Today’s medical technology allows for poor decisions to copulate with an ‘unsuitable’ man, and if conception occurs, to leave that situation and learn from that decision. But who would want to put themselves in a child bearing circumstance with someone whom is ‘unsuitable’? Many women wouldn’t; The big difference between whom men decide to copulate with and who women decide to copulate with, is that the woman is the one who has more risk in the equation of choosing an ‘unsuitable’ mate. So yes, the burden is essentially, “solely on women about with whom they “copulate”.” It is an unfair reality, that is the consequence of how our species reproduces. If we were asexual, then that would be an entirely different scenario, wouldn’t it?

  • Rua Lupa

    When the woman so chooses to copulate (it is a formal term, not an offensive one. Also, yes we are all animals) she must take into account if whom she is copulating with would be able to contribute to the well-being of the child. If not, she is being irresponsible and putting the potential child at risk of being neglected by their biological father or having a family that is unable to care for it or even in a situation of abuse. If that is not a shameful situation, I don’t know what is. If you had a sibling who was pregnant with a criminal through her own decision, wouldn’t you feel the least bit ashamed?

    There are still families out there who would disown their child if they brought home a partner that was not of the same ethnic background. That is a reality still faced today, but it is still an individual choice of the now independent child.

    Biologically speaking, it is hard-wired to choose what your line has chosen in the past for your future, due to the evident success that those decisions had. (Ever read “Raptor Red”? It explains this subconscious ancestral decision a little more in depth.) You will notice that many women tend to choose partners that are much like that of their fathers and continue the trend that their family line has tread, for better or worse.

    I don’t know about you, but I’ve personally seen friends go and stick with men who were on the possessive side and likely abusive, and know that their fathers were much the same. I would ask myself, why then knowing this would they choose someone like that? Answer, Biological hard-wiring. Some individuals buck the trend and make, what is considered, better decisions. This makes us strange creatures in the animal world, which might attest to our success as a species.

    In the days of when I was unattached to anyone, when it came to deciding who I would date and put time and effort into a long term commitment, I always had asked myself, “would I want this man to father my children?” I even compared them to my own father, grandfathers, and other close male figures in my family. It is still of importance today for any woman. Today genetic analysis when considering a mate is of less consideration (although we honestly still do it subconsciously) it is more of the socio-economic status and the character of the man that is considered (which is what I mostly compared the potential spouse with).

    Men too, I’m sure, take into consideration the quality of the woman they choose to copulate with (within a situation that allows the possibility of a child). Would you, without knowing the individual, consider having a child with a woman who is rife with STI’s, or of ill-repute?

    Today’s medical technology allows for poor decisions to copulate with an ‘unsuitable’ man, and if conception occurs, to leave that situation and learn from that decision. But who would want to put themselves in a child bearing circumstance with someone whom is ‘unsuitable’? Many women wouldn’t; The big difference between whom men decide to copulate with and who women decide to copulate with, is that the woman is the one who has more risk in the equation of choosing an ‘unsuitable’ mate. So yes, the burden is essentially, “solely on women about with whom they “copulate”.” It is an unfair reality, that is the consequence of how our species reproduces. If we were asexual, then that would be an entirely different scenario, wouldn’t it?

  • Galina Krasskova

    K.C. and i work in a tradition that honors the dead. Everyone has ancestors, it doesn’t matter where they come from. The idea is that they are worthy of honor.

    We believe that one’s female ancestors are particularly powerful. They protect the hamingja, one’s ancestral luck. Yes, I stand by her statement that women are the keepers of the ancestral line. The woman carries and bears the child. I think anyone who cares about the type of life that their child will have should sensibly take care who one chooses as the father.

    I don’t think anyone has to enforce this for a Heathen woman. Women have enough sense to do that for themselves! But shame …yes, men and women both can bring shame to their family lines. they can shame their ancestry and leave their descendants to go back and clean up the mess. One of the beautiful things about learning to rightly honor the dead is that it teaches you how not to do that and it allows you to work with your ancestors to restore the ancestral luck, which benefits us here and now.

  • Galina Krasskova

    K.C. and i work in a tradition that honors the dead. Everyone has ancestors, it doesn’t matter where they come from. The idea is that they are worthy of honor.

    We believe that one’s female ancestors are particularly powerful. They protect the hamingja, one’s ancestral luck. Yes, I stand by her statement that women are the keepers of the ancestral line. The woman carries and bears the child. I think anyone who cares about the type of life that their child will have should sensibly take care who one chooses as the father.

    I don’t think anyone has to enforce this for a Heathen woman. Women have enough sense to do that for themselves! But shame …yes, men and women both can bring shame to their family lines. they can shame their ancestry and leave their descendants to go back and clean up the mess. One of the beautiful things about learning to rightly honor the dead is that it teaches you how not to do that and it allows you to work with your ancestors to restore the ancestral luck, which benefits us here and now.

  • K. C. Hulsman

    @literata

    Most North Americans hear the word slave and instantly think of the men and women stolen from their homes in Africa and pressed into service because of the triangle trade, and therefore think of racism. But for the Vikings, slaves came from any peoples they’d bested in battle including neighboring communities composed of other Vikings as well as distant peoples as well. They took slaves from all over, and frankly anyone who knows their history, knows they had no problems intermingling their bloodlines with other peoples. (The whole concept of racial purity doesn’t historically exist, and anyone who harps on racial purity is just delusional).

    Therefore the term slave isn’t racist at all as it was used by the Vikings.

    As to misoygynistic, it was both a biological fact, and a social fact in this culture that while a man may sow the seeds, it was a woman who had to deal with the consequences. Socially the financial burden would also fall to the woman and her family unless the father claimed the child and would support it. A husband would pay for the child in full, a bastard child was only partially supported by the father, and any child born to a slave was considered a slave and property of the owner.

    Viking culture was very much influenced by social structure, not racial. If a free-woman gave birth to a child fathered by a slave, the child would b considered a slave, and would therefore belong as property to the owner of the slave who had fathered the child. But the reverse was also true, if it was a free-man who fathered a child on a slave woman, the child was still considered a slave and the child’s fate was up to the owner of the slave.

    But this is all historically speaking.

    Star, Galina and Runa speak most eloquently about the ancestral lines in the other comments, so I won’t add to it, since my comments would be “precisely” and “exactly so” and “I agree completely”

  • K. C. Hulsman

    @literata

    Most North Americans hear the word slave and instantly think of the men and women stolen from their homes in Africa and pressed into service because of the triangle trade, and therefore think of racism. But for the Vikings, slaves came from any peoples they’d bested in battle including neighboring communities composed of other Vikings as well as distant peoples as well. They took slaves from all over, and frankly anyone who knows their history, knows they had no problems intermingling their bloodlines with other peoples. (The whole concept of racial purity doesn’t historically exist, and anyone who harps on racial purity is just delusional).

    Therefore the term slave isn’t racist at all as it was used by the Vikings.

    As to misoygynistic, it was both a biological fact, and a social fact in this culture that while a man may sow the seeds, it was a woman who had to deal with the consequences. Socially the financial burden would also fall to the woman and her family unless the father claimed the child and would support it. A husband would pay for the child in full, a bastard child was only partially supported by the father, and any child born to a slave was considered a slave and property of the owner.

    Viking culture was very much influenced by social structure, not racial. If a free-woman gave birth to a child fathered by a slave, the child would b considered a slave, and would therefore belong as property to the owner of the slave who had fathered the child. But the reverse was also true, if it was a free-man who fathered a child on a slave woman, the child was still considered a slave and the child’s fate was up to the owner of the slave.

    But this is all historically speaking.

    Star, Galina and Runa speak most eloquently about the ancestral lines in the other comments, so I won’t add to it, since my comments would be “precisely” and “exactly so” and “I agree completely”

  • Literata

    I’m sorry I haven’t replied sooner to all the thoughtful responses here. Thank you for expanding on the ideas in the post and my questions about them.

    Rua Lupa, I’m not sure that I would care if someone was “of ill-repute” when deciding whether to start a family with them. Part of what I’m trying to point out is that social burdens of shame are often unjustly placed, and perhaps we should try to change that as a society.

    Star, I love your reply. The burden of choice and the blessing of making a holy choice are ours, and we have to work with them.

    Galina, I think I see what you mean about “ancestral line” as slightly different from what I was concerned about as a possible meaning in the original post.

    K.C, actually, I was aware of that history and wasn’t at all thinking of the US’s past and African-Americans being enslaved. What I was concerned about as far as racism was the idea that one group of people are “pure” and their children should not be “tainted” with the blood/seed of a lesser group. Most of the comments here have focused on the individual father, not on the father’s status as part of some intrinsically lesser group, which more than adequately answers my question about racism.

    As for misogyny, if this is about historical situations, that’s fine. I would claim misogyny if someone was saying it was right and proper for a family or religious group or society today to shame women for having sex, having sex with certain people, or bearing children with certain people. Using shame to control women’s behavior from the outside is a major tactic of misogyny.

  • Literata

    I’m sorry I haven’t replied sooner to all the thoughtful responses here. Thank you for expanding on the ideas in the post and my questions about them.

    Rua Lupa, I’m not sure that I would care if someone was “of ill-repute” when deciding whether to start a family with them. Part of what I’m trying to point out is that social burdens of shame are often unjustly placed, and perhaps we should try to change that as a society.

    Star, I love your reply. The burden of choice and the blessing of making a holy choice are ours, and we have to work with them.

    Galina, I think I see what you mean about “ancestral line” as slightly different from what I was concerned about as a possible meaning in the original post.

    K.C, actually, I was aware of that history and wasn’t at all thinking of the US’s past and African-Americans being enslaved. What I was concerned about as far as racism was the idea that one group of people are “pure” and their children should not be “tainted” with the blood/seed of a lesser group. Most of the comments here have focused on the individual father, not on the father’s status as part of some intrinsically lesser group, which more than adequately answers my question about racism.

    As for misogyny, if this is about historical situations, that’s fine. I would claim misogyny if someone was saying it was right and proper for a family or religious group or society today to shame women for having sex, having sex with certain people, or bearing children with certain people. Using shame to control women’s behavior from the outside is a major tactic of misogyny.

  • BobRN

    You write:

    “… in some cases and with certain sort of deformities after Christian conversions, these children were sent to be baptized and then buried alive in the church cemetery.”

    And also:

    “Infanticide concerning children with visible birth deformities was still permitted by the Church well past medieval times.”

    Do you have references for these statements, please? Thank you.

  • BobRN

    You write:

    “… in some cases and with certain sort of deformities after Christian conversions, these children were sent to be baptized and then buried alive in the church cemetery.”

    And also:

    “Infanticide concerning children with visible birth deformities was still permitted by the Church well past medieval times.”

    Do you have references for these statements, please? Thank you.

  • Wyrddesigns

    I just now saw your comment. It’s been a while since I wrote this article, but I know that some of my source materials for it are below.

    “Late antiquity: a guide to the postclassical world” By Glen Warren Bowersock, Peter Robert Lamont Brown, Oleg Grabar
    John E. Boswell’s in the 1984 article “Exposition and oblation: the abandonment of children and the ancient and medieval family” in the American Historical Review journal, 1984.William Langer’s 1974 article “infanticide: a historical survey” in the History of Childhood Quarterly journal.Editors Vern L. Bullough and James Brundage on the book “Sexual Practices and the Medieval Church.”

    I think the practice of burying alive specifically was something down at some English churches if memory serves me correctly.  

  • Wyrddesigns

    I just now saw your comment. It’s been a while since I wrote this article, but I know that some of my source materials for it are below.

    “Late antiquity: a guide to the postclassical world” By Glen Warren Bowersock, Peter Robert Lamont Brown, Oleg Grabar
    John E. Boswell’s in the 1984 article “Exposition and oblation: the abandonment of children and the ancient and medieval family” in the American Historical Review journal, 1984.William Langer’s 1974 article “infanticide: a historical survey” in the History of Childhood Quarterly journal.Editors Vern L. Bullough and James Brundage on the book “Sexual Practices and the Medieval Church.”

    I think the practice of burying alive specifically was something down at some English churches if memory serves me correctly.