Tuesday marks 46 years since the passage of Roe v Wade, which made abortion-on-demand the law of the land. This year also marks the 45 years since what is arguably the most courageous act in pop culture history.
In the early 1970s, the Texas-born Jim Seals and Dash Crofts were at the peak of their popularity. Their 1972 album “Summer Breeze” reached number seven on the Billboard album charts. The 1973 follow-up, “Diamond Girl,” did even better, peaking at number four. The record company was thrilled and so were fans. Both were looking forward to what was next from Seals and Croft.
Lana Day Bogan, wife of the duo’s recording engineer and longtime friend Joe Bogan, had seen a television documentary on abortion and was moved to write a poem, from the point of view of the baby. Seals, at Lana’s suggestion, put it to music. It opened with the lines “Oh little baby, you’ll never cry, nor will you hear a sweet lullaby.” The result was the song “Unborn Child,” which also became the name of their new album.
The song opens gently, but depicts the reality of abortion. The unborn child is “a tiny bud that grows in the womb only to be crushed before it can bloom” with an emphasis on the word “crushed.”
To put it mildly, this is not what their label, Warner Records, had in mind. Only a year since Roe v Wade and abortion remained very controversial. Add in the duo’s unapologetic and urgent plea for women contemplating abortion to “stop, think it over…” and it’s no shock that their record label had concerns.
As Dash Crofts later recalled, the label said, “This is a highly controversial subject, we advise that you don’t do this.” To which they replied, “But you’re in the business to make money; we’re doing it to save lives. We don’t care about the money.”
When the album released in early 1974, the label’s fears came true: Radio stations refused to play the title track because abortion supporters demanded equal time and picketed Seals and Croft concerts.
As music writer Bill de Young wrote 20 years later, “The critics tore the record to pieces, and Seals and Crofts with it… ‘Unborn Child’ hurt Seals and Crofts’ reputation—it was as if they had crossed that thin line, that sacrosanct divider that separated their music from their religious beliefs.”
Those beliefs? Seals and Croft weren’t Christians. They were Baha’is, a 19th century religion from Persia.
As Seals and Crofts later said, it’s worth the risk. “I think we got more good results out of it than bad…” Dash Crofts said. “…a lot of people called us and said, ‘We’re naming our children after you, because you helped us decide to save their lives with that song.’”
The message according to Seals and Crofts was simple: don’t take life too lightly, stop and think before going through with an abortion. But that message has no place in a world controlled by the abortion lobby. The sad truth is, “Unborn Child” was, for Seals and Crofts, the beginning of the end. Just like abortion has been for almost 61 million children since Roe v Wade. That’s more tragic than the Seals and Crofts story. At least they saved a few.