It is the year 22006 A.D. and through the wonders of literary license, we are able to look down on a group of scientists who have made a stunning and grisly discovery. An archaeological expedition is being led by Professor Ralph Jameson from Belize University. Jameson is one of the foremost authorities in pre-Ice Age antiquity. Jameson's discoveries have changed the way the world views North America's ancient history. During a trip to the North American continent, which for the past 18,000 plus years has been buried under more than a mile of glacial ice, Jameson is accompanied by a team of researchers from the most prestigious institutions of higher learning throughout Central America.
Scientists say the Ice Age began sometime after the 21st century when draconian measures were taken to prevent what many at the time believed was the onset of global warming. In fact, the Earth was going through a normal cycle of heating and cooling, but aided by the ill-informed actions of political, scientific and economic leaders, much of the world was artificially plunged into an Ice Age of historical magnitude.
Jameson is accompanied by John Davenport, a forensic archaeologist who currently teaches at the University of the Dominican Republic and Professor Cynthia Johnson of Cuba University, who is perhaps the foremost expert on ancient cultures, including the industrial civilizations which inhabited the northern hemisphere prior to the Earth's cooling.
The researchers are working on a site near what was formerly called San Francisco, which was a highly populated metropolitan area in the United States empire. The region only recently became accessible because of receding glaciers and the researchers are just about to make a gruesome and perplexing discovery.
"We can't figure it out," says Jameson, as he stared down at a layer of strata which represented a time estimated to be around the year 2000 A.D. "I don't understand what they were doing here. From what we know about this time period, they were civilized, they had access to medical treatment, although primitive by our standards, and they had a form of government. But I don't understand this."
"It's got to be a burial ground of some sorts," replies Professor Johnson as she stroked her chin. "I don't understand what else it could be."
"Perhaps this had something to do with cannibalism," offers Davenport. "Because the bodies are in pieces and I can't think of any other reason why this would be."
"No," exclaims Jameson. "Cannibalism disappeared centuries before this time period. This is something else and we can't overlook the obvious fact we are all trying not to acknowledge. All these bodies are pre-borns."
"Yes, you're right," says Johnson. "The bodies appear to range from conception to near birth. And look here, some of the skulls were punctured at their base, then crushed. What is that?"
"I don't know, " Davenport adds, shaking his head. "I have no idea."
"Well, I've got a theory, but some of you won't like it," as Jameson shrugs. "It looks to me like they were killing their unborn inside the womb."
"That's madness!" shouts Johnson with indignation. "I'm sorry, but you're saying women in a civilized society were killing their own offspring before birth and sometimes during birth. Why in the world would they do this? Why would they get pregnant in the first place? It just doesn't makes sense and I'm not buying it."
Around this time, the students who accompanied the research team begin to gather around the dig site and start to offer suggestions.
"Maybe it was a burial ground, washed down river from a cemetery site," speculates one student.
"Perhaps it was some sort of hospital and these were preemies," another student chimes in.
"No, wait, wait, the bodies are in pieces," says Davenport with an air of intellectual certainty. "The bodies would not be in pieces, if they were undergoing prenatal care or if they were born prematurely."
"Well, it's getting late," Jameson states with reluctance. "Let's preserve the site and address this thing in the morning."
Suddenly, one of the interns says, "I wonder if this dig has anything to do with the records we found at the other site down the coast?"
The group preserved the diggings and we visit a discussion at another archaeological finding mentioned by one of the student interns a week before.
"This is a tremendous find. Without a doubt, I think this links to the other dig," says Jameson. "And I also believe it confirms my original thesis. The records we are finding here indicate women were killing their unborn babies. There's no doubt."
"I have to agree with your hypothesis," sighs Professor Johnson. "But why? Why would they do this?"
"I think it might have been some kind of female rite of passage," Davenport adds.
"Go on," says Jameson.
"Now follow me here," Davenport replies. "This might have been a way for some women to assert their dominance over men. We all can admit this. For the most part, men are bigger and men are stronger. So, in what way could women assert some sort of control or power in this culture?"
"I'm following you," states Johnson. "But I still don't think I understand. As a woman, the most precious gift I can offer society is a child. Why would I destroy anything that gives me real power to assert some other form of control. It doesn't make sense."
"I'm beginning to see it," Jameson retorts. "This was a type of human sacrifice. Perhaps it was a symbolic gesture meant to demonstrate authority over life itself. It sounds like madness, but it's the only thing that makes sense."
"So this had nothing to do with birth control?" Johnson queries. "It was a cult of death and those who promoted and practiced this ritual were leaders?"
"I would think so," adds Davenport. "Although it is contrary to the natural process of the propagation of the species, some women must have derived great power by promoting this practice which enabled them to take their culture down this path."
"So it was human sacrifice?" Jameson asks.
"Yes, but they probably didn't call it that," replies Davenport. "They might have said something like women have the right to control their own bodies."
"Dr. Jameson, could this be something like what early archaeologists found in the caves of Belize in the early 21st century?" asks Johnson. "At those sites, it was found human sacrifices were taking place. And those performing the rituals were also in the ruling class."
"I know of the research," replies Jameson. "But according to the partial records we found at this site, it seems they could have been performing thousands of these ritualistic acts each year. If there were similar sites across the whole North American continent and you multiply that figure by the number of similar sites, we are talking about millions of these deaths per year. And we don't even know if this could have been going on worldwide."
"Could this possibly have had something to do with the myth of overpopulation that we know was falsely spread during that time period?" Johnson asks.
"No," Davenport retorts. "That was truly a myth, as you say. And though it's possible the overpopulation theory could have been used as an excuse for these killings, I think some of these ritualistic practices might have been performed for acts of convenience."
"That is birth control," Johnson replies.
"Yes," exclaims Davenport. "But since the act is so socially repugnant, or at least it should have been, there had to be an excuse provided for women who killed their unborn."
"OK, let's summarize," say Jameson. "We have found sites where unborn children have literally been cut out of their mother's womb. We think this was some sort of ritualistic act, controlled by the ruling class. And, with the numbers we have found at the San Francisco dig, the ruling class may have used false pretenses to encourage women to perform this ritual. And, as we have learned from some pre-Columbian archaeological research, it was primarily the poor and powerless who were the victims of this ritualistic murder--as we would call it today."
"Sadly, I think you're right," Johnson acknowledges reluctantly. "It's amazing, but we may never know the whole story of what was going on in a world that, seemingly, had gone mad."
"Let's go home," Jameson concludes as he struggled to his feet and brushes the dirt from his clothing. "In a way, I still feel dirty. I need to take a long hot bath."
Of course, the above is a fictional depiction of what might take place in Earth's distant future. But the killing of 1.5 million unborn children each year is very real and it is taking place today.