At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy …” (Luke 1:39-44)
The other night my wife and I were in bed talking, and she stopped me mid-sentence to point to her stomach. This would seem a little odd except for the fact that my wife is 6 months pregnant with our third child, a precious little girl. And she was pointing to her baby bump, exclaiming that she could see the baby moving. I stopped talking and we both stared eagerly at her belly and waited. A few seconds later I saw it, a little bump protruded from her belly and moved around. I reached out and put my hand on it, and I felt her. I felt my little daughter moving. I pushed in on her, and she pushed right back out at me; my first back and forth interaction with my little girl. I spoke to her and she kicked back again in response.
It was one of those moments when time seemed to stand still.
This is the third time we’ve been through this whole pregnancy thing, and yet it never seems any less miraculous. There is a life growing in my wife’s womb. A life that is more precious than all the gold and jewels in the entire world, a life with unfathomable potential, a life that has never existed before, and will never exist again.
And yet according to our society, she is worthless.
Ever since the infamous “Roe vs Wade” ruling by the US Supreme Court in 1973, our Government has held that an abortion is a constitutionally protected right for women. Since then there have been over 56 million abortions in the United States.
That equates to 2-3 lives destroyed every minute, round the clock, 365 days a year, for 43 years.
That is over 9 times as many lives destroyed as the Nazi Holocaust.
These were all babies that could have lived long, joyful, fruitful lives. And they were extinguished because they did not come at a convenient time for the parents.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not unsympathetic to the plight of the unexpected mother. I understand that having a child is an enormous responsibility and undertaking, I have two of them myself already, soon to be a third. I recognize that a lot of these would be mothers are in very complicated, and less than ideal situations. I also realize that in many cases the mother is not entirely to blame. The father may be a complete deadbeat and walk out on her, leaving her feeling like she just can’t do it on her own. In many cases the mother may feel a great deal of pressure from their families, boyfriends, fiancés or husbands to go through with the abortion. Many of them may feel like they have no choice. But none of that changes the fact that a life was destroyed.
Christian Apologist, Gregory Koukl said it best when he said, “If the unborn are not human, no justification for elective abortion is necessary. But if the unborn are human, no justification for elective abortion is adequate.”
I don’t think anyone with any sense of human decency, whether liberal or conservative, could argue with that statement. The debate is not about women’s rights, or bodily autonomy, or personal choice. The debate is about the nature of life. When does human life begin? It doesn’t matter what situation the mother-to-be is in, if the child growing inside of her is a human being than nothing can justify the destruction of that life. It is murder plain and simple.
So when does life begin?
The pro-choicer would immediately say that life begins at birth (though some might not even say that as we continue to hear horror stories of botched abortions where the baby is still alive outside of the womb and is still mercilessly slaughtered). Before birth there is no baby, they say. It is only a “fetus”, and that it is no more a human being than the residual bodily tissue residing in fecal matter.
I don’t believe that for one second.
It is completely ludicrous to think that a baby in utero is nothing more than a clump of cells. Any woman who has had a child inside of her can attest to the feeling of life growing inside of her. That is why countless women who have become mothers find the concept of abortion to be so detestable. That is why so many women after having abortions suffer from extreme guilt and depression. They know in the pit of their stomachs that they had a life growing inside of them, their child. And they know that they squashed that life out of existence, never to be seen again.
Life starts long before birth.
In the Gospel of Luke we are told of Mary, recently found to be with child by the Holy Spirit, carrying in her womb Jesus Christ, God Himself. She is visiting her cousin, Elizabeth, who is also miraculously pregnant in her old age after a lifetime of barrenness, with non-other than John the Baptist. We are told that when Mary, carrying the unborn Christ, approaches Elizabeth, the unborn John leaps for Joy. The presence of the unborn Jesus Christ could be felt by the unborn John the Baptist.
What could be better evidence of the life of the unborn child, than an expression of Joy in the presence of God?
But we don’t have to rely solely on Scriptures to tell us about the sanctity of the unborn life. By any scientific standard the unborn child is as much a human being as any other human being. It has its own DNA. It has its own blood type (that may or may not be the same as its mothers). It has a heartbeat as early as 6 weeks (which is a mere 4 weeks after conception depending on the mother’s cycle). If we declare death to be when the heart stops beating, why would not at least declare life to begin when the heart starts beating?
By week 16 the unborn child can start to hear, and by 24 weeks shows clear signs of responding to noises. By 20 weeks the unborn child shows signs of being able to feel pain. These are not lifeless lumps of clay floating around in amniotic goop. These babies can hear and feel, and kick and push and roll. Ask my wife about our second child; he was a non-stop ninja inside of her, constantly kicking and punching at every little thing.
Recently the US House of Representatives passed a bill that would ban abortions after 20 weeks gestation specifically because of the science indicating unborn babies that age are capable of feeling pain. Liberals may say the science is hogwash, but in reality, exactly when an unborn child is capable of feeling pain really doesn’t matter. Feeling pain is not an essential quality that defines the essence of a human being. When a person is anesthetized they do not cease being human. There are people with neurological conditions that prevent them from feeling pan, that doesn’t mean they aren’t human. Whether or not the baby can feel pain is not a definitive character of its humanity.
While I would agree that a bill to prohibit abortions after 20 weeks is a step in the right direction, I have a serious issue with it because it spreads a lie that a child’s humanity can be defined by a relatively arbitrary point in time.
Never mind that there are a lot of unknowns that go into defining gestation age. Doctors define it simply based on when the woman thinks her last period started, and assume that conception took place at a specific time during her cycle. What if she was off by a day or two on her last period? What if she didn’t ovulate exactly on day 14 of her cycle? And what about some babies developing slightly faster, or slightly slower than other babies? How can you say abortion on 19 weeks 6 days is okay, but 20 weeks 1 day is not? It is so arbitrary and shrouded in uncertainty. Do you really want to leave something as important as life and death up to something so arbitrary?
Really when you think about it, if you put a restriction on when an abortion is acceptable, no matter when that time is, you must argue that at that moment the very nature and essence of the child has changed in some clear and obvious way. You must have some reason to believe that before that moment they are not human beings, and yet after that moment they are. When dealing with a matter such as this, that is literally a matter of life or death, you can’t be arbitrary. It must be definitive; otherwise you might very well be committing murder.
So at what point in its development, at what specific moment, does the very nature and essence of a child change? Not at birth. All that changes at birth is the baby’s location, and the means by which it receives oxygen and nutrition. Its mind does not suddenly change. Its heart does not suddenly change. Its arms and legs, and ears, and nose and eyes do not suddenly change. Everything about the baby itself is no different outside the womb than inside the womb. Just because it eats with its mouth versus through an umbilical cord doesn’t change the essence of what it is.
And even if you continue to go back throughout the baby’s development, if you pick any specific moment and look at it a few moments earlier, or a few moments later, you could never say that the essence of its existence is suddenly different. Sure, if you compare 3 weeks gestation to 38 weeks you will see something that looks dramatically different. But it is impossible to identify any specific moment between those two stages where there is a definitive change in its nature. The growth and development is just too slow, there are no sudden leaps. How could you possibly say, with any confidence, that there is a specific moment where humanity is suddenly bestowed on the developing child?
There is only one moment in a baby’s existence where the nature of its existence shows a radical change: the moment of conception.
Before conception you have a sperm and an egg, two entirely separate entities, completely independent of each other, each only containing half of the genetic code that it takes to make a human being. Neither of them by themselves is a person, nor do they have the potential to be a person.
But after conception you have a single cell that is not the same as either the sperm or the egg, and by itself it contains all of the genetic material that defines a singularly unique human being.
The before and after are dramatically different. It is obvious. It is not arbitrary.
Why would we accept arbitrary definitions of when human life begins, be it at 10 weeks, or 20 weeks, or even birth, when we don’t have to? Especially in our country today when there are so many programs that could help save the child. There are programs to help single and scared mothers deal with pregnancy and child caring. We have a welfare system that will help them bear the financial burden. Even if none of those will work there are adoption waiting lists that are miles long filled with people who would love nothing more than to open their homes to a new life. Instead of funding abortion programs, couldn’t we fund those programs?
Or is the life of a child not worth the inconvenience? Is the life of the child not worth the stress? Is the life of the child not worth the cost?
I’m told that I should just mind my own business. If I don’t have a uterus then I am not entitled to an opinion on this matter. And even if I did have a uterus, my opinion would probably only matter if I were pro-choice; it’s not like pro-choice advocates are any more willing to listen to a pro-life woman. There really is no debate on the issue, they just scream that it is a woman’s choice, even though like I already said many of these women are just alone and scared and feel like they have no choice. They scream that no one, man, woman, or child has the right to tell these mothers otherwise, even though what most of them desperately need is someone to tell them they are not alone and help them through their extremely hard situation.
I do have a right to my opinion, because I have children. And if I am to believe that all human beings are created equal, then I have to believe that every child is as precious as my own. And if every child is as precious as my own then they all are to be loved as my own. And if they are all to be loved as my own then they should be protected from anyone would destroy them, even their mothers, because they can’t protect themselves.
It is every bit my business, because if you want to say that some unborn children are worthless, to the point that it is okay to destroy them, then you are saying that all unborn children are worthless. And if you are saying that all unborn children are worthless, then you are saying that my unborn little girl is worthless. You are saying that my two little boys were worthless. And I can’t just sit back and let you say that.
My children are not worthless, and neither are yours.