Not a Choice, but a Child

Today while reading through Twitter, I noticed a link to some pictures of the developmental process of a child in a mother’s womb. Before you tell me how gross I am for being interested, just know that science fascinates me. So, I clicked on over and was pleasantly surprised with some of the most clear and accurate pictures I have ever seen.

While scrolling through these photos, it hit me that this child would soon become someone’s son or daughter, niece or nephew, grandson or granddaughter. I couldn’t help but think of my own niece who is 18 months old today (happy half-birthday, Chloe!) Last weekend I spent a few days at my brother and sister in law’s house, and in that time I spent half a day babysitting my niece. We had breakfast together, watched the Backyardigans, colored with water colors (more like Auntie trying to make sure none got on the wood floors), played outside in the dirt, swung in the swing, napped (well, she did), and played with her toys. It was more fun than a day at Disneyland – seriously. She is everything I hoped my niece would be. I can’t imagine my life without Chloe.

Then I imagined what it would be like had my sister in law decided that a child would have been too much of an inconvenience. What if she had decided that rather than accepting the fact of being pregnant, she had made the choice to abort her child, and continue on with married life? What if little Chloe had never been born?

The one thing I will never understand is the thought that someone has the right to abort a child. Just because it is your body, your mistake, and your consequence doesn’t mean you can easily fix it with the killing of your child. And that’s just what it is – murder. Think that’s too harsh a word? Consider this: a child’s heart begins beating 18 days after conception. To stop the beating of that heart would be taking the life of someone against their will – murder.

“What about a woman’s right to choose? Surely she has a say in all this?” Yes, a woman does have a say in the reproductive process. The woman’s choice is whether or not to get pregnant – whether or not to take part in sex. Once she makes the decision to have sex, there is a very real chance she will become pregnant (contraceptives are not 100% effective).

So, in order to put this in perspective, here are a few facts about the development of a baby: *All facts and quotes have been taken from this website.

  • A baby’s spinal cord can be seen 14 days after conception.
  • A baby’s heart begins beating 18 days after conception.
  • A baby’s heart begins pumping blood 21 days after conception.
  • Brain waves are present in a baby 40 days after conception.
  • A baby begins developing eyes, ears, and a respiratory system 4 weeks after conception.
  • A baby’s pancreas begins creating insulin 7-8 weeks after conception.
  • A baby first begins movement 6-7 weeks after conception.
  • A baby’s stomach begins secreting juices around 8 weeks after conception.
  • By 8 weeks, all of a baby’s bodily systems are present.
  • A baby’s teeth are all present by 6 1/2 weeks.
  • By 9-10 weeks, a baby squints, swallows, moves his tongue, and will even make a fist if his palm is stroked.
  • By 11-12 weeks, a baby is breathing fluid steadily and will continue this until birth.
  • A baby’s fingernails are present by week 11-12.
  • A baby’s eyelashes are developed by week 16.
  • By month 4, a baby’s fingerprints are fully developed.
  • A baby’s taste buds begin working by 11-12 weeks after conception.
  • A baby begins having dreams by week 17.

All in all, the embryo that many claim they have rule over is another human being. I believe the account of a Dr. P.E. Rockwell, Director of Anesthesiology at Leonard Hospital in Troy, New York,  best sums up my thoughts and feelings on the sanctity of even the newest of human life:

“Eleven years ago, while giving an anesthetic for a ruptured tubal pregnancy (at two months), I was handed what I believed to be the smallest human being ever seen. The embryo sac was intact and transparent. Within the sac was a tiny (one-third inch) human male swimming extremely vigorously in the amniotic fluid, while attached to the wall by the umbilical cord. This tiny human was perfectly developed with long, tapering fingers, feet and toes. It was almost transparent as regards the skin, and the delicate arteries and veins were prominent to the ends of the fingers.

“The baby was extremely alive and swam about the sac approximately one time per second with a natural swimmers stroke. This tiny human did not look at all like the photos and drawings of ‘embryos’ which I have seen, nor did it look like the few embryos I have been able to observe since then, obviously because this one was alive.”

The God Game—Where Does Life Begin?

Since when did we start playing God? Have we taken our freedoms so far as to supersede the highest form of authority—God Himself? Whether you believe in God or not, you have to believe in some sort of moral absolutes—stealing, lying, and killing are all wrong. So where do we draw the line? Where does life begin?

According to medical science, a baby’s heart begins beating after 18 days of conception. Also, the baby begins having brain wave activity after only 40 days. So in as little as two and a half weeks, a child begins functioning. Now to contrast that with the opposite end of the spectrum, a person is declared dead medically if one of two things are present—lack of heartbeat (a “flatline”) or a lack of brain wave activity.

So wouldn’t it make sense that if life ends with these things it must begin with them as well? And essentially 100% of all abortions take place after the 7th week of pregnancy, well after the heart has begun to beat.

So even though medical science defines an unborn child as alive, we as Americans trust a court ruling over professionals. And that’s the topic of the next post: Can a court really determine life?