We are looking closely at the war on children in our world today. We decided to begin at the beginning – the war on unborn children.
This series is about how Christians should respond, so we started by looking at what the Bible teaches about God’s view of killing children. It’s true that most non-Christians today won’t listen to a response based on the Bible. However, it’s unfortunate that many Christians won’t listen to a response based on the Bible. We addressed that in the last part of our series.
What’s a Christian to do if their response from Scripture is refused? Follow the process:
- Present a reasoned response
- Present an informed response
- Present a thoughtful response
People often say “follow the science.” As a journalist who spent his career following the science, I agree that science is a good place for Christians to visit to prepare a reasoned response.
First question we should ask is for a definition of the word science, since that’s what people want us to follow. The shortest definition is knowledge. Merriam-Webster defines science this way – “knowledge as distinguished from ignorance or misunderstanding.”
Our word science comes from the Latin scientia and means “knowledge based on demonstrable and reproducible data.” Notice the words demonstrable and reproducible. How is knowledge demonstrable and reproducible? Can knowledge do that by itself? Of course not. It’s done by people. Those people are often referred to as scientists.
Turning again to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a scientist is “a person who studies, specializes in, or investigates a field of science and does scientific work.” A scientist is someone who does scientific work in a particular category of science. Scientists are the people who research, study and investigate things and tell us what they think.
The Encyclopedia Britannica defines science as – “any system of knowledge that is concerned with the physical world and its phenomena and that entails unbiased observations and systematic experimentation.”
How can knowledge be concerned about anything? It’s just knowledge. Knowledge doesn’t have eyes and ears, hands and feet. Scientists are the people who are concerned with the physical world and its phenomena and observe and experiment systematically. Scientists have the eyes, ears, hands and feet. They determine what to research and how to share their findings with the public and the people who employ them.
When people say follow the science, what they often mean is follow the scientists they trust. If you don’t trust the scientists we trust, then you are not following science. That’s sad but true in our country today and has been for a long time. However, that’s not how scientific investigation should work.
What we need to note carefully is the word unbiased. That goes in some part to why we have dealt with so much conflicting information about the science surrounding unborn children and abortion. If science is knowledge and knowledge is what’s true, then why the conflict? It would seem that those people entrusted with researching, studying, evaluating and reporting scientific data might be a reason for conflicting information. Why would well-educated, highly-trained scientists view the same data differently? Might it be that scientific research is complicated with multiple ways to interpret similar data? Might it be personal, corporate or even political bias on the part of researchers?
What makes a human “human”? The same thing that makes a dog a “dog” and a cat a “cat”. Part of the answer is DNA – deoxyribonucleic acid – the genetic code that determines the “kind” of living organism. I don’t have to wait until an organism is “born” or “hatched” to know what it is. I can know from looking at the “parent” and by taking a DNA sample from the unborn (unhatched) organism.
Paternity testing is a growing industry in our country. Women who have multiple sex partners and get pregnant often want to know which man is the father. As the American Pregnancy Association explains – “Different reasons to establish paternity include the need to collect support financially or emotionally, or simply for the peace of mind that accompanies knowing for sure.”
One thing we learn from DNA testing to determine paternity is that the DNA of the unborn child is not identical to the mother’s DNA. The unborn’s DNA is a combination of the mother’s DNA and the father’s DNA. Why is that important? Because it proves that the unborn child is not just another “part” of the mother and not a “parasite” in the mother. Those are a couple of the arguments put forward by pro-choice/pro-abortionists. However, modern DNA testing has proven that they’re wrong. The DNA of an unborn child proves they are a combination of the DNA of two other “human beings,” thus making them a third and separate human being. An unborn child is his or her own person. [We’ll address the issue of the personhood of the unborn child in a future part of this series.]
The next question is – “when does the unborn become human”? DNA testing can begin as early as 10 weeks with CVS (chorionic villus sampling) and as early as 11 weeks with amniocentesis (though usually tested between 14 and 18 weeks). A relatively new non-invasive prenatal test known as SNP Microarry can be done on a mother as early as 9 weeks pregnant and the test has been confirmed 99.9% accurate using a very small amount of DNA. Those 9, 10 and 11 weeks are still within the first trimester of pregnancy when abortions are legal.
Think about that for a minute. Current DNA testing can determine the identity of the human father of an unborn child at the same time it is legal to kill the child. Medical science has now proven that unborn “fetuses” in the first trimester of pregnancy are human! It would seem that scientific information would change the discussion among those who believe abortion does not end the life of a human being.
Another thing that modern medical science has given us is the ability to save a child’s life when he or she is born “premature.” A nine-months pregnancy that goes “full term” is usually about 40 weeks. A baby born three weeks earlier than that is classified as “pre-term” or premature. Some of the words used for premature births are:
- Late preterm – 34 to 37 weeks
- Moderate preterm (32 to 34 weeks)
- Very preterm (28 to 32 weeks)
- Extremely preterm (before 28 weeks)
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists also use the term “periviable birth” for children born between 20 and 26 weeks. Another term used is “micro-preemies.”
The life expectancy for “micro-preemies” has been increasing during the past 20 years. Why? Because medical science is getting better at addressing their special needs. That’s very good news! The work of doctors and nurses in NICUs (Newborn Intensive Care Units) across the country are doing an amazing job. They deserve our appreciation and support.
It’s also insightful for our response on the issue of abortion. These premature births demonstrate the viability of “human” life at a very early age – an age where many states allow the killing of an unborn child. Modern science is proving that it can save the lives of preemies. The Guiness Book of World Records recently recorded that the world’s most premature baby, born at a gestational age of 21 weeks and two days and weighing less than a pound, celebrated his first birthday. The baby was given a 0% chance of survival, but he survived. Notice that I said “he” survived. Yes, the child was a human male. What would he have been if he was aborted instead of born prematurely? Human.
If I see a pregnant dog, my first thought is that the dog will give birth to puppies. I can verify that assumption by drawing a DNA sample from the unborn “organism.” If I see a hen sitting on an egg, my first thought is that the “life” inside the egg is a baby chick. To make certain of my assumption I could draw a DNA sample and confirm, but I’ve seen thousands of eggs hatch at a hatchery and everyone of them had a baby chick inside. If I see a pregnant woman, my first thought is that she will give birth to a human being. I can verify that assumption by drawing a DNA sample from the unborn “organism.” I can also verify that through experience having seen human babies born to women. In fact, I’ve never seen a woman give birth to anything other than a human being.
The pro-abortion community likes to use words like “embryo” and “fetus” to describe the stages of human growth inside the mother prior to birth. Why not call it a “baby” or “child”? Isn’t that what’s growing inside the human mother? a human being? If a human mother gives birth to her “fetus,” won’t it be a “human” baby? We don’t call birthed babies fetuses; we call them children. Why is an unborn “child” not human until he/she is born? Would the unborn child be something other than human if allowed to be born?
One of my friends called me about his pregnant wife going into the emergency room many years ago. She was only in the second trimester of her pregnancy. By the time I arrived at the hospital, she had given birth to a little boy. He passed away in her arms. We talked and prayed and cried together for more than an hour, each one of us holding the little baby in a small blanket. He was a human being. He weighed less than two pounds, smaller than many aborted babies, but there was no question that what I held in my arms was a human being. Little hands and fingers, feet and toes. Little arms and legs. Little ears, eyes, nose and mouth. Dark hair on his head. He was human – as human as you and me. The mother and father named their little baby boy and buried him in a cemetery. Why? Because he was their child – their human child.
Here are some other responses from a scientific perspective when someone says that the unborn is just a blob of tissue, not a human being:
Like toddler and adolescent, the terms embryo and fetus do not refer to nonhumans, but to humans at particular stages of development.
Semantics affect perceptions, but they do not change realities; a baby is a baby no matter what we call her.
From the moment of conception, the unborn is not simple but very complex.
Prior to the first trimester, the unborn already has every body part she will ever have.
Every abortion stops a beating heart and terminates measurable brain waves.
Even in the earliest surgical abortions, the unborn child is clearly human in appearance.
Even before the unborn is obviously human in appearance, she is what she is–a human being.
No matter how much better it sounds, “terminating a pregnancy” is still terminating a life.EPM.org
One of the major aspects of late term abortion is the issue of personhood – when the “unborn” become a human person. The Pro-Choice/Pro-Abortion group has long claimed that an unborn baby is a non-person. That is why many of them do not believe abortion is murder, because the killing of a non-person is not murder. How can Christians respond to that argument? We’ll take a look at that in the next part of our series.
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