While this might seem like a question with an obvious answer or a question with no answer; this is one of the fundamental questions of our time. For those with a Pro-Life perspective the obvious answer is “yes,” an emphatic “yes.” For those who favor abortion there is no answer, because to answer the question requires recognition of life at an earlier stage than they are willing to admit.
We tend to think of a woman’s pregnancy lifecycle in terms of trimesters, which is in three stages of equal timeframes. Lawmakers also seem to tailor their deliberations on abortion into these same three stages with different thoughts about what is “acceptable” at each stage. These decisions seem to be based on science, or so the pro-abortion lobby would have us believe.
Answering this question requires that one take a stand. Does life begin at conception or does life begin at birth? And then there is just about every argument in between based the ability to feel pain, or heartbeats, or sentience. Lawmakers seem to divide themselves on an indefinable line between pain, heartbeat, or sentience.
An October 16, 2021, article by the staff of Human Life International cites studies that show that at a minimum a child can feel pain as early as eight weeks. Some abortionists readily recognized that the saline abortion procedure was painful for the child after sixteen weeks, and that they would fight for life even at this stage of development. This procedure burns the child from the outside while poisoning it from the inside. This procedure fell out of favor in the 1990’s and was replaced by different but no less inhumane methods. For the pro-abortion crowd parental irresponsibility supersedes fetal pain and death.
A study titled “Reconsidering Fetal Pain” published in the Journal of Medical Ethics in 1999 cited straightforward evidence that a child can feel pain as early as twelve weeks. Then there was research done for the Supreme Court in 2004 that explained that a child has developed a cerebral cortex and develops reflexes as early as four weeks, and that brain waves can be easily recorded as early as six weeks.
A clear lesson learned is that the more scientist study child development, the earlier and earlier we accept that the child can sense and feel all types of things, especially pain.
And then there is the issue of presentience, the ability to sense coming events. When does a child develop these capabilities? At four weeks a child develops reflexes and at six weeks brain waves form, is this a sign of sentience? We know that children in the womb develop a recognition of their mother’s voice, but how early does this happen even if we have no way of measuring it?
All of this is to say that the more we, and particularly scientists, learn about childhood development the more we understand that things happen much earlier than we thought. This only moves in one direction, earlier and earlier. The logical conclusion is that science will eventually confirm that awareness and life begin at conception, and science and faith will converge on this issue. For abortionists this is especially troubling because the question of “When does life begin?” will not differ between science and faith. This is one reason that our churches and the belief in God are under attack. When you remove abortion from a scientific discussion to one of faith then the abortionists have no practical argument.
For abortionists, their only line of attack is to destroy our faith and practices centered on faith, like church attendance and marriage. Unfortunately, they are doing a surprisingly decent job and, like sheep led to the slaughter, most of us are doing nothing to counter this assault. According to the Pew Research Center there is a direct correlation between church attendance and believing in the sanctity of life for the unborn. The difference is even more pronounced with frequency of church attendance where 68% of those who attend church regularly oppose abortion, while only 24% of those who do not attend church oppose abortion. To advance this cause, they must attack our institutions of education and faith.
The same study cites interviews with women between the ages of eighteen and twenty-nine who say that only 34% would have their baby if they had an unwanted or unplanned pregnancy. They did not form this opinion by accident or by deep reflection, it has been fed to them over time in schools, far-left parents, and now by some churches.
We believe that the Supreme Court did us all a favor by overturning Roe versus Wade in an unforeseen way. The decision forces people to finally take a stand. Those who favor infanticide must come forward and declare themselves for their friends and neighbors to see. The Supreme Court decision does not limit movement of people between States, nor does it criminalize someone going to a State to have an abortion. But the decision does give us all the right to decide whether we will fund this abhorrent practice on a State-by-State basis.
Funding is only one aspect of the fight, and the abortionists will continue to push for school indoctrination and religious institutional destruction. It is up to each of us to push back, exert control over school curriculum, and fight for our churches to be houses of worship, not houses of political or societal divide.
Perhaps Popes John Paul II and Pope Francis summarized the abortion issue the most succinctly:
Do aborted babies go to heaven? emphatically “Yes!”
Do abortionists and those favoring infanticide go to heaven? My guess is an emphatic “No!”