Yesterday, the United States Supreme Court heard arguments on a Mississippi law prohibiting most abortions after 15 weeks. Protestors on both sides of the abortion issue were active outside of the Supreme Court building. Many abortion advocates, including politicians, have threatened violence if the court strikes Roe v. Wade. Unfortunately, there are no easy answers as people argue about women’s rights and unborn babies’ rights. While research continues to show the humanity of the unborn child, we see inconsistent fetal laws.
More than 38 states in America have “fetal assault laws” on the books. In the past 15 years, about 1200 American women were criminally charged for taking illegal recreational drugs resulting in a miscarriage. If someone assaults a pregnant woman, killing the baby, that person is guilty of murder in most states. This was true in Old Testament times as well (See Exodus 21:22-23).
Researchers at the University of Oxford had the rare opportunity to study gastrulation of a human embryo from an abortion16 to 19 days after fertilization. Lead researcher Shankar Srinivas, an expert in developmental biology, explained that gastrulation is a process that begins about 14 days after fertilization. At that time, different cells emerge and arrange themselves to form various organs in the human body. The new research into gastrulation has the potential to open ways to prevent congenital abnormalities.
The research by Dr. Srinivas gives a glimpse into early human development. When fertilization occurs, we are dealing with a human, not a blob of chance cellular accumulation. The complexity of this system speaks of God’s design and is precious and unique. A news report quoted Dr. Daniel Sulmasy, the director of the Kennedy Institute of Ethics at Georgetown University, saying that this research shows “recognition of the humanness of the embryo.”
It is within our grasp to prevent conception and avoid the destructive actions of an abortion that can also cause physical and mental harm to a woman. It starts with understanding that sex is not a meaningless physical act but a joining of two people in a deeply personal relationship. That was God’s plan from the beginning. We understand more and more about how this design works, and a consistent approach to the facts can lead us toward an end to inconsistent fetal laws.
— John N. Clayton © 2021
References: South Bend Tribune 11/20/21, page 4C and The Week 11/26/21. Here is a link to an APNews article, and you can find the research article at Nature.com.