Chrissy Teigen is a model, TV host, and wife of singer John Legend. She had a miscarriage in September of 2020 and shared the pain of that experience with her 34 million Instagram followers. In a picture in The Week magazine, with tears streaming down her face, she and her husband held a blanket-wrapped bundle. In the article, Chrissy Teigen’s comments about miscarriage impact the abortion debate.
Teigen says that sharing her experience with others has helped her deal with the “gut wrenching” grief of losing a baby. She does not refer to it as something other than a human being. She and her husband hold the miscarried child wrapped in a blanket as something precious and special. Teigen says, “I’m happy to talk about my uterus if that’s going to make other women feel that they can do it too.”
All scientific evidence points to the fact that a child in the uterus is still a child. It is not merely a part of the mother that can be removed as one would remove an appendix or a wisdom tooth. It is rare for a celebrity to come out with such an honest and accurate portrayal of the unborn. Chrissy Teigen’s comments about miscarriage contribute mightily to the discussion of what abortion really is. It is simply unadulterated infanticide.
One of the things affecting the abortion debate is that most people on both sides of the issue don’t know much about the procedure. A group called Created Equal has initiated an interesting new approach. They show a video of an abortion on a giant screen in public.
Created Equal sets up a JumboTron TV in an area where there are protests against those advocating a pro-life position. Many abortionists seem to feel that a fetus is a meaningless blob, and seeing an actual abortion makes that belief impossible. Created Equal said that when they used the JumboTron TV video at the National March for Life in Washington, D.C., “at least one pro-abortion protester changed her mind.”
Created Equal has also used the JumboTron to show a video of an abortion on a giant screen on college campuses. Joe Scheidler of the Pro-Life Action League said, “Admittedly the images are shocking as they can be, but absolutely necessary for all pro-lifers (and the pro-aborts standing around) to see.”
In their promotion letter, Created Equal says, “No one with a heart…no one with a shred of human decency can witness this gory display and walk away unaffected.” You can find out more about this approach on their website at THIS LINK.
One of the most challenging decisions for a woman to make is what to do with an unwanted pregnancy. The difficulty of this decision is evident from the “no show rate” for abortion appointments, which can be as high as 75%. Tragically, the abortion industry has become taxpayer-supported.
Planned Parenthood has released numbers in a report for the years 2017-2018. That organization operated 590 locations and performed 332,757 abortions. Their total income for the year was 1.67 billion dollars, of which $563.8 million was in tax money. Because it is a business, Planned Parenthood has to produce an increasing number of abortions or run out of money and have to close. Since 1995, 37% of Planned Parenthood locations have closed, and many of them closed for financial reasons.
By their own data, 96% of “pregnancy resolution services” are completed with abortions without regard for the mental and emotional issues of the women involved. They report only one adoption referral for every 117 abortions. Those numbers tell us that Planned Parenthood is not a service-oriented organization but an industry that must create a market to secure income. We have reported on data about abortion clinics selling baby parts as a source of income for this industry.
The abortion industry has been involved in lobbying politicians to approve their activities and fund them. We now have a president and vice president who approve of abortion and funding organizations like Planned Parenthood. Because of the sensitivity of this issue, it is difficult to get politicians to deal with the facts. The reality is that our political system is now endorsing infanticide. Attempts to defend abortion by claiming the fetus is an extension of the mother’s body do not have scientific support. Morning sickness is because the woman’s body recognizes that the baby is not a part of her body, and her immune system reacts to it. Genetically, the baby is 100% human when the sperm fertilizes the egg.
Educating the public about the facts of the abortion industry and providing alternatives to abortion remains the best that we can do. Our society has now endorsed infanticide, and involuntary euthanasia is the next step in getting rid of inconvenient humans. Scholars like Peter Singer, the Ira W, DeCamp Professor of Bioethics at Princeton University, call for euthanizing the physically disabled and mentally ill. The question is whether this is the kind of world we want to live in and leave to our children?
This month, the Indiana Senate is considering Indiana House bill 1577. In February, it passed the Indiana House of Representatives by a vote of 67 to 29. The bill would allow mental health providers to deny their services to a woman seeking an abortion if doing so would go against the provider’s ethical, moral, or religious beliefs. Present law allows other healthcare providers that option.
The bill would also prohibit an abortion-producing drug from being given to women who are more than eight weeks pregnant. Indiana House Bill 1577 would also require abortion clinics to provide the woman with a printed ultrasound image of the fetus. Promotors of ultrasound imaging say it is “the most impactful material used to change their minds.” Also, girls under 18 years could not get an abortion without notarized parental consent. Present Indiana law requires a consent form, but it does not have to be notarized.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) opposes the bill because it would add extra steps to women seeking abortions. They are threatening a lawsuit, saying the bill is unconstitutional. Perhaps the most controversial part of the bill is the requirement that doctors inform women that it is possible to reverse the effects of the abortion pill. An assistant professor of clinical obstetrics and gynecology testified to the Indiana House that it would be unethical because it is “untrue and potentially dangerous.” The American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists support the requirement saying it is true and safe.
In 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court clearly stated that killing a baby is a choice women have the right to make. We have pointed out before that it is scientifically impossible to support the view that a fetus is just an extension of the mother’s body. Morning sickness happens because the mother’s body tries to reject a foreign object. Nearly 50 million babies, each with their own genome, have been aborted in the United States, and even Christians have abortions.
It is easy to carry a sign around opposing abortion or write an article condemning it. The fact is that if a woman finds herself pregnant and doesn’t want the baby, she has an excruciating decision to make. No one should trivialize an unwanted pregnancy or throw stones at a woman who has had an abortion.
It is essential to look at ourselves and see that we don’t become hypocritical when faced with a situation where abortion seems to be the easiest answer – either for us or someone we love. “40 Days for Life” is a pro-life movement claiming the involvement of over 20,000 churches and more than a million participants. Carmen Pate, working with that group, released disturbing statistics that even Christians have abortions. Of the women who have had abortions, 43% identify themselves as Protestants, and 27% identify as Catholic. One in four women has had at least one abortion by age 45.
One thing that gets lost in the abortion debate is women’s emotional and psychological struggles over abortion. Time magazine published a moving essay by atheist Stephanie Land, titled “My Lost Pregnancy Had a Name.”
Land writes about dealing with the burial of what she calls “a third miscarriage in six months.” It is a very personal and dramatic discussion of how an atheist deals with the mental gymnastics of ending a pregnancy, be it an abortion or a natural medical miscarriage.
Land said she believes in “the right to chose.” She had chosen to end a pregnancy before. This time the choice was made for her at five weeks, but she did not realize it until she had an ultrasound at eight weeks. She took two rounds of medication for her “body to finally let go of it” at 12 weeks. She says, “It was a blastocyst, not a baby named Ellis.”
For people on both sides of the abortion issue, there is a tendency to ignore the facts connected with ending a pregnancy. Attaching a scientific name to a conceived child, be it “embryo,” “zygote,” “fetus.” or “blastocyst” does not change the fact that it is an entity of its own. It is genetically set with human characteristics at conception, not at some later date. The mother’s body recognizes the conceived child is not a part of her body, resulting in morning sickness. Not ending a pregnancy has obvious lifetime implications, but ending one can also.
The point that shines out in Land’s essay is the continuing emotional struggle with choosing whether to end a pregnancy. All sides of this issue need to develop more empathy and understanding for women’s emotional and psychological struggles over abortion.
Women personally dealing with the issue are not helped by political battles, court decisions, or picketing. Land’s essay vividly shows the personal struggle, even for an atheist, and it is worth reading. If you don’t have access to the November 2-9, 2020, Time magazine issue, you can read the essay online HERE.
There is a psychological war going on today that is at odds with the principles Jesus taught. In Matthew 23:4-7, Jesus described religious leaders who would put emotional, moral burdens on people and do nothing to help them: “For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be carried and lay them on men’s shoulders: but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers, but all of their works they do to be seen of men…” In the same way, many people mishandle the major moral issues of our day by pressing others to correct their behavior. We call it emotional mind games.
Galatians 6:1-2 describes how Christians should act: “If a man is overtaken in a fault, you who are spiritual should restore such a one in the spirit of meekness considering yourself lest you should also be tempted. Bear you one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ.”
Years ago, I knew a religious leader whose son had engaged in a sexual act that resulted in a pregnancy. The religious leader had been a prominent opponent of abortion, but when he learned of the pregnancy, he encouraged the young woman to have an abortion, and he paid for it. This kind of hypocrisy reflects the lack of empathy in our culture today. I would blame it on our society’s drift away from God and from what Jesus taught.
There is a cemetery in Rome known as the Flaminio Cemetery. A religious group in Rome secretly obtains the remains of fetuses from abortion clinics and hospitals. They bury these aborted babies in a place they call the Flaminio Cemetery. At each grave, they place a cross with the name of the mother who terminated her pregnancy. The idea is to use emotional mind games to shame the women who gave up their children.
While we oppose abortion, we also know from experience how difficult the decision can be. We regularly receive letters from women who are struggling with guilt feelings years after having had an abortion. When Jesus dealt with the woman taken in adultery, he did not condone what she had done.,However, He said to the religious people who were ready to punish her, “He that is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone at her” (John 8:3-12).
We tend to rate sin. The wrong I do is a minor offense, but your sin is a major one. We must stop the emotional mind games and follow the example of Jesus. He told the woman, “Neither do I condemn you. Go, and sin no more.” We will accomplish much more with empathy and compassion, working to provide alternatives to destructive behaviors instead of trying to shame people into rejecting sinful choices.
The Week Magazine (October 23, 2020, page 11) had some interesting data on abortions in the United States. Here are the abortion rates per 1000 women ages 15-44 in some of the states:
Arkansas 6.2 Oklahoma 6.2 Alabama 8.3 Mississippi 8.6 California 17.3 New York 27.4 New Jersey 28.2
Middlebury College in Vermont conducted the study of abortions in the United States. If the Supreme Court struck down Roe vs. Wade, the national reduction in abortions would be 12.8%, and 90% of the American abortion industry would remain intact.
The main point of all this is that laws and court rulings cannot control people’s moral choices. If we are to stop infanticide in America, it will have to be done by changing the thinking of our population. The question remains as to whether a woman’s personal rights supersede the personal rights of a child.
This reminds me of the story of a man who came to the United States of America. He came because he heard that it was the land of the free, and you could do anything you wanted because all human rights were guaranteed. On his first day in America, he saw a man he didn’t like the looks of, so he punched him in the nose. He was arrested and brought before a judge. “I don’t understand,” the man said, “I thought America was the land of the free!” The judge said, “That it is, but your freedom ends where the other man’s nose begins.”
It is well understood that unborn human babies have a great awareness of conditions outside the womb during the last several months of their development. One question that remains unanswered is how much unborn babies understand about what is going on in the outside world. Is the awareness of the outside world present in all embryos, and is there such a thing as embryonic communication?
Researchers at Spain’s University of Vigo writing in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution have an interesting report on bird embryos. While inside their eggs, they seem to perceive signals from and generate signals to the outside world. The studies involve yellow-legged gulls receiving warning signals from adult birds. Not only do the unhatched birds receive the signals, but they produce strong egg vibrations transferring the information from the adult birds to other embryos. Scientists are still studying what the unhatched birds do with this information. It may relate to when the baby birds peck their way out of the egg.
Ecologist and co-author of the study, Jose Noguera, says he is confident that this phenomenon is present in other bird species. We suggest that it is likely to be true of other forms of life. Some species have synchronous births where many young are born at the same time to reduce the efficiency of predators. Could embryonic communication control that to some extent? Are human babies aware of a pending abortion, and if so, at what stage of the pregnancy?
There are many questions involved in this field of study, and they do have relevance to today’s moral issues.
Shouldn’t a woman have the right to decide whether she will give up nine months of her life to carry a baby and then years of raising the child? Is aborting a child infanticide? What can we learn about abortion in the Bible?
The most fundamental problem is that conception is supposed to occur when a man and a woman are united in marriage. Many women seek abortions when they are pregnant and unmarried. There are also situations where a married couple doesn’t want a child or can’t afford one. This creates a difficult choice. What we must consider is when is an embryo a human being, and is it ever an extension of the mother’s body?
Scientifically the embryo is a human, and genetically everything about the child’s physical makeup has been determined at conception. Morning sickness shows that the baby is not an extension of the woman’s body and that her body recognizes it as a foreign entity. The baby growing inside the womb is aware of much of what is going on outside and can respond to outside stimuli long before birth.
We don’t see direct instructions regarding abortion in the Bible. However, there are numerous indications that the unborn child is human. Exodus 21:22-23 says that a man who kills an unborn child in a fight should bare the punishment designed for a man who killed another human.
Many biblical passages talk about humans being made in the womb. Consider these:
“When God punishes me, how shall I answer Him? Did not He who made me in the womb make them? Did not the same One fashion us in the womb?” Job 31:13-15
“For you created my inmost being, you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made…Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them.” Psalms 139:13, 16
“Then the word of the Lord came to me saying: ‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you. Before you were born I sanctified you. I ordained you a prophet to the nations.’” Jeremiah 1:4-5.
“When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb…” Luke 1:41.
Even though there are no specific instructions regarding abortion in the Bible, we see the sacredness of human life. This area of decision making is challenging. Nobody should minimize how difficult it is for women to stand for the sacredness of human life by choosing to allow the life inside her to survive. That child could bless a family that can’t have biological children. We need to support women who reject infanticide and help the innocent child find a home with the love and family that God intended.