Design of the Umbilical Cord

Design of the Umbilical Cord

Science still doesn’t fully understand the design of the umbilical cord that allows a baby to live inside its mother for nine months. The umbilical cord supplies the baby with oxygen, nutrients, and antibodies. Birthing techniques before the 20th century delayed cutting the cord, but that has changed since birthing moved from the home to the hospital. However, new data shows that delaying cutting the umbilical cord can boost the baby’s blood volume, red blood cell count, and iron stores and ease the transition to breathing.

The issue of when to cut the umbilical cord has become exceptionally well-studied in the case of premature babies. Nearly one million premature babies worldwide die every year, and a study of 10,000 preemies shows that when doctors delay clamping and cutting the umbilical cord, the survival rate improves. Yale University School of Medicine expert Jessica Illuzzi says, “longer is better.” The design of the umbilical cord is amazing.

Some pro-abortion advocates say the unborn child is just an extension of the mother’s body. It can be cut off and discarded like a fingernail or a lock of hair. There is no scientific support for such a claim. From the mother’s morning sickness to the baby’s physical characteristics and genetic makeup, all evidence shows the child is a unique individual. The fact that the unborn child depends for survival on the mother and the design of the umbilical cord does not change the fact that the baby is a unique human and not part of the mother. Every facet of the reproductive process shows God’s wisdom.

Women have the right to choose whether to be a mother, but the decision must be made before sexually engaging with a man. In the case of an unwanted pregnancy, options are available. As the father of three adopted children, I know how that adoption can be a positive experience for everyone involved, and there is an acute shortage of babies for adoption.

The psychological damage of abortion for women is well documented. Part of that damage comes from knowing that a child created in God’s image has been destroyed. The system of producing life designed by God has been disrupted, which is an affront to the Creator.

— John N. Clayton © 2024

Reference: “Lifeline Decision” in Scientific American for February 2024, page 13.

Disturbing Facts about Planned Parenthood

Disturbing Facts about Planned Parenthood

Planned Parenthood’s latest annual report gives some disturbing facts. Here is some data you won’t see in the media or hear from the politicians.

In the past year Planned Parenthood

…provided the second most abortions ever in a single year – 374,155, while providing only 1,803 adoption referrals.

…dispensed 543,046 abortion pills (not counted in the above total).

…continued the practice of harvesting and selling body parts of aborted infants. A RICO judgment that Planned Parenthood won against pro-lifers who exposed this practice is being appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

…has an arrangement with the Biden administration to mail abortion pills to women without them having seen a doctor.

…provided the fewest other services, such as cancer screenings and prenatal care of any prior year. They aborted 60 babies for every single individual prenatal service rendered.

…was responsible for 40% of the abortions performed in America despite their claims that abortion is not a major part of their services.

…received $670,400,000 of U.S. taxpayer money.

Those are some disturbing facts.

— John N. Clayton © 2023

Data from the American Center for Law and Justice

Willing to be Mothers

Willing to be Mothers

The abortion issue has brought into focus the uniqueness of women who are willing to be mothers today compared to 50 years ago. In 2023, many women consider the demands of motherhood to be excessive. Trans advocates are pushing girls to become boys so they do not have to go through childbirth and motherhood. People are correct in saying that women have often been unfairly treated by denying them equal pay or job opportunities. However, abortion is a different issue because it involves another life.

From a scientific and medical standpoint, when a baby is conceived, it is a human being. A woman’s choice has allowed the baby to come into existence. People obey or disobey God’s moral instructions by choice, and whether the baby is allowed to live is another moral choice. Our culture faces a significant moral decision. Will we allow humans to destroy another human whose existence causes unwanted demands?

Abortion rights advocates campaign on the idea that a woman has the right to choose what to do with her body. They consider pregnancy as just a change in her body, not the production of another human being. However, morning sickness and microchimerism clearly indicate that the baby is not just an extension of her body. (We have discussed microchimerism before HERE and HERE.)

A major point often overlooked in the abortion debate is that having a baby and being a mother are two different things. My first wife was a great mother but never experienced a pregnancy. Some have said that a mother has less pain in having a baby than in raising one. As adoptive parents of three wonderful children, we went through the pain of raising children and did so joyously. There are scores of women in today’s world who are willing to be mothers and desire to take on the role, but for physical reasons, like my wife, are unable to become pregnant.

In 1 Timothy 2:15, Paul addresses the significant role uniquely available to most women: “Yet she will be saved through child-bearing…” Timothy was a great ambassador of God because his mother, Eunice, and grandmother, Lois, raised him in God’s Word. Of course, a woman can be of great service in other capacities if she chooses, and the Bible is full of examples of such women. However, being a mother and raising children who will positively change the world is what Mother’s Day is all about. Unfortunately, in today’s world, fewer women are willing to be mothers, so we thank God for women of faith who accept and carry out that responsibility.

— John N. Clayton © 2023

What is a Fetus According to Science?

What is a Fetus According to Science?

One of the most distressing aspects of the abortion debate is the refusal of the press to address scientific facts. What is a fetus? According to Dr. Michael Egnor, Professor of Neurosurgery and Pediatrics at State University of New York, Stony Brook, there are three choices scientifically: 

  1. It is a part of the mother’s body.
  2. It is not a part of the mother’s body but an individual of another species. 
  3. It is not any kind of living thing but just a clump of biological molecules undergoing chemical reactions

So, then what is a fetus?

If you accept # 1, then all pregnant women are chromosome mosaics with two sets of genomes. That means that 50% of all pregnant women are hermaphrodites having both male and female tissue. If the new life begins with a piece of the mother’s body becoming a new organism, that would be called “budding.” Budding is a form of asexual reproduction used by some species of worms, sponges, corals, and microorganisms. That is not a means of human reproduction. The fetus is not a part of the mother’s body, which is why women experience morning sickness. Her immune system is trying to reject something that is not a part of her body. 

If you accept # 2, then the fetus is a parasitic disease. The transition of this non-human parasite into a human being would be an example of speciation. You would have to call the fetus “Homo-fetus” as it evolves into homo sapiens.

If you accept #3 and say that a fetus is just a clump of biological molecules undergoing chemical reactions, then each pregnancy is an “origin of life” event. It is non-living matter transforming into life. 

Dr. Egnor says that all three of those options are “scientific nonsense.” What is a fetus according to science? He says that the scientific fact is that human life begins when the sperm fertilizes the egg. He concludes his article by saying, “The term’ person’ is a moral and legal category, not a scientific category, and it is a category open to moral discussion and debate. But “human being” is a scientific term, and it is not open to debate. The science is settled. Human life begins at fertilization, and cogent moral reasoning about abortion must begin with that scientific fact.” 

The bottom line is that humanity must decide whether or not it is acceptable to kill a human being who is a burden. We are going down a dangerous and destructive road when we avoid the scientific evidence and the biblical view of the value of human life. Whatever argument someone can make for abortion can also be used to justify the termination of those who are disabled, mentally ill, or too old to function without assistance.

— John N. Clayton © 2023

Reference: “If a Fetus Isn’t a Human Being, What Is It?” by Dr. Michael Egnor on evolutionnews.org

Abortion War Is Missing the Point

Abortion War Is Missing the Point

Roe v. Wade and the Supreme Court decision has affected almost every aspect of American life. Politicians have jumped into the abortion war not only as a party platform, either pro or con but also as a fund-raising device. I counted eleven organizations using anti-abortion messages in solicitations we recently received. Planned Parenthood reports a 4000% increase in donations to their pro-abortion efforts. The political involvement in the abortion issue is staggering. 

Planned Parenthood has received billions of dollars from taxpayers since the year 2000. Laws like the one in Indiana requiring health providers to bury or cremate fetal tissue have been upheld by a federal appeals court and are still being challenged. Throwing money at this issue or debating it in court or Congress will not settle the fundamental problem that led to the abortion war. Americans are going to have to decide whether human life is special or not. 

We are a small step from deciding that any human life that is costly, inconvenient, or dysfunctional can be legally terminated. We recall Peter Singer’s suggestion that severely mentally ill people, life-sentenced criminals, seniors who cannot manage their own affairs, and mentally challenged people unable to do productive work should all be euthanized. That would save massive amounts of money and eliminate prisons, nursing homes, and hospice facilities. Singer is an Australian moral philosopher, currently the Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics at Princeton University.

The Bible has fundamental answers to the abortion war:

  1. All humans are of infinite value, and their bodies are the dwelling place of God’s Spirit. (See Matthew 5:44-48 and 1 Corinthians 3:16.)
  2. Sex is a designed creation of God to provide a unique bond between a man and a woman in a committed relationship. It is not a recreational device to be used in any way one chooses. (See Matthew 19:4-6 and I Corinthians 6:15-18)
  3. Humans are uniquely endowed with the capacity to love (agape) all other humans and to consider ALL humans to be of extraordinary worth. (See 1 John 4:7-11.)

As long as we make sex a commercial commodity and use human life as a tool to promote a political agenda or raise money, the abortion war will continue. Science and technology can offer solutions to prevent unwanted pregnancies without the wholesale use of abortion as a method of birth control. But the real solution is beyond that.

As faith in God and acceptance of the Bible as a guide for life decline, we can expect the intensity of the abortion war to increase. However, Christians can set an example, teach biblical moral principles, and address the collateral damage. However, looking the other way as these issues swirl around us does not help the situation. 

— John N. Clayton © 2022

References: USA Today Network for 12/5/2022, Planned Parenthood 2021 annual report, Alliance Defending Freedom Newsletter for 12/8/22.

A Mother Carries Her Child for Decades – Not Just Nine Months

A Mother Carries Her Child for Decades – Not Just Nine Months

We all know that a mother carries her unborn child for nine months until the baby is born. However, most people don’t realize that a mother carries her child for decades. That is true even of a woman who chooses to abort her child.

The term “chimera” (pronounced ky-mer-uh) refers to an animal made up of parts of different animals. It goes back to ancient mythology, which told of a creature made of parts from various animals, such as a goat, a lion, and a snake. The Bible even speaks about a vision of multiple animal combinations in the book of Revelation. However, in human mothers, scientists see microchimerism in which fetal cells and DNA are left behind in the mother’s body.

The unborn baby, commonly called a fetus, is not part of the mother’s body and has his or her own DNA. The baby is like a foreign object inside the mother. That’s the reason for “morning sickness,” as the mother’s immune system tries to reject it. The often repeated slogan “my body, my choice” does not consider that the baby is not part of the woman’s body and has no choice in the matter.

The placenta is the link between mother and baby. The unborn baby gets nourishment through the placenta as it connects to the mother’s arteries. However, the baby can also shed some cells and DNA, which enter the mother’s bloodstream as early as two weeks after conception. Those fetal cells can find a home in various organs of the mother, including her heart and brain. Since those cells are from a different person, the result is microchimerism. The woman has part of another person remaining inside of her body.

Scientists have found that a mother carries her child for decades as the baby’s cells remain in her. If she has more than one child, she can retain cells from each of them in her body. Just as science has found that stem cells can be helpful in medical treatments because of their ability to form into different kinds of cells, the potent cells from the baby can become pancreas, heart, liver, or brain cells in the mother. Or they can become skin cells. Scientists have found cells from the baby in the scar tissue after a caesarian birth, indicating that the baby’s cells are helping the mother to heal.

Not only do fetal cells continue in the mother after normal births, but also they are left behind when there is a miscarriage or medical abortion. Surprisingly, studies indicate that more cells are left in the mother after an induced abortion than in a natural miscarriage. Furthermore, this transfer of cells works both ways. To a lesser extent, cells from the mother can get into the unborn baby. Since cells from previous siblings are still in the mother, even those can be passed on to the fetus. In other words, a second or third child may have cells from his or her older siblings.

What does this mean? It tells us that a mother carries her child for decades. As mothers carry with them a part of their children, there is good reason for the bonding between mother and child. Even when a woman decides to end her baby’s life before birth, she still carries some of that child with her. Being a mother is a precious blessing, and abortion is not something to be taken lightly.

— Roland Earnst © 2022

References: National Institutes of Health, “Health Shots” on National Public Radio, and Ariel Precision Medicine

Little Aborted Souls in Heaven

Little Aborted Souls in Heaven

An article by S.M. Hutchens in Touchstone magazine raised the question of what the Redeemer will do with “those little aborted souls … in heaven.” A skeptic recently suggested to me, “If we believe the Bible, Christians should support abortion because those aborted babies automatically go to heaven.” Both of these views miss the point. There will be no such thing as “little aborted souls” in heaven.

When we die, we leave all of our physical existence behind. At the end of time, the physical world will be dissolved and turned back into the form from which it came. (See 2 Peter 3:10-18.) Einstein’s famous equation e = mc2 tells us that mass and energy are really the same thing, and quantum mechanics continues to support that concept. In 1 John 1:5 we read, “God is light.” Light is energy, and the idea is that God took some of His own nature and turned it into matter. That was the start of the creation process.

Revelation 21 tells us that in heaven, we will be free of every negative thing that afflicted us here on Earth. There will be no death, pain, or suffering. As verse 5 says, all things will be made new. Christ will bring all of us who are His into this new existence, including those babies who were killed before they could draw a breath.

The skeptic then says that we should rejoice that these “little aborted souls” are now with God and will never have to experience the trauma of life. That might sound like a reasonable argument, except for something that atheists can never deal with. It is the question of purpose. What is our purpose—why are we here? There is a joke about the skeptic who says to God at the judgment, “Why didn’t you put a stop to COVID?” God responds by saying, “I did, and you aborted it.” That really is more than a joke. It raises a key point in this discussion.

The Bible makes it clear that God had and continues to have a purpose in the creation and a purpose for each of us. We are not just accidents. Ephesians 6:12 and 3:10, as well as the Book of Job, show us that there is a war between good and evil, and we are on the battlefield. Atheists may try to deny this by saying evil doesn’t exist, but that is an irrational view.

Everyone was created with talents and abilities to do something in the battle with the spiritual forces described in Ephesians. Unfortunately, many refuse to participate and end up with lives full of frustration and no direction. Aborted babies never have a chance to do what God created them to do. Those of us who find our niche realize that God put us here for a reason. In that, we find contentment and value in life as we fulfill the purpose for which we were created.

— John N. Clayton © 2022

Reference: “L’Chaim!” in the column “Mortal Remains” by S.M. Hutchens in the November/December 2022 issue of Touchstone magazine

Should We Treat an Aborted Fetus as a Deceased Person?

Should We Treat an Aborted Fetus as a Deceased Person?

In 2016, when Mike Pence was governor, the state of Indiana passed a law requiring “the burial or cremation of any fetus.” The question at hand is should we treat an aborted fetus as a deceased person? Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit against the state, which went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Finally, in 2019, the court ruled that Indiana law had a legitimate interest in disposing of fetal remains.

In 2020, a group of women who had abortions in Indiana, along with abortion providers and an abortion clinic, filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana. They said that the requirements caused abortion and miscarriage patients “shame, stigma, anguish, and anger” because they “send the unmistakable message that someone who has had an abortion or miscarriage is responsible for the death of a person.”

In September of 2022, U.S. District Judge Richard L. Young ruled that the law violated the U.S. Constitution because it infringes upon the religious and free speech rights of people who don’t believe that aborted fetuses have any rights.

Whether we should treat an aborted fetus as a deceased person highlights the real issue in the abortion question. That is, whether or not a baby is a human before birth. Those who argue for abortion do not have scientific support for their position. The unborn child is not “an extension of the mother’s body.” Every medical attempt to define when a baby is a human fails because of the criteria used. Using brain waves, the ability to live outside the womb, the heartbeat, or when the fetus responds to outside stimuli are all arbitrary and change as technology advances.

In today’s world, having an abortion is safer than natural childbirth. The number of women who die in childbirth worldwide is vast, and even in the United States, there is a risk in giving birth. When you look at the arguments for abortion, consider how they can be applied to euthanasia for a person with age or mental issues. Some people want to use similar arguments to eliminate the cost and personal inconvenience of people at the other end of life’s journey. Ethics proponents like Dr. Peter Singer use them to justify euthanizing the mentally ill and the severely physically disabled.

Should we treat an aborted fetus as a deceased person? As our civilization embraces atheism, naturalism, and humanism, will it embrace a 100% materialistic view of human value? The recent ruling in Indiana seems to indicate that is the case.

— John N. Clayton © 2022

Reference: Indianapolis Star and USA Today Network for September 30, 2022.

The Cost of Raising a Child

The Cost of Raising a Child

The Brookings Institute writing in the Wall Street Journal reports that the average cost of raising a child from birth to age 17 has risen 9% over two years ago. The cost of raising a child is now $310,605 to feed, house, and provide primary care after birth. When you add to that the birthing cost, it becomes apparent that it is out of reach for many young couples and especially for young unmarried women. 

In our materialistic and selfish society, many people are unwilling to sacrifice to spend that kind of money. That means they will push for an abortion, or they will neglect the child’s basic needs if the baby is born. Even worse, some parents pay the $18,271 a year cost of raising a child but resent it and let the child know they resent it. In my 41 years of public school teaching in South Bend, Indiana, I saw the consequences of kids facing physical, mental, and spiritual neglect.

Like many things wrong with society today, the problem is with the religious convictions of many adults. What is the result if you are convinced that humans are the product of blind mechanistic chance and don’t view a child as a unique creation of God with value and importance? You will not devote the resources or energy to ensuring your child is fully equipped to deal with life’s challenges. 

The biblical plan for raising children is time-tested and proven to work. Ephesians 6:4 and Colossians 3:21 warn fathers, “…provoke not your children to wrath; but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” God’s plan calls for protecting children as a product of love. The cost of raising a child is more than money. A child must be treasured and nurtured not only in secular matters but in the knowledge of their value and spiritual nature. 

Kids are searching for adults who will value them as they are. Unfortunately, the gender changing and promiscuity of our young people today are a product of the failure of adults to be willing to pay the cost of raising a child, including financially, emotionally, and spiritually. 

— John N. Clayton © 2022

Reference: The Week for September 2, 2022, page 16.

Fetal Development in the Womb

 Fetal Development in the Womb

One thing that can get lost in the rhetoric about abortion is what happens in the fetal development in the womb. The story begins around the 14th day of a 28-day menstrual cycle when an ovary releases an egg. When the sperm fertilizes the egg, the zygote, as it’s called, contains a mixture of genetic information from both parents. Fertilization usually occurs in the fallopian tube near the ovary that produced the egg.

This already growing zygote must travel to the uterus to implant itself. If the zygote lodges in the wrong place, such as in a fallopian tube, the result is a medical emergency called an ectopic pregnancy. Such a pregnancy can rupture the tube, leading to internal bleeding that can cause the mother’s death.

Once the zygote attaches in the uterus, the mother produces the hormones that nourish and protect it, allowing the growth process to continue. What might be considered a “heartbeat” can be detected long before there are chambers and valves that make up the human heart. Specialized cells create a heart tube that produces a fluttering electrical activity that can be heard with a stethoscope or detected by an ultrasound machine.

When pain signals come from the senses, they must travel to the brain’s cortex which develops at about weeks 24 or 25 of pregnancy. It is amazing that by the end of the first trimester, the developing baby has every organ it will ever have throughout its life. They merely continue to grow and develop.

People used to justify slavery by saying that blacks were humans but not persons. Nobody can support such a distinction from a scientific or moral standpoint. Yet, some have used the same failed logic to justify abortion.

The complexities of reproduction are so massive that there is still much that science doesn’t understand. Nevertheless, it is incredible that an atheist can look at the fetal development in the womb and not be amazed at the beauty and wonder of its design. “For it was you who created my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I will praise you because I have been remarkably and wondrously made” (Psalms 139:13-14a CSB).

— John N. Clayton © 2022

References: Science News for July 16 & 30, 2022, page 6-7; Skeptic Magazine, Volume 27 # 2 2022, page 22.