The most destructive recreational drug on the planet is alcohol. The consequences of alcohol consumption are more than tragic accidents. New research on alcohol consumption during pregnancy indicates that the damage of alcohol is more pervasive than anyone believed ten years ago.
Researchers at the University of Vienna have revealed their fetal development studies showing that even one glass of wine a week by the mother can significantly reduce her baby’s brain development. The major damage was in the right superior temporal sulcus. That region of the brain involves social cognition and language development.
As the world moves toward acceptance of marijuana as a recreational drug, we can expect to see more problems with the development of children. As the adoptive parent of a child whose biological mother had not used good judgment during her pregnancy, I know the problems caused by alcohol consumption during pregnancy.
With careless environmental pollution and recreational drugs, having a healthy baby is more of a challenge than ever before. When our son was diagnosed with numerous congenital problems, some people told us it was God’s doing. We can’t expect God to constantly be undoing what we have done to ourselves, both individually and collectively.
One of the things I have learned about my body is that God’s original equipment is better than what humans make. The dental equipment that various dentists have put into my mouth has usually lasted only about 20 years, but I still have some of my original teeth. My eyes are starting to show aging after working well for years, but I go through glasses at an alarming rate. Trifocals don’t work as well as the eyes I had as a teenager.
The desire to put off children until later in life to pursue a career has caused many couples to freeze embryos for later in vitro fertilization. In Scandanavia, 78,000 human embryos have been frozen, and 18,000 pregnancies have resulted from in vitro fertilization. Studies show that 74% of the mothers who used IVF suffered from high blood pressure, while only 4.3% of women had blood pressure problems with natural childbirth.
High blood pressure is dangerous in pregnancy because it can lead to preeclampsia which can cause complications for both the mother and child. This has implications for the abortion issue and family planning organizations. The bottom line is that women must decide what is most important in their lives. God has given them the ability to have a baby, and God’s original equipment is better than what humans make. Having a child is a choice a woman should make, but babies should not be an afterthought.
The financial stresses on families may force women to make hard decisions. Still, human interference with the original design of the reproductive process causes significant problems for families, women, and babies. Which is more important, having a high-level career or raising a child? Trying to do both and doing them successfully is a daunting challenge.
One of the major conflicts in our society today is when a woman becomes pregnant and the man involved is unwilling to assume any responsibility for the pregnancy’s financial, emotional, psychological, or spiritual cost. Unfortunately, there are no easy solutions for pregnant women without the father’s support.
Despite the rhetoric that the woman has a right to control what happens to her body, she has to make decisions in which all the options are difficult. The baby is not an extension of the mother’s body. Morning sickness occurs because her body knows a foreign agent has invaded. The baby is a human with its own DNA and will demand outside help to survive or an outside agent to be killed.
Abortion is not a practical method of birth control. Abortions are costly financially, emotionally, and spiritually. Chemical changes in the mother’s body trigger reactions for some time after the abortion. With all of this very personal struggle, many women are choosing to bear the child but not raise it. Adoption is a preferred choice for many, but the adoption process has become increasingly complicated. Many adopting parents have found it so difficult that they go to other countries to adopt a child.
A growing and yet controversial solution is the use of “baby boxes.” In Indiana, the production of “newborn safety devices” is supported by legislation. These devices are embedded in an exterior wall of a hospital or fire station. They have both heating and cooling elements and a silent alarm to notify emergency responders that a child is there. The Knights of Columbus has paid for installing the boxes, and already 12 newborns have been surrendered in Indiana.
Monica Kelsey was abandoned by her biological mother in 1972, and she campaigns for the boxes. She says that the opponents of the boxes “don’t understand what women who are giving up their babies are going through. If you don’t have this available for these mothers, you are going to continue to find babies in dumpsters across this country.”
Safe Haven Baby Boxes provide an option for pregnant women without the father’s support. When people fail to follow God’s plan, the alternatives are always complicated, but compassion and caring can help solve this issue.
The media have recently reported on several life issues from beginning to end. Here are some examples: The German Euthanasia Association has announced that those seeking euthanasia must produce proof of COVID vaccination to legally end their lives. This is apparently to protect healthcare workers.
In Poland, the government has passed a law requiring doctors to report all pregnancies and miscarriages to a government database. The apparent reason for this is to make sure that all pregnancies end with a birth. Unfortunately, Poland has a shortage of workers, and this seems to be the government’s solution to the issue.
Research has shown that women who use marijuana during pregnancy are more than twice as likely to have aggressive, hyperactive children with heart rate and immunity issues.
Babies have a fragrance that comes from an organic compound called hexadecanal. It is found in human skin but is abundant in a baby’s scalp. Research shows that females exposed to the fragrance become more aggressive and strong defenders of their babies. On the other hand, men exposed to it become more gentle and speak with softer voices. Evolutionists claim that this is an evolutionary survival mechanism. We would suggest this is part of God’s design of the human reproductive system.
Research on adopted children shows that some traits are common to adopted children that do not commonly appear in children who are not adopted. In the nine months of pregnancy, there is a “primal bonding that happens by biological design.” Those of us with adopted children can attest to some behavior issues that may be related to the adoption process.
God gave us the ideal arrangement for family–one man and one woman in love with each other produce children they love and care for. Unfortunately, that arrangement is not always possible. Understanding the stress and feelings involved can go a long way toward making adoption a good experience.
As we examine life issues from beginning to end, we know that every child needs a loving family, and every senior adult needs someone who loves them.
Unborn babies can hear the world around them. Recently Dianne Neal Matthews wrote in Guidepost’sMornings with Jesus about an experience with the birth of her grandchild. She traveled to the daughter’s home for the birth of her fourth child.
After the little girl was born, each family member got to hold her. As the newborn passed between the parents and each sibling, Mrs. Matthews was amazed at how calm, alert, and content she was. The baby had just left a warm and cozy environment inside her mother, and now she was experiencing a cool world with bright lights and new sensations on her skin. Yet, each time the baby was put into the arms of a family member who talked to the baby, she calmly responded, quietly moving her arms.
When Mrs. Matthews was able to hold her, the baby was not calm and settled. However, when returned to her mother, she became quiet and peaceful. Mrs. Matthews realized that the baby had been hearing familiar voices of the family for months, which made her feel safe. Because Mrs. Matthews lived far away, the baby had no experience with her unfamiliar voice.
Years ago, McCall’s magazine reported a story where a baby was subjected to a physical push from one direction outside the mother’s body each time a specific song was played. After three “pushes,” when the song was played again, the baby moved away from the direction of the push, clearly avoiding it. Issac Stern, the famous violinist, once told the story of playing a certain melody when his mother was present. She stopped him and asked where he got that melody. He was dumbfounded and had no idea. Then she told him, “I wrote that melody and played it a number of times when I was pregnant with you.”
A baby inside its mother’s womb is a baby – not an extension of the mother’s body. Unborn babies can hear the world around them. Unfortunately, our nation has now decided that killing a baby is acceptable if that baby is an inconvenience for the mother. This amounts to infanticide, similar to the ancient Roman practice of throwing unwanted babies into the street. That disregard for life was a part of what destroyed the Roman empire. One has to wonder how long God will tolerate infanticide by our nation.
The World Health Organization (WHO) released a global alcohol action plan. The statement that has grabbed the most attention is this: “appropriate attention should be given to … prevention of drinking among pregnant women of childbearing age.” Unfortunately, the media seem to have ignored the rest of the WHO report. The storm of reaction is because of the statement about alcohol and women of childbearing age. Freelance writer Danielle Campoamor gave the immediate response of much of the media when she said on NBC, “the action plan overlooks men, as usual.”
The data on alcohol use is horrible among men and women. WHO has given data for years which the media has totally ignored. In 2016, 2.3 million men died due to alcohol consumption. Alcohol use worldwide caused the loss of 106.5 million DALYs, disability-adjusted life years. There are 283 million people aged 15 years and older living with alcohol use disorders. That is 5.1% of the global adult population.
So why pick on alcohol and women of childbearing age? The answer to that question should be obvious. The effect of a drinking mother on her unborn child causes problems for the child–not the mother. Fetal alcoholism syndrome is something doctors confront regularly. Feminists correctly point out that men who drink substantially and father children also increase the risk of birth defects.
Alcohol is the most destructive drug that has ever existed. The mentality that attempts to justify drinking for any segment of the world’s population is the same as those who promote abortion—the selfish desires of individuals in our culture trump everything else. Babies continue to bear the consequences of selfish adult desires for pleasure. We now see this happening with marijuana, but we are yet to see the long-term health problems of marijuana.
We see people like Peter Singer, moral philosopher and professor at Princeton University, suggesting that we should euthanize people with mental or physical impairments to save money and inconvenience to society. Now is a time for Christians to stand up for life, morality, and the positive results of following the teachings of Christ. We must speak out against alcohol and other drug use, abortion and infanticide, and euthanasia of the mentally ill, elderly, or those with congenital disabilities. Protecting those people is the one hope for humanity to continue to exist with equal opportunity for all.
Smithsonian Magazine published an article on scientific research showing that becoming pregnant literally shapes a mother’s heart and mind. The scientific name for this is “fetal microchimerism.” The study shows amazing changes in a woman’s body and mind when she becomes pregnant. These include:
1) The mother regrows heart cells in the same way a salamander grows a new tail. 2) The DNA in new heart cells does not match the mother’s DNA. 3) The new heart cells travel to any damaged part of the mother’s heart. 4) Fetal stem cells transform into blood-vessel-like tubes and heart muscle cells in the mother. 5) Fetal cells not used in the mother’s heart show up in the mother’s lungs, spleen, kidneys, thyroid, skin, and bone marrow. 6) Fetal cells stay with the mother for life. Scientists find fetal cells in the corpses of older women with grown children. 7) Women with three or more kids have a 12% lower risk of dementia. 8) During the first month of motherhood, a woman is 23 times more likely to have her first hospitalization for bipolar disorder than at any other time in her life. 9) New mothers show significantly greater activity in the brain’s thalamus, which regulates consciousness, sleep, and alertness. 10) When observing distressed babies, mothers show unusual electrical brain activity. 11) Mothers have an oxytocin rush into the bloodstream during labor and delivery, facilitating uterine contractions and milk letdown. There is evidence that oxytocin is also a neurotransmitter stimulating a mother’s concern for infants.
When God designed women to give birth to babies, He didn’t just set up a chamber where the baby could grow. He also built into the conception process a system that benefits the mother and the child. Fetal microchimerism means that fetal cells from the baby remain in the mother’s body and affect her in various ways. Can you imagine what an abortion does to this system?
Science is just beginning to understand the complexities of this design. The process of abortion has long-term effects on the mother. The more we learn, the more obvious it becomes that abortion is not only the murder of an innocent baby, but it has collateral damage to the mother.
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.
Some high school and college girls brought to our attention several advertisements for “medication abortions” using an “abortion pill.” A pro-life group called Students for Life Action tells us that Planned Parenthood is sending the chemical abortion medications by mail. This is an attractive means of securing an abortion for a young woman who doesn’t want anyone to know about her pregnancy.
In reality, the abortion “pill” is not a single pill, and taking it is not like taking an aspirin. The chemical abortion involves two different medications. The first is mifepristone which initiates the abortion. The second misoprostol which causes cramping and bleeding to empty the uterus. Cramping and bleeding can last several hours or even several days, and some bleeding and spotting can go on for several weeks.
The promoters of medical abortions are telling people that there is “an abortion pill.” They are not telling them how it works and how traumatic the procedure is. It is easy for a boyfriend to trivialize the chemical abortion process, but cramping, bleeding, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, and dizziness are all common side effects of the use of the two pills.
It is essential to understand that abortions of any kind kill a baby. The child has its own DNA. Morning sickness is the woman’s body telling her that there is a foreign body inside her. The use of chemicals to kill the baby is dangerous to the mother and can have many side effects. Saying that a woman has the right to decide what will happen to her body is true, but she needs to make the decision long before a child is growing inside her.
Selling chemical abortion medications by mail is not a good solution for unwanted pregnancies. God has given us rules for sexual conduct, and the rules work, if we follow them. We oppose abortion at all levels. We believe that education by God through His Word is the only way men and women can make good choices and avoid the pain and consequences of bad decisions.
What does a married couple do when they want to have a child but are unable to do so? There are many reasons for the problem of infertility and desire for motherhood. A woman who has had cancer and yet desperately wants a child even though the chemo has made her unable to conceive is very common. Male infertility is a major cause of couples not being able to conceive a child. Diseases like diabetes may make it impossible for a woman to conceive or to carry a pregnancy to birth. My wife was an insulin-dependent diabetic from age ten, and the disease made it impossible for her to conceive a child even though she desperately wanted to be a mother. There are several movie stars who don’t want to have their physical appearance disturbed by pregnancy, or maybe they don’t want to spend nine months carrying a child. The list goes on.
For my wife and I, the answer to this problem was adoption. We adopted three wonderful children, and that in my mind is the best option. But there are complications and issues in adoption. Some couples desperately want the child to be from the husband’s sperm and the wife’s egg. “Test tube babies” where fertilization occurs in a petri dish and the egg is implanted in the woman are very common. However, the failure rate is high, and some women simply cannot carry a child.
In this latter case, what a couple sometimes does is hire a surrogate. A surrogate mother is a woman who will allow the baby to be implanted in her womb and carry the child to birth, but the child will legally belong to the couple. The surrogate mother is, in essence, an incubator and has no claim to the child, but is paid for her services. The American Society for Reproductive Medicine says that 2807 babies were born that way in 2015. That is four times more than in 2014, and when data becomes available for 2017, it will probably be well over 8000.
The issue becomes very complicated when the woman is not producing any viable eggs or if the man is sterile. You then are dealing with donated eggs and sperm which means the genetic background of the baby may be unknown creating all kinds of implications. When a genetically carried disease shows up in the child, there have been lawsuits.