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"A curious avoidance"

When does human life begin?


In 1933, Dr. Alan Guttmacher, an obstetrician/gynecologist, who would in 1962 become president of Planned Parenthood, correctly wrote: “…man… starts life as an embryo within the body of the female; the embryo is formed from the fusion of two single cells, the ovum and the sperm. This all seems so simple that it is difficult to picture a time when it was not part of common knowledge.”


In the September 1970 issue of California Medicine, an editorial titled, and advocating, “A New Ethic for Medicine and Society” stated that “It will become necessary … to place relative, rather than absolute values, on such things as human lives…” The author remarks that since this “new ethic” has not yet replaced the “old (Judeo Christian) ethic,” those who have adopted the “new ethic” show “a curious avoidance of the scientific fact, which everyone really knows, that human life begins at conception… considerable semantic gymnastics… are required to rationalize abortion as anything but taking a human life...”


In 1973, the United States Supreme Court struck down the legal protection of unborn people with its infamous Roe v. Wade ruling. In his opinion for the majority, Justice Blackmun displayed “a curious avoidance of the scientific fact, which everyone really knows, that human life begins at conception” and wrote: "We need not resolve the difficult question of when life begins. When those trained in the respective disciplines of medicine, philosophy, and theology are unable to arrive at any consensus, the judiciary, at this point in the development of man's knowledge, is not in a position to speculate as to the answer."


In August of 2008, then presidential candidate Barack Obama was asked “…at what point does a baby get human rights?” To which Senator Obama replied “…answering that question with specificity, you know, is above my pay grade.” Once again, “a curious avoidance of the scientific fact… that human life begins at conception.”


In December 2020, the Minister of Health in Argentina, Dr. Ginés González García, argued for legalization of abortion in his country. He said, “Here there are not two lives as some say. Here it is clearly just one life and the other a phenomenon... if it were not, we would be witnessing the greatest universal genocide, because more than half the civilized world allows it.” Note, yet again, “a curious avoidance of the scientific fact… that human life begins at conception… semantic gymnastics are required to rationalize abortion as anything but taking a human life...”


We are “witnessing the greatest universal genocide.” We are witnessing the greatest universal indifference. In the U.S. alone, estimates of the number of surgical abortions since Roe v. Wade, that is, not counting the abortifacient effects of birth control pills or the “morning after” pill, stand at 60 million. If each of these tiny humans were allotted a tombstone that stood five feet on center from the adjacent tombstone, the line of tombstones would extend more than 56,000 miles, or more than two times around the Earth at the equator. If one were to walk past all these tombstones for eight hours a day, or 20 miles per day, it would take more than seven years to complete the walk.


Mother Teresa said, “Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching its people to love, but to use any violence to get what they want. This is why the greatest destroyer of love and peace is abortion.” To legally permit taking the life of an innocent defenseless person is a fundamental injustice.


How should we respond? St.Augustine, in The City of God (xix, 14), spoke to this. He wrote: “…this divine Master inculcates two precepts — the love of God and the love of our neighbor — and as in these precepts a man finds three things he has to love — God, himself, and his neighbor — and that he who loves God loves himself thereby, it follows that he must endeavor to get his neighbor to love God, since he is ordered to love his neighbor as himself… and consequently he will be at peace, or in well-ordered concord, with all men, as far as in him lies. And this is the order of this concord, that a man, in the first place, injure no one, and, in the second, do good to every one he can reach.”


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