By Bob Steinburg, Guest Columnist
Christian Action League
My wife and I hear repeatedly that there is nothing like having grandchildren. We enjoyed “almost” every moment of raising our two sons and hoped that one day they too would experience parenting. That day will soon arrive. Our youngest and his wife are expecting their first child in January: a girl. We are finally going to become grandparents.
When our children were born, I was fortunate enough to have a ringside seat to witness both miracles. Anyone doubting if there is a God need only witness childbirth to become a believer. And for me, life begins at conception. We fell in love with our grandchild the first time we saw her ultrasound. Our love for that baby grows exponentially with each passing day.
My wife, Marie, and I were unaware of the sex of our own babies before they were born in the ‘70s. With today’s technology parents know the gender after the 16th week of pregnancy. In fact, with technology today there isn’t much left to the imagination. This makes wrestling with the decision on whether to abort one’s child or not all the more gut-wrenching, except perhaps for those who are victims of rape or incest.
We now know the baby’s heart, digestive system and spinal cord begin to form four weeks after conception. At the end of eight weeks the heart is functioning. At 12 weeks the baby is in a recognizable form. Throughout months five and six hair develops and the mother can sense her child’s occasional hiccup.
By month seven the baby weighs approximately 3 ½ pounds and could survive as a preemie. During the final two months of pregnancy the baby is extremely active, adding weight right up to delivery day.
There are 1.3 million abortions performed annually in the U. S. Fifty-seven percent occur in the first nine weeks. Twenty percent of babies aborted are between nine and 10 weeks (when the heart is functioning) and 22 percent from weeks 11- 21 or later when the baby takes on recognizable human form. It is easy to understand why abortion continues to be one of the most divisive issues in America.
In many years of church volunteer work through outreach and pastoral care, I can’t recall ever hearing of someone pro-life becoming pro-choice. Conversely, I have heard of individuals who were pro-choice and are now pro-life. One such person is former Planned Parenthood Director Abby Johnson.
Up until recently, Johnson worked at a clinic in Texas where she assisted women in getting abortions. She told Fox News that she had never actually witnessed an abortion until recently. A physician asked her to assist in performing an ultrasound guided termination procedure. The mother was 13 weeks pregnant. Johnson viewed the monitor and saw a baby’s full side profile face to feet. She then said she witnessed the baby “fighting for its life by trying to shield itself and move away from the probe.” That was Johnson’s last day in the clinic. She has become a staunch pro-life advocate.
Johnson is not alone. For the first time since 1995 polls show that a majority of Americans identify themselves as pro-life. A recent Gallup Values and Beliefs survey showed 51 percent pro-life, 42 percent pro-choice. That’s a shift of seven to eight points from just one year ago. It appears this is one more issue in which the Democratic liberal elites are out of sync with the views of a majority of Americans.
No where has abortion had a more devastating impact than on the black community. Since 1970, more than 50 million surgical abortions have been performed in the U.S. While childbearing black women account for only 13 percent of the total female population in the age group of 15 to 44, they underwent 36 percent of all abortions.
In addition to the mostly moral debate, some suggest abortion has also wreaked untold havoc on our economy. Dennis M. Howard, president of the pro-life group Movement for a Better America calculates abortion has cost the U. S. $35 trillion in lost Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Others suggest that had it not been for abortions, the government money spent on welfare, food stamps and other entitlements would be many times more than what it is today. That is a pro-abortion economic argument that is unsettling to me. Since the welfare reform of the `90s and with the accompanying full employment economy up until two plus years ago, welfare benefits continued to be low.
We should never look at aborting children as a way to lower federal spending, anymore than we would ever consider euthanizing the elderly to stop the financial drain on healthcare. Job creation and job creation alone can cure most of this nation’s maladies.
I don’t know whether the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision that legalized abortion will ever be overturned. But I do know this. A society cannot call itself civilized when it fails to take every precautionary step to protect the sanctity of life at whatever stage. As a Christian, and perhaps even more importantly as a member of the human race, there are few exceptions that could lead me to believe otherwise. To that, my new granddaughter, just weeks away from delivery, says, “Amen Papa. Amen!”