BreakPoint: Pro-Life, Pro-Science

How Advances Lift the Curtain on Roe

One side of the political aisle likes to paint itself as pro-science. But when it comes to this most controversial social issue, science won’t toe their party line.

Writing at The Atlantic, Emma Green chronicles how breakthroughs in medical technology and advances in our understanding of pregnancy have fueled the movement to end abortion.

Forty-five years after Roe v. Wade legalized abortion nationwide, it’s become clear that this Supreme Court decision and the sexual revolution that spawned it were both based on ignorance—ignorance of what really happens inside the womb, and of what unborn human beings really are.

Since that time, a curtain has lifted. So-called “fetuses,” once shrouded in mystery, their forms hidden in what the psalmist poetically calls, “the depths of the earth,” have became visible to the world. Thanks to ultrasound technology, three-dimensional imaging, better neonatal care, and even fetal surgery, we’re able to look inside the womb.

Pro-life activist and mom Ashley McGuire tells The Atlantic that her fellow millennials grew up in “an entirely different world of science and technology than the Roe generation.” In 1973, it seemed plausible that the unborn, especially during early development, were nothing more than “blobs of tissue.” In 2018, seeing babies on ultrasound and celebrating them as babies has become a matter of course for parents.

Courtesy of science, images and even videos of children curled up, thumbs in their mouths, have been imprinted on our cultural consciousness. And no one who seriously reckons with these images or is not willfully blind can call what they depict as mere “blobs of tissue.”

And therein lies the problem for pro-choice activists. You see, the reasoning of the abortion rights movement in general and Roe v. Wade in particular, depends on two assumptions. First, that unborn babies are meaningfully different from born ones. Several decades of science have demolished this idea. We can see into the womb now and observe a baby hiccupping, sucking its thumb, clapping, practicing breathing, and even playing. The obvious question when confronted with such a spectacle is how this child differs from the one in the cradle.

Second, the reasoning of Roe specifically invoked viability—the stage at which an unborn baby can survive outside its mother’s womb. But science has changed all of that too. Advances in neonatal intensive care have pushed the point of viability back from 28 weeks to around 22, and it continues to move earlier and earlier with each year.

All of this has left the American medical system in a state of schizophrenia. Doctors and nurses will work around the clock heroically to save the life of a baby born prematurely. And yet in some cases those very same doctors and nurses will be called upon to end the life of another baby the same age or even older.

Ultimately, writes Green, the reason science has been such a powerful ally to the pro-life cause is because it resonates with the “common sense of fetal heartbeats and swelling stomachs.” It gives us permission to voice something we already know at an intuitive level: The unborn are babies, and should be treated as such.

Former Bush bioethics appointee and Notre Dame professor, O. Carter Snead, explains that science serves as a “bridge to [our] moral imagination.”

By itself, science isn’t enough. But it can lift the curtain that made it so easy to claim ignorance of what and who the unborn really are. And in that sense, those who still refuse to admit the humanity of the littlest humans are the true “science-deniers.”

And before I go, would you join a nationwide prayer movement called “The 21 Days of Prayer for Life”? Come to BreakPoint.org/21days to download a free app. You’ll learn to make the case for life effectively. And if you get the app, you’ll receive daily prayer requests throughout the year for the unborn, for mothers, for the church, and even those who participate in abortion.

 

Pro-Life, Pro-Science: How Advances Lift the Curtain on Roe

As John points out, scientific advances are proving the truth of the pro-life movement’s foundational claim: that the pre-born are human beings, made in God’s image. Continue to pray that the practice of aborting these precious lives ends in our lifetime. The “21 Days of Prayer for Life” prayer guide gives specific ways to pray; download your free copy today at BreakPoint.org/21days.

 

 

Resources

Science Is Giving the Pro-Life Movement a Boost
  • Emma Green | The Atlantic | January 18, 2018
The Case for Life: Equipping Christians to Engage the Culture
  • Scott Klusendorf | Crossway Books Publisher | March 2009

Comment Policy: Commenters are welcome to argue all points of view, but they are asked to do it civilly and respectfully. Comments that call names, insult other people or groups, use profanity or obscenity, repeat the same points over and over, or make personal remarks about other commenters will be deleted. After multiple infractions, commenters may be banned.

  • gladys1071

    This article does not mention 1st trimester abortions which are when most abortions occur, which is at 5-6 weeks, when it is the size of an appleseed. Though i am uncomfortable with late term abortions (over 15 weeks or so), 1st trimester abortion embryos are not viable and cannot survive outside the womb and at 1st trimester the pregnant woman’s rights should come first and foremost.

    • zonie6044

      Viable or not, it’s still a baby.

    • Daniel

      God has given no one the authority take an innocent life from anyone, let alone the most vulnerable. Our duty as Sons and Daughters of the Most High includes defending those who can not defend themselves and at the moment in our current culture that means fighting against all forms of abortion, we will fight against the this ideology that is ‘it’s the women’s right to choose’. Not our will be done Father, but yours. Thank you for your mercy Sovereign God.

      • gladys1071

        You are entitled to your opinion, and i respect that, but i don’t share it, also by the way we live in a pluralistic society, not everyone is a Christian or believes the way you do.

  • … when it is ….. That “it” is a little human being!

  • Timothy D Padgett

    Thanks to you all for your contributions to this important conversation. However, as this discussion seems to have come to an impasse, we will be shutting down the comments from here on.

    Timothy D Padgett
    Managing Editor, BreakPoint.org.