To Ourselves and Our Posterity
As debate questions go, this one was as meaty as they get. Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church asked the 2008 presidential candidates, “At what point does a baby get human rights?” With America awaiting his answer, candidate Barack Obama decided to play it safe: “That’s above my pay grade.” As non-answers go, it will forever remain a classic.
With his jump in pay grades, President Obama has now given his answer. The Obama administration has recently submitted our country’s first report to the U.N. Human Rights Council on the status of human rights here. The report lists high unemployment, poverty, hate crimes, inadequate access to health care, poor housing, and discrimination directed against blacks Latinos, Muslims, Southeast Asians, Native Americans, and lays and lesbians as human rights problems. It even singles out the people of Arizona as human-rights violators for the state’s immigration enforcement law.
But one human rights violation was not listed. Absent is any mention of legalized abortion. Not confessed to the U.N. is our government-sanctioned killing of over 52 million Americans. Not one of them was given a guardian to plead her cause. No judge or jury ever considered their innocence or extended them mercy. They were sentenced to death with no right of appeal. Some were dismembered, some scalded by chemicals, and some even had their brains sucked out. Imagine the righteous outcry if that was how society executed its most heinous criminals. Yet not one word was said in the report about the American Holocaust. Not a single word about our homegrown killing field.
Why the silence? It can’t be through oversight. Over 52 million unborn cannot be forgotten, no matter how hard the administration tries. Maybe the President believes that the unborn are not really human, that life only begins at birth. Of course, that would defy science, which even since Roe v. Wade has taught us more and more about God’s astounding miracle of human life.
It starts at conception. From that very moment, a one-cell fertilized egg as small as a single grain of salt contains the entire genetic blueprint for the rest of life. By day 20, the developing baby’s brain, spinal cord, and nervous system are already established. The next day, the heart starts beating. By day 28, the backbone and muscles are forming, and arms, legs, eyes, and ears appear. By day 30, the developing baby is as big as 10,000 grains of salt. The mother probably does not yet know she is pregnant.
By day 35, five fingers can be seen on each hand. Five days later, brain waves can be detected and recorded. In week six, the liver starts producing blood, and the brain starts to control muscle and organ motions. The next week, the jaw and teeth form; eyelids start to cover the eyes. By week eight, the stomach produces digestive juices, and the kidneys begin to function. Forty muscles sets coordinate with the nervous system. The baby can respond to touch. By week nine, fingerprints appear, and the baby’s fingers can curve around an object. By the following week the baby can squint, swallow, and wrinkle brows. By the end of the next three weeks the baby will breathe amniotic fluid, urinate, sleep, awaken, and energetically exercise; fine hair will begin to cover the baby’s head. The baby’s gender will become apparent. The mother has yet to “show.”
The next months are times of tremendous development and growth. At five months, the baby reacts to loud sounds. With proper care, at six months she can survive outside the womb. At seven months, she uses her senses to vision, hearing, taste, and touch; she can recognize her mother’s voice. At eight months, she circulates a gallon of amniotic fluid every three hours. With God’s incredible miracle completed in the ninth month, she is fully capable of life outside the womb.
At every stage of that miracle, she can be legally killed. It’s not because the President disbelieves that she is human. It is because he does not believe that she has any rights at all. That is far worse. It defies the truth that the unborn are God’s creations, not ours to do with as we will. And it defies the bedrock principle of human decency: we are strongest, and we are best, when we safeguard the weakest.
The theme of the President’s report is “a more perfect union,” words taken from the preamble to our Constitution. Too bad he ignores its next few lines. Our founding fathers sought to “secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.” To our everlasting shame, in the name of liberty to self we are slaughtering our posterity. Future generations will not know God’s blessings of liberty if they are not allowed to know His blessings of life.
Our president has done more to further an abortion culture than any president in history. He has no plans to change. But he didn’t, and can’t, do it alone. Congress enacted the health care law that will eventually fund abortions. The Senate confirmed his two Supreme Court nominees hell bent on keeping abortion legal forever. If not stopped, Congress may soon authorize federal funding to destroy human embryos. The voices of the unborn have been ignored. But eventually, even a president and his Congress must listen. November is coming. And on November 2, we can speak for the unborn.
May we vote for ourselves and for our posterity.
Paul V. Esposito is a Catholic lawyer who writes on a variety of pro-life topics. He and his wife Kathy live in Elmhurst, Illinois, where they raise their six kids.
© Paul V. Esposito 2010. Culture of Life. Permission to copy and distribute for pro-life purposes is granted. Comments? Visit us at http://www.the-culture-of-life.com/