By Alicia DeBerry
(Alicia, aged 15 years, is the oldest daughter of Royce DeBerry, minister for the Eastside church of Christ in Indianapolis. This material was originally prepared for an English class, but is here reproduced for its excellent content. Some footnotes have been eliminated to make for easier reading. – Donald P. Ames)
On January 22, 1973, the United States Supreme Court made a tragic decision that resulted in more loss of life than all the American wars combined. They decided that a woman’s right to abortion was protected by the 14th Amendment to the Constitution. According to the U.S. Supreme Court, the word “person” does not include the unborn, therefore they can be killed legally without penalty. Anyone who wants to terminate her pregnancy before the 24th week of the pregnancy may do so. There are over 1.5 million abortions each year in over 1,000 clinics and 1,600 & hospitals. That works out to be 4,200 abortions a day, 177 an hour, 3 a minute and 1 every 20 seconds. One out of every three pregnancies in the U.S. ends up in abortion. In today’s “modern” society, there are numerous laws protecting wildlife, a but none protecting the defenseless “unborn.”
The unborn child is commonly referred to as “potential life.” This infers the child is not yet living. However, modern science disproves the above statement. Both the sperm and ovum have life; they come together to create a new life. Therefore, it is not unreasonable to say life begins at conception. Dr. Joshua Lederberg, a Nobel Laureate in genetics, wrote the following: “Modern man knows too much to pretend that life is merely the beating of the heart or the tide of breathing” (“When Does Human Life Begin?”, Ethics, Vol. 1, article #88, May 3, 198 1, p. 2).
From the moment of conception until the third month, the developing child is called an embryo, which means “the growth within.” After the third month until birth, the developing child is called a fetus. On the 19th day of development, the embryo’s eyes form. The mouth is capable of opening by the 28th day. After 30 days, the circulatory system forms, and the mother and embryo no longer exchange blood. Shortly after that, the heart begins beating. The embryo looks distinctly human by the end of the first month. However, in most cases, the mother isn’t even aware of the pregnancy yet.
The nervous system begins forming around the 6th week, and by the 2nd month is very sensitive to pain. Brain waves have been recorded as early as the 43rd day. After the 8th week, everything that is found on a healthy newborn is found all ready on the embryo. Now, only growth is required. By the l0th week of development, the eyelids close if touched, palms close into fists if something brushes across them, and the lips pucker and try to suck when touched. After the 12th week, the embryo will react to touch, turn its head, kick its legs, flex its wrist, make fists, and, curl its toes. The mother, in most cases, will not be aware of the movement.
The embryo will also suck its thumb and swallow amniotic fluid. The sex of the child is now distinct, and very advanced brain waves can be recorded. At the 4th month, the ears begin functioning, and the fetus will become accustomed to the voices of mother, father, or even brothers and sisters. Babies born between the 16th and 20th week of pregnancy have a 70 percent chance of survival in the best-equipped natology centers. Abortions can still be performed on a fetus of the same age. Dr. Jerome LeJeune said the following: “At two months of age the human being is less than one’s thumb’s length from the head to the rump. He would f it at case in a nutshell, but everything is there: hands, feet, head, organs, brain. . . . With a good magnifer the fingerprint could be detected” (Phyllis Gapen, “Abortion: Hard Choices For Medicine,” New Physician, Vol. 1, July-Aug., 1981, p. 29).
When a woman decides to terminate her pregnancy, the type of abortion done will be determined by what “trimester” her pregnancy is in. The first trimester is from the time of conception until the 12th week. At this time, the decision is left totally up to the mother and her physician. The second trimester begins at the end of the first 12 weeks and runs until the 24th week. The state may, if it wishes, regulate abortions during the second trimester. The third trimester starts at the end of the 24th week and runs to the end of the pregnancy. Abortions can be performed at this time up until birth with the permission of the maternal doctor and the state if the mother’s health is in danger in any way.
The dilatation and curettage (or the D & C) method of abortion is safe up until the 12th week. In this method, a small scraping instrument that resembles a rake is inserted through the cervical opening. The instrument is called a curette. The contents of the uterus are than scraped out. The dilatation and extraction method (or D & E) is an abortion method used in the 2nd trimester. The cervix is dilated to one inch or more in diameter. The contents of the uterus are then cut up inside of the womb and removed with forceps. When this is completed, the doctor must inspect the remains in order to insure no fetal or placental material is left remaining. Death and dismemberment doesn’t come in moments but takes a matter of ten minutes or more. Limbs may be torn off and the body lacerated well before the brain is crushed. Is it possible that the fetus can experience terror or some unspeakable, silent pain? (Landrum Shettles, David Rowik: Rites Of Life; Michigan; Zondervan Corp., 1983, p. 69)
Another method is called “Instillation” or “salting out.” It is used to induce miscarriage or still birth. This is used during the second trimester. A large needle is inserted through the abdominal wall into the uterus. Some of the amniotic fluid around the fetus is withdrawn and is replaced with a solution made of salt, urea, and a hormone called prostaglandin (“The Doctor’s Dilemma,” Ethics, Vol. 2, article #16, Aug. 15, 1982, p. 12). About 24-48 hours later, contractions start, and the fetus is expelled through the vagina. This method of abortion fails 10 percent of the time. When the method does fail, the fetus is removed surgically. Some of the time when the fetus is expelled, it shows signs of life (Myron K. Denny; A Matter of Choice, N.Y.: Simon & Schuster, Ind., 1983, pp. 64-65). Because of the percentage of failure and the controversy, this method is not used as widely today. It may take hours before the fetus dies. “Salting out” actually poisons the fetus and causes hemorrhaging and shock before death. In most cases, the mother can feel the fetus moving around wildly as if to escape the poisoning invading its nest. This method gives the fetus’ skin a burnt look.
The “hysterotomy” is an abortion method used in the 2nd and 3rd trimesters. It is a major surgery that is basically the same as a Cesarean section. The only different is that when doing a hysterotomy, the goal is to end a life, whereas in doing a cesarean, the goal is to save a life. All babies aborted by this method are born alive. They move, breath, and some even cry. However, these babies aren’t wanted so they are thrown in buckets and encouraged to die.
There is a lot of public controversy over abortion. Proabortionists have many arguments they use to justify abortion. Abortions are accepted by most as the best thing to do when an “unwanted” pregnancy occurs because an “unwanted” child shouldn’t have to be born. No child is actually unwanted if allowed to be born. Many couples wait years for a child to be placed in their homes. Some people believe that with more unwanted children being born, there would be more child abuse. However, since 1973 when abortion was legalized, the child abuse rate has climbed over 400 percent (Robert G. Grant, “Abortion,” Candidates Biblical Scoreboard, 1986, p. 7). Others believe if abortions are made illegal, women will resort to back alley abortions with coat hangers. This same argument would support the legalizing of other forms of crime. Should we legalize bank robbery, murder, or the use of cocaine to keep these people from harm in the back alleys while they perpetrate their deeds? Most believe abortion is all right in matters of rape, molestation, and defective fetuses. When our society starts killing those that aren’t “perfect,” we are in fact borrowing Hitler’s theory of a “perfect” society. In cases of rape or molestation, who is at fault? Who should be punished? The unborn child did nothing to deserve such a punishment as death. He did not ask to be put in such a situation. 97 percent of all U.S. abortions are a matter of convenience or economy though, and only 3 percent are due to rape, incest, or defective fetuses (Ibid.). Those who support abortion believe we have replaced “dangerous illegal abortions” with “safe legal abortions.” Both are equally dangerous to the unborn child!
Aborted fetuses make for a very profitable industry, considering the source is abundant. The fetuses are sold by the bag, batch, or pound for approximately $25.00. The Washington, D.C. General Hospital made $68,000 between 1966-1976 on aborted babies (David W. Balsiger, “The Issue,” Presidential Biblical Scoreboard, 1984, p. 7). Collagen is a gelatinous substance found in connective tissue, bone, and cartilage. Cosmetic companies enrich their products with collagen. Unless it specifies animal or bovine collagen, it is most likely collagen that is obtained from grinding up aborted fetuses. Twelve leading shampoos and rive leading hand creams contain collagen obtained this way!
According to the New England Journal of Medicine, living fetuses were dropped into meat grinders and homogenized to obtain tissue cultures. It was necessary for them to be alive for the best quality cultures! In Finland, a grant of $600,000 from the National Institute of Health allowed researchers to slice open one baby without an anesthetic so that a liver could be obtained. The researcher in charge said the baby was completely formed and “was even secreting urine” (loc. cit.). In California, babies aborted at 6 months were submerged in jars of liquid with a high oxygen content. The purpose was to see if they could breathe through their skins. They couldn’t (loc. cit).
In conclusion, birth does not create life but manifests something all ready created. A welcomed child is a baby from the start. Yet an unwelcomed child is only a fetus or embryo. In war, the medical corps saves lives. In abortion, the medical profession takes lives. The major difference is aborted babies get no Purple Hearts, no taps, no Memorial Day – not even a beggar’s funeral.
Guardian of Truth XXXII: 16, pp. 481, 500-501
August 18, 1988