Let me tell you about a young woman I admire tremendously. I don’t actually know her, but I expect to meet her one day. Her name is Jessica, she’s married with a young son. Last November she was diagnosed with throat cancer, and needed treatment immediately to have any chance of overcoming the disease. But Jessica was also three months pregnant with her second child. Cancer treatment would severely harm or even kill the little one. Doctors advised her to have an abortion so that she could start her life-saving treatment.
If Jessica was your friend, what would you advise her?
I’ll let Jessica’s husband Clint tell you their story.
‘I knew what it was like to feel shame. I had deep secrets that I felt, if they were ever known, no one would love me or accept me. Unspeakable things that I hoped I could keep from God Himself, if that were possible. I felt too damaged to ever do anything for God or anyone else, and so ruined that I couldn’t be loved or made complete.
‘We all have labels on our lives. We either put them on ourselves, or we allow others to adhere them to our hearts and minds; labels that deal with our identity, our weaknesses, failures, or even our strengths and successes.
‘I thought my labels read: “Product of Rape”, “Victim of Incest”, “Drug Abuser”, “Child Killer”, “High School Drop Out”, “Unlovable”, “Loser”, and “Worthless”.’
Antonia Senior – writer, feminist and pro-choice activist – wrote a recent article in the Times stating her belief, following the birth of her daughter, that ‘a fetus is a life’. She writes heart-warmingly:
My daughter was formed at conception, and all the barely understood alchemy that turned the happy accident of that particular sperm meeting that particular egg into my darling, personality-packed toddler took place at that moment. She is so unmistakably herself, her own person – forged in my womb, not by my mothering.
Sadly however, Senior is still very much pro-choice despite her now firm and outspoken belief that human life begins at conception. Read R Albert Mohler’s comments here.
Brave words from JoAnne Cascia of New Jersey, America. At twenty six weeks’ gestation, her baby was diagnosed with thanatophoric skeletal dysplasia. This is a lethal form of dwarfism affecting the ribs, making them too small for the baby’s lungs to develop properly. Doctors encouraged her to abort her baby but all she could think was: ‘I’m his mother. My job is to protect him.’ JoAnne carried her baby to term and delivered a beautiful baby boy. She had a precious hour and a half with him before he died.
Read JoAnne’s moving story, and those of four other women who made the courageous choice to carry their seriously ill unborn babies to term here.
It is God the Holy Spirit who gives physical (as well as spiritual) life. Psalm 104:30 says: ‘When You send forth Your Spirit, they are created, and You renew the face of the ground.’ And Job 34:14-15 says: ‘If He should set His heart to it and gather to Himself His Spirit and His breath, all flesh would perish together; and man would return to dust.’
Taking into account also the fact that it is God who knits us together in the womb, and knows us even before we were conceived, we should be very careful not to interfere with the crowning glory of His creation: human beings.
Saviour-siblings is the term referring to babies created specifically for their genetic material to help an older sibling with a serious illness.Tissue is taken from the saviour-sibling and transferred to an older sibling who is ill.Saviour-siblings are created by IVF – each tiny embryo is tested for its genetic structure until the embryologist finds the perfect match with its sick sibling.It’s possible and probable that many embryos would have to be created before the perfect match is found.All the genetically unsuitable ones (unsuitable for the purpose of being a saviour-sibling but otherwise healthy) will be destroyed.The saviour-sibling will then be allowed to develop and be born for the sole purpose of giving its tissue to an older sibling.
Three questions to consider (thought up by greater minds than mine) –
Will a baby born solely to ‘save’ its sibling feel equally loved and cherished by its parents?
Will scientists stop at using insignificant tissues? Could it be that organ transplants from live healthy babies be allowed to take place in the future?
I found out last week that during the second trimester, the foetus develops memory. Dr Simon Atkins in his book Make me a Baby reports that in a 1988 study, babies whose mothers watched Neighbours before they were born became quiet and content when they heard the theme tune after birth. Wow!