In a fascinating new opinion piece on CNN.com, a scientist recounts her study and exploration of a relatively recent discovery regarding child development in the womb. Scientist and author Annie Murphy Paul wrote the article about a new scientific field known as “fetal origins.” Many scientists are coming to the groundbreaking realization that “learning starts much earlier than many of us would have imagined: in the womb.”
According to the author:
“The fetus, we now know, is not an inert blob, but an active and dynamic creature, responding and adapting as it readies itself for life in the particular world it will soon enter. The pregnant woman is neither a passive incubator nor a source of always-imminent harm to her fetus, but a powerful and often positive influence on her child even before it’s born. And pregnancy is not a nine-month wait for the big event of birth, but a crucial period unto itself…”
Make no mistake, this is a big deal.
In many ways, the human womb is still one of the final frontiers of scientific research. But reproductive science has drastically advanced during the past decade, and as a result the window to the womb is becoming much clearer. As Annie Paul writes, “Now the nine months of gestation are the focus of intense interest and excitement, the subject of an exploding number of journal articles, books, and conferences.”
Thankfully, with each of these new articles, books, and conferences, it is becoming more and more untenable to deny that the unborn are fully human and fully deserving of protection under the law. Advancements such as the one detailed in the CNN article are convincing many scientists of what Bible-believing Christians have long known — that life begins at conception. (See Human Life Begins at Conception)
Ours is the God Who set planets in motion, Who founded the Earth upon its pillars, and Who commands the boundaries of the seas. But He is also the very same God Who sees the tiny sparrow fall, Who clothes the lilies in splendor, and Who carefully knits together tiny children in the womb (Ps. 139:13). From the moment of conception, these tiny children are humans and are developing as such.
This brings us to the most important point. As the evidence for the personhood of the unborn child becomes more and more undeniable, how will our culture respond? Americans tend to think of themselves as a compassionate people, caring for their fellow humans. But any culture that seeks to protect human life outside the womb cannot rightfully ignore the innocent human life inside the womb. Not only is this common sense, it is biblical.
Abortion is evil because it destroys human life. It must be stopped. In a civilized society, the strong are held responsible by God to help the weak and the government is ordained by God to protect human life, especially human life that cannot protect itself. If any civilization does not respect the obligation to protect innocent life, it doesn’t qualify as “civilized.”
When does learning begin? As I explain in the talk I gave at TED, learning starts much earlier than many of us would have imagined: in the womb.
I was surprised as anyone when I first encountered this notion. I’m a science writer, and my job is to trawl the murky depths of the academic journals, looking for something shiny and new — a sparkling idea that catches my eye in the gloom.
For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother’s womb.