Formed in the Womb? It Makes No Sense

January 7, 2014 09:00 AM

In these days of connection to the world of instant messaging and, in some cases, immersion in it, it is right and proper to take a moment of reflection to ask yourself: Who am I? 

Are you a person who gives thoughtful consideration to those around you, even when it may be inconvenient?

Are you a person who sets aside a few moments every day just to be with your thoughts, hopes, and dreams?

Are you so busy staying connected that you have lost your perspective on the big picture?

These are interesting questions and each of us will respond in a different way because each of us has a story that is unique and unrepeatable. Since the beginning of time, there have never been two persons created who are exactly the same. 

So why is it that, amidst all the megabytes, ciphers, mathematical equations, and scientific breakthroughs, mankind is still unable to see the simple truth about who we are and enunciate that clearly? What is our problem? 

Well, it could be that the majority of us have been lulled into believing that clichés are easier to live with than hard facts, especially when it comes to the rest of those individuals out there who are part of the human race.

A person is unique because he is a person. And each individual began at the beginning, not at some arbitrary moment of time defined by a rhyming jingle or sloppy language.

Nobody, for example, began his life “in the womb.” In the Old Testament, Jeremiah wrote “Before I formed you in the womb” in reference to God’s words about His love of man, but Jeremiah did not give us a scientific lesson in human embryology. What he did do was tell us how much God loves us from the beginning of our existence. At that time Jeremiah understood that moment to be “in the womb.” 

Therefore it would be wrong to suggest that, just because the Old Testament uses the phrase “in the womb,” it must be scientifically accurate. It is not.

Nor would it be accurate to suggest that Catholic teaching related to the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary proves that life begins at “conception.” In fact, “In the Constitution Ineffabilis Deus of 8 December, 1854, Pius IX pronounced and defined that the Blessed Virgin Mary ‘in the first instance of her conception, by a singular privilege and grace granted by God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the human race, was preserved exempt from all stain of original sin.’” This declaration of Catholic doctrine applies uniquely to how the mother of God came to be; it does not suggest that the doctrine is a scientific statement of accuracy. Lest we forget, in 1854 most of what we know today about human embryology was not even suspected.

In getting back to the statement that life begins “in the womb,” we see that this is clearly not the case—nor has it ever been. Everybody had to begin as a single cell entity either at fertilization or asexual creation—meaning the creation of someone who is one of a pair of monozygotic twins or someone who is the result of scientific manipulation of the cells of others. Yet, no matter how your life began, you did not start it “in the womb.”

So why do we have people, even among pro-lifers, suggesting that, when we talk about the right to life, we are referring to human beings “from the womb to the tomb.” All such misrepresentations of the facts lead to more confusion, dissent, and disagreement among those striving to understand human dignity and its meaning.

If you are a person who gives thoughtful consideration to those around you, even when inconvenient, then be encouraged that your efforts to defend every human being from creation to death are appreciated. Your actions make you a person of great empathy for the needs and rights of others.

If you a person who sets aside a few moments every day just to be with your thoughts, hopes, and dreams, think about how much it would mean to those not yet born to have the same opportunity one day to take those moments for themselves.

But if you are so busy staying connected that you have lost your perspective on the big picture, now is the time to change things. For that big picture to be as rosy and loving as it should be, you are now invited to get involved defending the innocent from creation to death.

The life you save today may well save yours tomorrow.

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