Not Just a Blob of Cells

When I was nine years old, my little brother Tony was born, but I got to know him long before his birth on October 10, 2000.  Months earlier, I caught a glimpse of him for the first time, when I saw my growing little brother in a black and white sonogram picture.

Months before his birth, I could feel nothing but love for him.  I felt an eternal connection with him long before I held him in my arms.  By witnessing such purity in a child yet unscathed by the turbulent world, it was impossible not to see a glimmer of hope for the future.  In a world that seems increasingly backward and hopeless, it’s nice to know that untainted goodness and innocence are still possible.

However, as long as abortion exists in our society, such hope is all too often snuffed out.  My brother is now a happy (and often annoying) 11-year-old, but not all children get the chance to experience the world and all of its joys.  Abortion not only stops a beating heart; it ends a fragile human life. Pro-choice advocates often argue that the child inside its mother’s womb is only a “blob of cells,” but this is merely a ploy to dehumanize the human being and justify murder.

A unique human being exists from the moment of conception.  Immediately after the egg is fertilized, the child takes on its own gender and chromosomes — 23 from mom and 23 from dad.  The embryo immediately begins to grow and divide rapidly.  The child cannot merely be “part” of a woman’s body, for his or her genetic structure is completely different.  After only 21 days have passed, the child has a heartbeat and distinct organs begin to form.  Before the child is 2 months from conception, he or she is able to move on his or her own.

Most abortions occur before the 13th week of gestation (during the first trimester), but long before that time, the child has displayed complex, unique development.  In order to make evident the humanity of a developing child, pro-life activists have long pushed for laws requiring abortion providers to perform a sonogram on patients requesting an abortion.  Recently, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in Texas upheld a law that would require abortion providers perform an sonogram on women before proceeding with the abortion.  The law also requires that the provider make available an audible heartbeat and verbal descriptions of the child in the sonogram.

An article in the Houston Chronicle said that this law encompasses, “a practice with no medical necessity but a clear intent to shame a woman out of proceeding with an abortion.” First off, doctors should ensure that their patients are fully informed before undergoing a medical procedure. If that includes informing the woman that the “blob of cells” in her uterus has a beating heart and developing organ systems.  Then, those facts must be relayed before the procedure occurs.  Additionally, if the growing child is merely a “blob of cells,” what is so shaming about a sonogram?  Sonograms are not intrusive and take no more than a few minutes to complete.  Cancer patients are shown images of their malignancies before surgery, why should pregnant women be any different?

However, pregnant women are different. What’s inside a pregnant woman’s womb is not a malignancy or “blob of cells”; it is a growing human being.  Such humanity is often clear in sonogram images or amid sounds of a fetus’ beating heart.  The Texas law merely plans to give a voice and presence to the voiceless.  “Shame” from a sonogram comes not from the procedure itself, but from the knowledge revealed through it.

A mother who hears her child’s beating heart or sees him or her on a sonogram picture will witness first-hand the small human in their womb.  The “shame” comes from realizing that abortion will stop that beating heart and destroy the life it belongs to.  The knowledge that is gained through viewing sonogram pictures or hearing a beating heart “humanizes” the child.  Many pro-choice arguments do the exact opposite.

Behind the guise of “freedom of choice” abortion arguments lies an implicit attempt at dehumanization.  Abortions are “easier” when you ignore the humanity of the developing child.  Convincing yourself that the “blob of cells” in your womb is nothing more than a tumor eases guilt over taking human life; at least for a while.  Declare a developing child “less than a person,” and he or she is not entitled to any rights, most importantly the right to life.  Perhaps Ronald Reagan said it best when he stated,

“We cannot diminish the value of one category of human life — the unborn — without diminishing the value of all human life.”

If we cannot protect the most innocent lives in our nation, we are a people with a degrading valuation of life itself.  Every time I look at my little brother, I’m reminded how precious the gift of life really is.  There was never a time when my little brother, or any human being for that matter, was “less than” a human being.  From womb to tomb, life is a precious gift; one that should be protected to the fullest extent of the law.

Amy Lutz :: Saint Louis University :: Saint Louis, Missouri :: @AmyLutz4

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Comments

  1. Thank you for writing this beautiful piece. I am 100% sure that if America valued LIFE above all things we wouldn’t be in such a fragile state these days.
    You are a talented writer, keep on keepin’ on.

  2. Florence Kline Yaffe says:

    How I wish that America did value life above all things. It is simply not true.
    We go to war and kill pregnant women, babies, and children. We have a death
    penalty which is revenge rather than rehabilitation. Many Americans suffer from illnesses and/or die prematurely because they cannot afford medical care (but we have money for bombs and guns). American children are starving and receive sub-standard education.
    Thousands of people are homeless. Many water sources are polluted causing
    cancer and other illnesses so a few can profit well. When Jesus said, “Whatsoever
    ye do unto the least of my brethren, you do unto me,” he was surely including those
    already born. Where is our compassion, our sense of connection with all other human
    beings? We have forgotten that we are all God’s children. America will return to its
    greatness only when it remembers this, only when it remembers that we are our
    brother’s keeper.

  3. Florence Kline Yaffe says:

    OOPS! I was distracted and did not say exactly what I meant. My apologies.
    I agree that American does not value life. But it is not enough to value the life
    of the unborn. ALL life is precious.

  4. Great piece Amy!

  5. Great article, Amy! I totally agree with the points you raised about the problems of abortion vs pro-life.

  6. 2alangroves says:

    Great job at getting to the HEART of the issue -calling out the Left for dehumanizing and devaluing the sanctity of life.

  7. angelamorabito says:

    Amy, this is beautiful! Sometimes I think the best people on earth are little kids – there is so much we can learn from them.

  8. One’s personal connection to a future child due to familial relations is different than a connection one has in general as a woman carrying a child that she is not attached to because she does not feel she is ready to be a parent in any sense.
    However, as long as abortion exists in our society, such hope is all too often snuffed out. My brother is now a happy (and often annoying) 11-year-old, but not all children get the chance to experience the world and all of its joys. Abortion not only stops a beating heart; it ends a fragile human life. Pro-choice advocates often argue that the child inside its mother’s womb is only a “blob of cells,” but this is merely a ploy to dehumanize the human being and justify murder.

    A blastocyst is a blob of cells, even if it is also genetically unique. And just because something has a heartbeat should not make it considered as a person, but something that can be protected under consideration of an individual’s connection to the embryo. Viability is a reasonable consideration the state has to consider as to whether it has a vested interest in protecting the life as an individual and not something tantamount to a parasite in a mitigated sense that it is unable to survive apart from the host, the mother, at all.

    One does not have to ignore the humanity of something in order to also recognize that there are circumstances that necessitate the taking of human life for the advancement of present life. We engage in unilateral attacks on other countries to try to save them, we execute people in order to preserve other lives and we abort nonviable embryos and fetuses to allow a woman to determine whether she is mature and financially stable enough to be a mother in the future to better provide for those children. Only the first two create contradictions, not the first. The non aggression principle makes sense even in the context of pacifism except if it is especially extreme and executions do not have any evidence to support them being a real deterrent to criminals.

    If you protect life by violating other constitutional principles or even ethical principles we hold to be self evident, how are we being consistent in the slightest or adhering to the law as a whole? Focusing purely on justice as opposed to compassion neglects the value of the latter. Abortion is not a matter of trotting out a cause for justice, it is valuing liberty.

  9. I cannot think of a situation where a woman would abort a child out of love. Fear is the reason for abortion. The child might be retarded, I can’t afford it right now ,my boyfriend might leave me if I don’t abort …. are a few examples. [ Pregnancy from rape is a rarity and even in that situation abortion is an act of fear.] A woman that loves herself is not stupid enough to spread her legs without having prepared for the outcome.
    The human body is just a blob of the elements oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, calcium, and phosphorus with a heartbeat. It is not viable without water sunlight and nutrients. One might even consider it a parasite on the planet. The capacity to love makes that body cogent. The time for a woman to make a “choice” is when she decides weather or not to spread her legs.

  10. Not everyone is concerned with birth defects necessarily, even if the technology exists to detect them.

    Fiscal concerns are not a matter purely of fear, but reasoned concern. You don’t want to have a child die of malnutrition months after it’s born, do you? That’s more torturous than many abortion procedures when you conceive of it.

    And someone coercing you to get an abortion is exactly why pro choice positions can support options of abortion, adoption and acceptance of parenthood. The person makes an informed choice without pressure from outside, such as parents or significant others, both of which can unduly influence the person into making a decision they may not have made in the absence of that societal stigmatization of keeping the child, giving it away or aborting, all of which can be perceived as bad in some sense

    Abortion is an act of liberation from the rapist when you abort something that isn’t even remotely viable and, while potentially wanted by someone, should not be forced upon someone to gestate to term. If the person chooses so, I have no issue, but they should not be pressured one way or the other. If you truly value liberty as a conservative in any sense of the term, including classical liberal, then why are you suddenly trying to take it into your own hands or even imply that the government or even citizens have any right to force someone to remain pregnant when they are not obligated to?

    I wouldn’t deny that we are a collaboration and conglomeration of chemical elements in a bio-organic structure that originated in natural processes of reproduction, including fertilization and gestation. But I don’t think we require sunlight, though water and nutrients are a definite yes, especially water (since we dehydrate in about 3 days without water, whereas we can survive fir around 2 weeks or so without food, though I could be wrong on that). Parasites can only survive by leeching, but harvesting the earth’s resources that are renewable is not even close to leeching in any sense, though mining and such would be a compelling argument for being parasitic in a sense.

    I fail to see how love and cogency are relevant to the abortion debate except when we are concerned with relative viability and something close to personhood of a sufficiently developed fetus. Love is only relevant if the person in question is genuinely feeling love for a zygote instead of infatuation based on an initial sentiment fostered by an anti abortion sub culture that exists virtually anywhere in the world alongside ones that advocate abortion rights, but don’t claim abortion should be used as birth control by any means.

    One can choose to have responsible or irresponsible sex just as much as you can choose to abstain or participate in sex to begin with. Neglecting that is ironic when, as a conservative, one would jump to speak about personal responsibility in any other situation, such as economics, but apparently not in terms of a moral and social issue of sexual behavior, which, as something of a moderate, I can still agree is a good platform to start with: better sex education for teenagers, not just abstinence only, which clearly didn’t work for my own high school class, let alone our generation.

  11. If God intended sex to be solely about the production of an offspring, women would get pregnant every time.

  12. Son, I am sure your arguments are convincing enough to get into someone’s panties. Of course you fail to see how love is relevant to abortion. Spin it however you will it it is a fear based energy that causes a woman to abort. Everything is about energy and fear is a negative one that limits the abilities of it’s host.

    Michelle, “”God’s”” intentions are that we have free will. We have the choice to serve love or fear.

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