You will no doubt have heard about the so-called miracle baby – Amillia Sonja Taylor – who was born at only 22 weeks in Miami last November. What doctors have been able to do has been amazing and inspiring. The story is everywhere, but here is the CNN latest. The photos are just extraordinary. In case you’ve not seen them, here she is in all her glory soon after her birth. Now I am very nervous of wading in and jumping on bandwagons (but then perhaps that’s what blogging is all about). But when i see these pictures i can’t help but see a relevance for one of the most divisive ethical debates: abortion.
It is such a difficult issue and i am all too aware of the complexities involved, ethically, pastorally and even politically (especially on the other side of the Atlantic). And i have a lot of sympathy for one journalist quoted by Philip Yancey in What’s So Amazing About Grace?
Andy Rooney, commentator on the 60 Minutes television show, once said, ‘I’ve decided that I’m against abortion. I think it’s murder. But i have a dilemma in that i much prefer the pro-choice to the pro-life people. I’d much rather eat dinner with a group of the former.’ It matters little who Andy Rooney dines with, but it matters a lot whether Andy Rooney misses encountering the grace of God from Christians in all their pro-life zeal.
It’s just that (as far as I understand – please correct me if i’ve got this wrong) abortion is legal in this country up to 28 weeks. Wikipedia has a helpful summary of the situation. Sure, there are issues of viability and the necessity of medical intervention and support after such a premature birth. But this is still very much a life! No less a life in fact than an adult on extensive life-support after a car crash, surely?
An interesting story to end on for now:
A class of medical students was debating the ethics of abortion. The Consultant presented a case study: a father who had syphillis and a mother who had TB. They had 5 children – the 1st was blind, the 2nd died, the 3rd was deaf and dumb, the 4th had TB. The mother became pregnant for the 5th time. The Consultant asked, “Should this child be aborted?” Students unanimously agreed that the pregnancy should be terminated.
To which the consultant replied: “Congratulations, ladies and gentlemen – you have just murdered Beethoven!”