Thank you for another excellent Nucleus. It’s always interesting, informative and provocative.
Referring to the article, ‘Dodging the elephant’ (Nucleus 2004; October:2-5), I can’t help but think that our efforts to be politically correct in the medical terminology we use to describe the unborn simply adds to muddled thinking on the issue.
It was interesting to underline the number of terms that were used in the article to describe the same individual within the womb, eg embryo, fetus, pregnancy, unborn baby, preterm baby and child. The same individual then becomes a neonate, infant or child within seconds of birth.
The secularists hit on a brilliant strategy when they artificially divided the uninterrupted process of in utero development into stages that they could then describe as embryo, fetus, preterm etc. In 35 years of obstetric practice I never had a woman walk into my antenatal clinic to discuss her fetus and never had to console a woman who had miscarried, over the loss of her fetus.
While definitions can be medically useful, they have also become a wonderful means of misleading politicians and general public alike, culminating in naïve statements such as that from David Steel, describing a 22-24 week baby as merely a ‘possibility’. Similarly, the mind boggles at the use of the term ‘termination of pregnancy’ to sanitise the unnatural ending of a baby’s life.
While the public at large continues to view the products of conception as ‘my baby’, would it not help reinforce this biblical way of thinking if we, as Christians, talked of the unborn as a ‘baby’, whatever the stage of its development (put the medical term in brackets if we must), even if it means risking the wrath of the secular medical establishment and others?
It might help the likes of David Steel to get a clearer understanding of what he is talking about. Thank God for 3-D ultrasound if it is going to aid in the education process.
Peter Armon FRCOG
CMF Overseas Support Secretary