Ten thousand reasons to celebrate
Why are so many in the media saddened by birth of new babies?
The tone of the CNN headline was gloomy. “Under strict abortion law, Texas had nearly 10,000 more births than expected in the last nine months.” My response to this news was delight. Some sources in the CNN report seemed far less delighted.
Immediately, a flood of cherub-faced, chubby-legged babies sprang to my mind. A wrinkly newborn asleep on your chest is one of life’s greatest pleasures. A smiling 6-month-old activates joy in even the grumpiest of old men. A 9-month-old scooting across the floor, beaming up at you in pride, at least momentarily erases any stresses of the day.
Babies are essential reminders of God’s enduring promises to us: new life, fresh hope. Their very existence is a demonstration of enduring and sacrificial love.
On social media, a steady stream of “pregnancy announcement” videos regularly go viral—women surprising a spouse or parents with the news of a little one on the way. The palpable happiness at the embodied reality of new life taking shape in the womb is evident and contagious. Fathers shed tears, grandmothers instinctively place a hand on their daughter’s still-flat tummies, and friends erupt in joyous “congrats.” These videos are shared by millions and you might just find yourself tearing up for the joys of strangers on the internet.
This is because we all know what a baby is and where their lives begin. We mourn for the woman who miscarries her child, not only for her sadness but because a life has ended. A child’s value is not determined by how wanted or convenient they are, but by their inherent worth as an image bearer of the Creator.
And as it turns out, overturning Roe v. Wade one year ago did exactly what proponents were hoping it would: it saved lives. Using statistical modeling, John Hopkins University researchers found that abortion restrictions make a world of difference for the unborn.
Few would publicly decry 10,000 new babies as a net negative, but some are shameless. In response to the report, one representative from the Bloomberg School’s Department of Population, Family and Reproductive Health lamented the “real implications” abortion bans have on “birthing people,” forcing them to continue “unwanted or unsafe pregnancies.”
“Unsafe” pregnancies are where pro-choice activists primarily focus these days. In reality, the vast majority of pregnancies that end in abortion are not unsafe. Rather, women choose abortion for personal, financial, or relational reasons. It’s common these days for pro-choice advocates to categorize all pregnancy as “unsafe.”
While every pregnancy has risks, the process of bearing and birthing babies is precisely what female bodies were made for. In modern, secular culture, however, it’s been deemed a curse rectified only by the option to legally and shamelessly rid ourselves of unwanted offspring.
For all the progressive cries that “women will die” because Roe v. Wade was overturned, I found no reported deaths in the last year. When I researched this question, the top result was a story about a woman in Ireland who died in 2012.
So, zero women have died and at least 10,000 babies have lived in the state of Texas alone. If a woman had died in this way, it would have been headline news for six months and at the top of every Google search.
The most heartbreaking stories the media does cover are women who received fatal diagnoses for their very wanted babies in the womb. These narratives still don’t justify a “need” for legal abortion. In one instance, a woman’s baby was diagnosed with anencephaly, but she was unable to get an abortion due to restrictions. Instead, her pregnancy continued and she gave birth at 33 weeks to a daughter who lived for a few hours. It’s a devastating situation, but all human life deserves the dignity of legal protection, not to mention the love and comfort this little one got by remaining in the loving body and arms of her mother until natural death.
In an ethical and humane world, no human beings are more equal than others. As Ryan Anderson and Alexandra DeSanctis write, past societies “classified some humans as non-persons based on race or religion” and today we do the same with another group, dehumanizing them “based on age, size, location or stage of development.”
We can all recognize the reality of unimaginable pain borne by parents who experience a devastating prenatal diagnosis. But the medical community has coached women to turn for abortion when there is absolutely no medical need for one. The Hippocratic Oath states “First, do no harm.” In these rare and desperate situations, the answer is not to harm a child with abortion, but to compassionately care for both mother and baby until birth and death.
In the meantime, ten thousand babies are alive today thanks to life-saving pro-life laws. There you go, and CNN’s headline unavoidably revealed the good news.
These daily articles have become part of my steady diet. —BarbaraSign up to receive the WORLD Opinions email newsletter each weekday for sound commentary from trusted voices.