Fear of Fetuses

There's a new Barbie doll look-alike that's a little different from the glamorous fashion doll. This one's called Mommy-to-Be Doll, and she's pregnant. Little girls can lift off her tummy and take out a perfectly formed plastic baby. It's a sign that the baby in the womb is becoming part of our everyday culture. And some people are not very happy about it. Until a few years ago, the fetus was known only second-hand, through medical diagrams. But today the fetus is as close as an ultrasound video. Pregnant couples can see their baby on ultrasound before it's born, sucking its thumb and waving its little hands. With fiber optics, we can take actual photographs in the uterus as well. Life magazine ran a 16-page article on "How Life Begins," replete with full-color photographs. Advances in medical technology even allow doctors to perform surgery on the fetus. They remove it from the womb, operate on it, then tuck it back inside. Suddenly, the baby in the womb has become a visible presence in our lives. And, as I said earlier, that's making some people very nervous. A recent article in Glamour magazine asked peevishly, "Why Are We Romanticizing the Fetus?" The author, Katha Pollitt, grumbles that all this hoopla over the fetus is changing our view of women. It's putting the fetus on center stage, she says, and pushing mothers into the background. In medical terminology the mother isn't even a person anymore, Pollitt complains, she's the "maternal environment." All this new technology is diminishing "the significance of the woman's private experience." Well, whenever you hear someone emphasizing women over their babies, you can be pretty sure what's really on their minds is abortion. And sure enough, that's what's bothering Katha Pollitt. She's worried that as modern medicine makes the fetus more real to us, we'll be less inclined to hand the abortion decision over exclusively to women. But notice how contradictory this makes the pro-abortionists' rhetoric. Their favorite charge against pro-lifers is that we are backward and reactionary. For example, in the controversy over RU-486 (the abortion pill), they accuse pro-lifers of holding back the progress of science and medicine. But when it comes to science and medicine for the fetus, suddenly the shoe is on the other foot. People like Katha Pollitt don't like technology that makes the baby in the womb more visible, more real to people. They know abortion depends on giving women complete and absolute priority over the baby. So don't be intimidated if people call you backward or anti-science because you're pro-life. We're not the ones complaining about ultrasound. We're not the ones complaining about fiber optic photography or fetal surgery. No, it's pro-abortionists who are nervous about all this new technology. They want the baby in the womb to stay hidden and invisible—out of sight. Where it's so much easier to quietly get rid of.      


Chuck Colson


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