A “miracle baby” made the news recently. Her name is Baby Saybie, and she became newsworthy in December of last year for being, at one-half a pound (about the weight of an apple), the tiniest baby ever to survive (according to the Tiniest Baby Registry, maintained by the University of Iowa). The pregnancy was endangering Baby Saybie’s mother’s life, and so the mother consented to a cesarean section. Doctors told Baby Saybie’s father that he would have about an hour with his tiny daughter before she passed away.
But Saybie turned out to have more moxie than anyone anticipated. Five months later she left the hospital in San Diego and is now a thriving five-pound infant.
The success story did not happen on its own. According to news reports, this tiny person required a life support team and a natonatologist (Dr. Paul Wozniak) who worked to stabilize Saybie before they could later transfer her to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Another “team of experts” then cared for her there.
To my way of thinking, this is as it should be. We should engage every resource available to make sure that every baby has a chance at survival. Baby Saybie’s story says that it is worth the effort.
Now the hypocrisy.
In 2015, the most recent year for which I could find statistics, there were 638,169 abortions performed in the U.S. Between 1970-2015 a total of 45,789,558 abortions were performed (figures obtained from Wikipedia). Planned Parenthood states on their website that, “Generally, in the U. S., abortion is an option … until 24 weeks.”
Baby Saybie was born at 23 weeks and continues as a viable human being.
I tend to see myself as residing comfortably left of center on just about all issues. The “peace with justice” approach makes sense to me and aligns not only with the Old Testament prophets, but also with what I hear Jesus teaching us. In most respects I would be considered “liberal” or “progressive.”
However, my liberal/progressive friends and I take separate roads when it comes to the abortion issue. I can’t get beyond the fact that the aborted babies are human beings, and, as such, are of inestimable worth to God who created us “a little lower than the angels” (Psalm 8.5). The fact that a baby can survive after only 23 weeks gestation should cause us to ask how we can justify aborting babies a week older than that.
To sharpen my thoughts a tad more: I’m probably as close to being totally anti-abortion as one can get without going the whole way. I do believe that in cases where the mother’s life is in danger, a conversation should take place with her doctor, her family, and her pastor (if she’s a church-goer) and, if it be the consensus of those closest to her that an abortion is the best option, then, regrettably, it would be justified. This is also in keeping with the belief of my denomination, The United Methodist Church.
I understand where abortion supporters are coming from with the arguments having to do with the right of a woman to control her own body, but I also believe someone has to speak for those with no voice, otherwise those with a voice have a distinct, unfair advantage.
I think about that 45 million-plus figure accounting for how many abortions were performed in that 45 year period between 1970 – 2015 (more than a million a year!). That’s more than the populations of California and Missouri combined! It’s makes my brain numb to consider how much talent will never be realized because it was never given a chance to be born and grow.
I end with a story I remember hearing many years ago. Because of the context of this column, you’ll guess the punch line before you get to it, but it’s worth considering nonetheless: A devoted Christian once prayed, “Lord, the world is in such a tragic condition. Why don’t you send us someone to solve our problems?” to which God answered, “I do, but you keep aborting them.”