“I can still remember that sound as if I was listening to it now. It pierced my heart when I heard it for the first time on September 26, 2006. It resonated in my ears and took hold of my heart like few things can. This Monday I get to hear that sound for the fourth time. A little nervous with anticipation, this day is one of the most exciting in the life of this husband and father. I get to hear the heartbeat of our child as he (or maybe she?) grows within the womb of my wife.
Though Cindy and I have known we are pregnant with our fourth kiddo since August 22, this is the first opportunity I will get to see the little one on the ultrasound screen, to hear that tiny heart beat, and yes, to find out if it’s a boy or girl.
The heartbeat I will hear resounds from a heart that began forming two or three weeks after conception. By the fifth week it started to beat and pump blood through much of the body. When we hear it, twenty weeks into Cindy’s pregnancy, his or her tiny heart will beat at roughly twice the rate of my wife’s – a rate that was jarring and even frightening when I first heard Joseph’s heart beat five years ago. I remember tears welling up in my eyes as I wondered aloud, how could something so tiny and so young beat so quickly, with
I’d been dwelling upon this sound and these memories when I encountered the opening remarks from Ann Furedi at the “Battle of Ideas” meeting in theUnited Kingdom. Furedi, CEO of the largest abortion provider in theUK, stated, “I accept that abortion stops a beating heart and I accept that abortion ends a potential human life, even in the very earliest weeks of pregnancy”
It hurts to read such calloused words. I appreciate that she is straightforward, but I cannot help but believe that if more people heard or saw that heart beat, if more people knew that abortion often stops a beating heart, more people would be pro-life and fewer would accept abortion. More would unconditionally say as God did to his childIsrael, “you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you” (cf. Isaiah 43:4).
Furedi’s quote, however, uses the dehumanizing phrase often employed by supporters of abortion, “potential human life.” On the contrary, that which is in the womb is a human being in the embryonic or fetal stage and a human life with great potential.
“Potential human lives” do not have a beating heart, the full human genome, perfectly formed fingers, nervous systems and genitalia, and do not develop and grow as do all human beings – toward maturity of body in an organized way. This is a scientific fact – we do not have to rely upon faith to know that this human life with potential is just that – a human being with full dignity and deserving of great respect.
At the same time, Scripture does point to this scientific truth in the beautiful passage from the first chapter of Jeremiah that we are so familiar with – “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”
Every human being, including every child currently in the body of his or her mother is known by God and precious in His sight. Though much about our new child remains a mystery to Cindy and I, God knows what is hidden to us. God knows whether this little one is a boy or girl. This was written into his or her genetic code since the first moment of existence. Even the genitalia is evident by nine to twelve weeks of gestation and thanks to the marvels of modern technology what has been hidden from our eyes will soon be revealed.
We will bring home the first photos from the ultrasound and, in what seems like a new American tradition, proudly display the first images of our son or daughter on the refrigerator. And of course, we will start the great name debate.
Though amazing, such pictures simply cannot capture the miracle that is a new life. The psalmist captured it so well:
For thou didst form my inward parts, though didst knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise thee, for thou art fearful and wonderful. Wonderful are thy works! Though knowest me right well; my frame was not hidden from thee, when I was being made in secret, intricately wrought in the depths of the earth. (Psalm 139:13) …”
Hearing my child’s heartbeat for the first time
More:===> If this topic is of interest to you, I suggest you secure a copy of the book I recently published entitled: From Pro-life to Pro-choice: The Dramatic Shift in Seventh-day Adventists’ Attitudes Towards Abortion from the printer. Here is the link: http://lulu.com. You will need to type my name, Nic Samojluk, in the blank “Search” space to access my book’s web page.