How Science and Faith Reveal the Truth about Abortion

fetus Views of a Fetus in the Womb, c. 1510-12, source: http://www.drawingsofleonardo.org/

Science and faith aren’t incompatible, as popular opinion would have us believe. Faith and science both search for the truth about humanity and the world around us. When we have problems reconciling the two, it’s likely because our search for the truth has been infected by politics. By politics, I mean a political agenda that has already decided the answer, and is now looking for evidence to support it.

Authenticity means being willing to be vulnerable and accept the truth, even if it is difficult to swallow. Because God is the ultimate Truth, we should have no fear in accepting the truth. Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” His way is true, and it will lead us to life.

For it was you who formed my inward parts;

you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

Wonderful are your works;

that I know very well.

My frame was not hidden from you,

when I was being made in secret,

intricately woven in the depths of the earth.

Your eyes beheld my unformed substance.

In your book were written

all the days that were formed for me,

when none of them as yet existed.

Psalm 139: 13-16

 

God made you. God loves you. God has a plan for you.

Our faith teaches this. We know this is true because we believe the scriptures, the Church, and sacred tradition tell us this is true.

Science teaches us how things work, and knowing how things work can help our faith grow. For example, science has proven that the unborn child is a unique person, with separate DNA, fingerprints, and blood type from the parents. Science allows us to peer into the womb with ever greater clarity, making clear the words from Psalm 139:“…you knit me together in my mother’s womb”.  Science allows doctors to save premature babies who are born months early, weighing a mere 8.6 ounces! Science gives doctors the ability to perform surgery on children still in the womb. And now we have even more scientific proof that the unborn child is a unique human being. Researchers have growing evidence that fetal cells from the unborn child enter the mother’s body during pregnancy and stay there, even decades after birth. These fetal cells actually help the mother’s body heal after pregnancy and can help her organs recover if they suffer damage. These fetal cells can also protect her from disease.

Our faith gives us the opportunity to reflect on science when we consider how the Blessed Mother carried Jesus in her womb for nine months and how tiny unborn Jesus gave some of his cells to his mother.  Science tells us that Mary, the mother of Jesus, carried with her a little bit of Jesus, as every mother carries with her a little bit of her children, both spiritually, and physically!

Some well-intentioned people, even Catholics, say, “I would never have an abortion, but I don’t believe a woman should be told what to do with her body.” Let’s remind them of the science. The unborn child is not part of the woman’s body, despite living in her body for nine months. Her body provides shelter and nutrients for the developing child, who has a unique never-to-be-repeated identity. The unwanted pregnancy may seem to the mother as if her body has been invaded by a foreign refugee. To these women we need to offer compassion. We need to let them know there are support networks for them and people who will walk with them during these nine months. We need to remind them they are valued by God; they have dignity; they are loved. We need to remind them that this sacrifice they are making, by nurturing an unborn human being for nine months, is a valuable sacrifice because they are valuable.

The Sisters of Life have been doing this grace-filled ministry since 1991. Additionally, there are countless lay people across the nation who have also dedicated their lives to helping women in crisis pregnancies. If you or someone you know is in a crisis pregnancy, I urge you to reach out for help. You are not alone.

Science and faith both reveal the truth about abortion. And the truth is, abortion is the intentional killing of a unique human being, created in the image of God, formed in the womb of a woman, loved and planned since the beginning of time.

God made you. God loves you. God has a plan for you.

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