By FR. MARVIN DEUTSCH
One day when I was giving a retreat in Minnesota, a lady came up to me with a problem. She said she had bats in her attic and didn’t know how to get rid of them. I suggested that she put a cat up there who would make short work of the bats. She said it was against the law because in Scott County bats are a protected species. She said they eat mosquitoes. But, I told her, the bats have no business in your attic. She finally hired a man to watch where the bats went out at dusk and then stuff up the holes so they could not get back.
And so I made the comment to her: “But if you were pregnant and wanted to kill the baby in your womb, then that would be perfectly legal.” Well, this lady is very pro-life and even has a sign in her yard stating when the heart of the fetus begins to beat.
We have thousands of regulations, apparently for the good of society, yet when it comes to something as marvelous and wonderful as a little human being created by God with a destiny of being born, living a life of the highest of God’s creatures on earth and with a destiny of union with the divine, countless numbers of people have no concern for his life.
It reminds me of chapter 7 in Mark’s Gospel. The Pharisees are accusing Jesus and His followers of not following the regulations of the Torah that state that it is necessary to cleanse yourself when you return from the market before eating. Jesus tells the Pharisees that they keep all these rules and customs, but have forsaken the Commandments of God. They were concerned abut many things, but not those most important. Jesus says to them that evil begins in the heart and its desires, not in external things.
One day we were having a hailstorm in Minnesota. The size of the hail was as big as golf balls and caused much damage to automobiles and other things like the siding of houses. Well, there was a mother bird, a killdeer, who had a nest on the ground. We could see her from the window of the house. She was sitting on her eggs and refused to move off the nest even though the hail was likely to kill her. The mother bird survived and so did the eggs. The bird was a mess after the storm, her feathers were all askew, but her well-being was not her priority — her babies were.
This is the instinct that animals follow, but not all animals, not the rational kind. Many go contrary to their God-given instincts because their selfishness blinds them to the reality within them.
I would like to say a few words about the marvel of a human being in the womb. It is really a great miracle that science has finally discovered.
Today, the discussion on whether the fetus in the early stages is a person and therefore a true human being has become irrelevant in the eyes of abortion advocates, another step in the slippery slope to total freedom from all restraints. What is important to them is the notion of rights, especially of women — rights over their own body, their future, and their lifestyle. The notion of morality or the rights of another human being within the womb do not enter into the equation.
Nevertheless, to get the discussion back on track, it is very important to show the humanity of the fetus in all stages as proved by science, one of the idols of our times.
Eventually, right reason must win out or the future of man will lead to its own destruction, a result of the culture of death as spoken of by Pope John Paul II. An eminent French geneticist, Dr. Jerome Lejeune, who discovered the chromosomal cause of Down syndrome, has proven beyond a doubt that a human being comes into existence at the moment of conception. To quote:
“Each one of us had a unique beginning, the moment of conception. When the 23 chromosomes carried by a sperm encounter the 23 chromosomes carried by the ovum, all the information necessary and sufficient to spell out the characteristics of a new human being is gathered in one place. This single cell, the zygote (a fertilized egg), spells out a unique personal constitution for this newly created human being, which has never occurred before and will never occur again. It is an entire novelty.
“The zygote contains the program of life. No other cell will ever contain as much information. This program is resident in the DNA of the chromosomes. There are 23 different pieces of the program carried by the spermatozoa and 23 different pieces carried by the ovum. In this single cell the entire constitution of a man is clearly and unequivocally spelled out, including arms, legs, nervous systems, sex, and so on. Upon inspection of the DNA, one can see the life code for each of these otherwise unobservable elements of the unique individual. The normal fertilized egg is the most knowledgeable cell of all known cells because it contains all the codes, maternal and eternal, for cellular differentiation” (The Concentration Can: When Does Human Life Begin? by Dr. Jerome Lejeune, pp. 30-34).
All human beings in the womb merit equal respect without regard for age, sex, weight, health, or color. One sole quality counts: being a member of our species. No one has brought himself (herself) into being. When a person comes to consciousness that he (she) exists, and whether he (she) realizes it or not, he (she) had nothing to do with where and when he (she) was born, his (her) race, circumstances, and so on. He (she) can claim no credit for his (her) existence or the gifts and qualities he (she) possesses.
Eventually every woman must come to the realization that the life in her womb is another human being equal to herself. She did not create this life. It was created in her, a life for which she is now responsible. She must realize as a rational person that she herself was created in exactly the same way: that her mother nurtured and protected her, or she would not be here, and so she must do the same.