Words matter. Listen.

What are you? A human being, for sure. Male or female? Man, woman…boy, girl? Are you a senior citizen, a teenager, a middle-ager?

We are all members of the human race, but in different stages of life. We movebody proportions through them as we grow, looking very different in our final stage, if we live long enough, than we did in our initial one. A body that was once very small, smooth-skinned, slightly chubby, with a head one-quarter the size of its body, draws its last breath with a head one-eighth of a much larger body that has become wrinkled and worn.

And as we age and grow, some identifiers stay with us….human, female, Caucasian. Others change…newborn, infant, toddler, preadolescent, teenager, adult. But we find the exact same thing if we track our growth from the moment of conception. Human, female, Caucasian…as a zygote, I was all of these. And many of you were too. Then, as we grew…embryo, fetus, and newborn. Baby. And from conception, a child of two other human beings.

I read a news story this morning about a study on unborn babies which gave evidence that they could hear very well while in the womb. And I found it interesting that in the very first sentence, the unborn subjects were referred to as babies, fetuses, and children. Interesting, because these days people are very careful about how they refer to a human being in utero, lest they compromise their defense of abortion if they are pro-choice. Or risk a warning from the PC police if they are pro-life. The fact that this news writer switched back and forth between baby and fetus when talking about the child in the womb, and then between baby and newborn or infant when referencing the child after birth, highlights the reality that being a fetus is a stage in a person’s life just as infancy, adolescence, or adulthood is.

The abortion rights lobby is working very hard to distinguish “fetus” from “baby” so as to somehow soften the horror of killing it. They would like us to believe that a fetus and a baby are mutually exclusive. One cannot be both at the same time. Common sense, and science, speak loudly against that. They need to promote the distinction because only then can they hope to defend their position that a fetus is expendable, and can morally be put to death for almost any reason.

A fetus is a hidden, but very human, preborn child. Innocent and defenseless; dependent on her mother to feed and protect her until….until birth? No…till much longer after birth. Being “viable” does not initiate humanity because an infant continues to be defenseless and dependent even though she can breathe on her own. And exiting the womb does not make a child suddenly human simply because he is no longer physically attached to and encased within his mother. It merely changes his location.

So what stage are you in now? Remember when you were a teenager? Probably. Do you remember when you were a fetus? Probably not. But it was a stage in your life just as adolescence was, when for a good part of it, you looked very different. Necessarily so. Necessarily so. But you were just as human then as you are now. Thank God your mother didn’t kill you.

How weak we have become when we cannot protect the smallest, most vulnerable among us. How weak indeed.

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. 1

1 Psalm 139:13