Thursday, October 7, 2010

Do Parents “Own” Unborn Children?

In my experience, a lot of arguments in favor of abortion rights boil down to the mother “owning” her unborn child.  Sure, no one uses those words but phrases like “it’s her body, she can do what she wants with it” and “it’s her choice” mean pretty much the same thing; the mother has the authority to choose what to do with the unborn baby.  She owns it.

This idea isn’t limited to abortion either.  The guy who invented invetro fertilization (IVF) was given a Nobel prize this year.  Frankly the Nobel folks lost all credibility with me when they gave a “Peace” prize to a president who had done little to nothing to end the two wars his country was waging; but I digress.  The Vatican has condemned this award on the grounds that IVF has turned human life (embryos) into a commodity that can be bought, sold, experimented upon, and discarded.  Again, the theme of “owning” the child.

This shows a pretty significant misunderstanding of the human role in the creation of life.  As we saw yesterday here on this blog, Jesus tells us to call no one on earth “father” because we have only one father who is in heaven.  The reason is that this father God gives all life; we don’t.

If you’ve ever conceived a child then you ought to know that you didn’t make anything.  The human role in the process isn’t to create.  At its roots the human involvement is more a delivery system than anything else.  We put two things that were created by God in a situation where they can smash into each other and then God creates the life.  I'm not saying that parents can be replaced by artificial methods of conception, God planned life to be created a particular way and we have no authority to fiddle with that, all I'm trying to do is show what our role in the process actually is.

I’m sure this will rub some people the wrong way but this is why the Church has always said kids are a gift from God (you don’t give yourself gifts; they are received from someone else) and why it says we are stewards of our children (stewards do not own; they protect and guard but the person or thing belongs to another.  In this case they belong to God).  Don’t be upset that the human aspect isn’t all that grand, instead be happy that we’re involved at all!  If we’re realistic, it’s obvious that God could have designed it differently.  Here’s an analogy:

Imagine a child needs to bring cupcakes to school the next day.  The child’s mother will likely buy the ingredients, prepare the bowls, pre-heat the oven, and then may call the child over to help mix everything together and pour the batter into the cupcake tins.  The parent will likely have to hold the child’s hand, encourage the child, and be present through the whole process.  The parent does not need the child at all; in fact in some ways it’d be easier for the parent to just do it alone.  However, when the cupcakes are done what does the child say?

I made those cupcakes.

The little participation the child is given is enough for forge a connection; to make the child feel responsible for them and parenting is the same way.  If God delivered babies via stork the receiving parents wouldn’t be as inclined to sacrifice so much for them.  Because God allows us to participate in the creation process we develop a family bond with our children which can lead us to do whatever it takes to keep them safe and to give them the best opportunities to grow.

Clearly this is an over-simplification of our role in the process but I do so to point out the difference between the common “my baby” notion and the “God’s baby” mentality?  If the baby belongs to me then I can do with it what I want but if it belongs to God then I cannot.  I must do with it what God wants me to do; which is provide it life, teach about Him, and to love the little person even if it causes sacrifice and pain.

I probably sound like a high and mighty soap-boxer but I really believe that until we get past this notion of owning our unborn children we can pass all the abortion laws we want but it will never go away.

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