This U.S. Department of Health and Human Services proclaims life begins at conception.
How dare they! The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services identified which Americans it is working to protect. The cabinet-level department updates its strategic plan every four years, and the new draft for 2018–2022 provides clarification concerning who it serves and protects: “Americans at every stage of life, beginning at conception” (emphasis added).
The proposed mission statement further explains its “dedication to serve all Americans from conception to natural death, but especially those individuals and populations facing or at high risk for economic and social well-being challenges, through effective human services” (emphasis added).
We see from this draft document that the Trump administration appears to have a healthy respect for human life – not leaving those in the womb unprotected. Nor does the plan leave a gap in protection for those whose lives would be viewed as inferior quality or less productive in the eyes of some.
Things are changing. To quote President Trump from the 2017 Values Voter Conference last weekend, “How times have changed, but you know what? Now they are changing back again.”
Abortion and assisted suicide are not given the perpetual green light according to this important federal document. And some are not at all happy about it.
Liberals see the specificity in the language as a frightening threat to the “reproductive rights” of American women. It didn’t take NARAL (National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League) long to label the draft as “an extremist anti-choice policy.”
A number of conservatives have publically praised the new language. For example, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) tweeted, “Each life is a gift from God. Encouraged to see @HHS recognize that life begins at conception.”
And Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ), co-chair of the Pro-Life Caucus and sponsor of H.R. 36, the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act that passed the House earlier this month, made a statement concerning the HHS language:
“It is vital our government’s definitions of terms correspond to reality. Therefore, I applaud the Trump Health and Human Services’s new strategic plan that defines life as beginning at conception, which any average high school biology student knows to be true.”
No one can argue that life begins at conception. While a small minority of OB/GYN’s argue that pregnancy begins when the embryo adheres to the uterus (a day or so after its formation), it is scientifically obvious that a new life is created at the point of fertilization (conception).
But science isn’t really the issue at hand. Rather, stating the truth is the problem for many. With truth comes accountability. If it is wrong to take an innocent life, then abortion is wrong. If abortion is wrong, then it should be illegal. If abortion is illegal, then that changes everything. Many want the “freedom” to live sexually deviant lives without the responsibilities that accompany it.
And this blaring inconsistency isn’t only “on the left” as we would like to believe. While most Christians claim a pro-life position, we should ask what that “pro-life” label actually represents.
George Barna’s organization, the American Culture and Faith Institute, surveyed 1,100 adults in June 2017 concerning their position on abortion. One quarter of self-identified pro-lifers said abortions should be legal if the in utero baby is less than one month old. And nearly one in four pro-lifers (23%) contends that abortions should be legal in all or most circumstances.
“In spite of the fact that they call themselves ‘pro-life,’” explained Barna, “[and] they say that they wouldn’t have an abortion, or advise somebody to have an abortion, they think that everybody should have the right to choose.”
Three out of ten adults (29%) believe life starts at conception; yet, they support the legalization of abortion. Astonishingly, one-third of all adults (33%) believe that abortion is in fact murder. Yet, they also believe it should be legal.
I once participated in a radio program addressing the personhood of unborn babies. One guest caller made an impassioned argument that life does not begin until the baby moves through the birth canal and takes his or her first breath of air. We debated for a while, and in the end, she said it all depends on whether or not the mother wants the baby. If wanted, then according to her example, a 5-month-old in utero child should be protected. And her statement was made with no discernable embarrassment or shame.
Life does begin at the moment of conception – it is undeniable. Knowing the truth is one thing. But living lives in proper response to that truth is quite another.