When a woman is
pregnant, people often say she is "expecting a
child" or is "going to have a baby" or is "going to
be a mother." We all use these expressions from
force of habit, and using them has no reflection on
the strength of our pro-life convictions.
phrases do not accurately describe what is
happening, and in a subtle way, contradict the
A woman who is
pregnant is not "expecting" a child. She already has
one. The child exists, is living and growing in her
womb. She is not about to bring the child "into the
world." The child is already in the world. The
mother's womb is as much in the world as the mother
The pregnant woman is
not "going to be" a mother. She already is a mother.
By saying she is "going to be" a mother, we
inadvertently reinforce the notion that motherhood
begins at birth. This reinforces the idea that the
child really is a child only at birth.
A pregnant woman is
fully a mother. She does not have "half" a child, or
a child "on the way." ("On the way" from where?) The
child is here, already in the world, fully unique
and in possession of the same dignity as every other
If our language
reflects this reality, we will help the world to
understand that children in the womb are indeed
members of the human family --- right here and now!
People will then be
able to ask the right question about abortion.
The reasons many give
in support of abortion, and the reasons many obtain
abortions, focus on the question, "Should she have
another child?" Issues such as partner support,
maturity, and resources are discussed. When we say
"no abortion," they hear us saying, "Have a child no
matter what." They conclude we are unrealistic or
insensitive to the real-life plight of the woman.
But the question here
is not, "Should she have another child?" Our
answer to that question can sometimes be "no." There
can be circumstances---medical, financial, and
social---in which a person should not have another
If, however, a woman
is pregnant, she already has a child. There
is no longer a question about whether this child
will come into existence. The only honest question
or choice left at this point is, "Will this child be
cared for or will this child be killed?" While we
can sometimes say that circumstances dictate not
having another child, we can never say that
circumstances dictate killing a child.
distinguish the question of "having a child" from
"killing a child you have," they will not even begin
honestly evaluating abortion, and will argue past
We are in fact very
sensitive to circumstances such as immaturity, or
lack of resources to raise a child. Were the child
born, however, would the problems of immaturity or
lack of resources disappear the day after birth? Yet
on that day, just about everyone can see that
killing the child is not justified. What makes
abortion different? What is the difference between
killing the child before or after birth to solve the
problems? It's the same woman, the same problems,
the same child. There is no difference in reality.
There is only a different question.