Science Rises to Defend Sanctity of Life

January 23, 2013 Stan Moody Upon the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, it behooves both church and state, those perennial protagonists in the war over rights, to pause and reflect on how far we have come and where we now must go. Whereas repeal of Roe v. Wade has, until recently, been a war cry of the religious right, public opinion has changed. Recent Polling A recent poll indicates that 70% of the American public oppose overturning Roe v. Wade.1 The church, in its zeal to change hearts, has been losing ground. While pseudo theocracies from within the red state envelope have taken token stabs at shutting down abortion under the rubric of state's rights, it is becoming clear that abortion rights may have become a staple in American life. The state's interest is in protecting the rights of pregnant women and has managed successfully to do so through denying the personhood of the fetus. The church's interest is in defending a God it presumes to be personally and intimately engaged in the conception mystery, both by divine will and divine plan, regardless of the circumstances - rape, incest, lust or love. Nature vs. Reason The fight, then, has been one of ontology vs. phenomenology - nature vs. reason, a fight that was resolved in the 18th Century by the Declaration of Independence and codified by the Constitutional doctrine of separation of church and state. Divine providence cannot be legislatively affirmed, nor can reason be limited merely to the five senses. In their wisdom, the founders made theology the province of the church and reason the province of the state, leaving room for theologians and politicians to cross into both realms without encroaching on either. In the fight over abortion, reason entered the sacred realm of the church, and the church found itself defending an impotent god in the arena of politics. The focus for both was presumed to be a blob of inarticulate protoplasm that, for the church was mystically, fearfully and wonderfully made, while for the state was disposable protein. The United State Supreme Court, in its infinite finitude, ruled that life begins at birth, the ultimate poke in the eye of a Creator being. The church, on the other hand, rushed to the defense of the fertilized egg, throwing both the mother and her

Sarah Blackwill, "40 Years After Roe, A Shift in Public Opinion," The Daily Rundown, 22 Jan 2013 <>

rights under the proverbial bus in favor of the divine will of a God it failed to affirm through its love. Enter Science Science, that dispassionate and detached arbiter of truth and avowed enemy of things ontological, now comes to the defense of the mystery of life in a manner that could well raise informed responses to abortion by an enlightened public. It comes in the form of a study conducted by Alexander Tsiaras, The Beautiful and Efficient Anatomy of Pregnancy2 Mathematician, artist and journalist Tsiaras commented upon unveiling his findings, "It's almost impossible to express how privileged I've felt to watch the process of conception to birth, as genetic mechanisms dynamically instruct each fetal cell of where to go and what to become". Micro-technology became the key that opened for Tsiaras and for us photographic evidence reaching far beyond mere stages of human development and into a complex mechanism that borders on, or perhaps even confirms the divine. What we learn from Tsairas's work is that mother and fetus, contrary to the thinking of both church and state, are not separate and distinct but are inextricably joined together. Honoring the one requires honoring the other. Metabolic Syndrome circles back to the womb. Feta beta cells respond to sugar and insulin levels, making babies more prone to disorders as they grow into adults. Nutrient levels can produce toxins that cause chronic stress, chronic sleeplessness and inactivity. A marvel that Tsairas noted was that in the 7th-9th week of pregnancy, the baby's right lung begins to develop, the left signaled to wait so as to leave room for the heart to grow. Is it possible that science is getting closer to defining when life begins? More to the point, can the church leave room for the Mom in this mystery, and can the state acknowledge that even Supreme Court Justices, in all their infinite finitude, are fearfully and wonderfully made?
Stan Moody, founder of Maine Prison Chaplaincy Corps, is a former Maine State Representative and recently a Chaplain at the maximum security Maine State Prison in Warren, ME…Dr. Moody is an advisory board member of Solitary Watch, Washington DC, and has been a speaker at national conferences on prison-related human rights issues, including the Progressive Baptist National Conference and the National Convocation of Jail and Prison Ministry…He was a 2010 recipient of the ACLU-ME Roger Baldwin Award for His campaign to end solitary confinement in Maine and recipient of a Palmer Grant from the American Baptist Churches USA Home Mission Societies to advance his work on reentry…Moody’s numerous articles on prison reform may be read at



Rev. Stan Moody, Ph.D. 1434 Ohio St., Unit 44 Bangor, ME 04401 207/607-3055

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