Reflections of a Lamaze Veteran

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Giving credit where credit is due, Sapienza has set me to thinking again. He argues, quite correctly, that abortion is murder, i.e., the intentional killing of a human being.

Since those of us at are nothing if not dedicated to the pursuit of truth, allow me to add the reflections of a Lamaze veteran to Sapienza’s observations.

While my wife was pregnant with our daughter, we went to Lamaze classes. The classes were well worth it. Our class was taught by a nurse who had had three children of her own. She taught from experience both personal and professional. Aside from being a mother of three, she was also a doula, which is a person who assists a mother during childbirth.

Basically, aside from teaching the famous breathing used by women during childbirth, Lamaze helps expectant parents to understand what will happen during childbirth and pregnancy and what they can do about it. Our six or so classes were crammed full of medical information. Depending on the parents, the father may be actively involved in the birth, much like a basketball coach on the sidelines during the NCAA tournament, or perhaps more like a first base coach in baseball, since childbirth can necessitate a great deal of hands-on coaching.

Returning to the point of this article, what I found most interesting in Lamaze, as well as in reading many books on pregnancy and childbirth, was that the child generally becomes aware of the outside world by around the fifth month of pregnancy. This is the time when it is recommended to start reading to your child (for the record, my daughter’s first reading was Human Action, by Ludwig von Mises).

At five months, the child in the womb begins to remember the sounds of the people it hears every day, people like mom and dad. The child begins to notice and respond to music.

One tip from our Lamaze instructor that I had to test (being a critically-minded philosophical type) was the claim that if you speak to the child, beginning around the fifth month, the child will recognize your voice upon birth and that this will calm the child after birth. Also, long before birth — during the last five months or so of pregnancy — my daughter would move around inside the womb upon hearing my voice when I came home.

Every night after law school, I made a point to talk to my child. In the delivery room, after they placed her on a scale and washed her, I spoke to her, and she turned her head to look at me, or, rather, she turned in the direction of my voice, since her eyes weren’t fully open at the time. I never got tired of that trick.

The point is, by the fifth month of pregnancy, it is beyond dispute the mother is not growing a beer gut, she is not growing a massive tumor, and she is not under attack. She is carrying a human being, separated from the outside world by the internal organs whose sole biological function is to provide for the physical development of that human being.

Before the fifth month, the mother is carrying an entity which is no less human than it is at six, seven, eight or nine months of gestation — or ten years after birth.

A child, whether just starting out as two cells, or fully grown into millions upon millions of cells, is a child. And a child is a human being. So call abortion what it is: legally-protected homicide.

Mr. Dieteman is an attorney in Erie, Pennsylvania, and a PhD candidate in philosophy at The Catholic University of America.

© 2001 David Dieteman

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