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Jeffrey Peters: Little room for debate in abortion issue

Two weeks ago, tens of thousands came to Washington, D.C., to participate in the annual March for Life. Like each year before, the event was filled with prayer and goodwill. Although it was quite cold, the participants were in high spirits, and there was a lot of positive media coverage.

As a Catholic, I recognize that being pro-life, especially when it comes to opposing abortion, is essential to my faith. However, I find it odd when I am confronted by Catholics and Christians in general who do not hold such values. Of all the modern issues, this is one of the few that is clearly found in the Bible, and there is little room to debate the issue.

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We are told in Luke 1:41-44, "When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: 'Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear!' But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy."

In this early passage, we are provided with two infants in the womb, and one is described as able to respond in an advanced way to the world around him.

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Of course, one is the Christ child, and his presence just after conception can be realized by those in his presence. A pedantic Christian pro-choicer could dismiss his prenatal radiance as unique to him being the Son of God, and that abortion would be fine because no other child is from the Father. However, the other child is John the Baptist, the son of Elizabeth, and he is completely human.

John's experience, the leaping in joyful response to Christ's presence, is particularly important because he is able to recognize and experience the Son of God in a manner denied to many of the adults in the Bible. Even more important, Elizabeth is revealed as being in her second trimester, according to verse 56.

Modern medicine has taught us that a child is able to feel pain at their 20th week, which is approximately how far Elizabeth was in her pregnancy. It is not coincidence, but divine inspiration, that the moment of John's first emotional experience, of pleasure or pain, would come from a confrontation with the Savior. It was John's destiny to go before Christ and spread his word. That knowledge and destiny did not start at "birth" but at the moment of true consciousness within the womb.

As a believer in the divine inspiration of the Bible, it would be impossible to deny that this 20th week time period, the period of being able to feel pain, is of particular importance. These infants can be filled with the Holy Spirit and are able to recognize the presence of God at an instinctual level.

I am not denying that life begins at conception, but abortions after this point are especially heinous and cannot be justified. A true Christian cannot allow abortions after 20 weeks.

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