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A Charming Smile Wins the Day
by John Jakubczyk
15 September 2003

It has been discovered that fetuses smile sometimes while in the womb. Clever little masses of tissue, aren't they?

Leonardo da Vinci’s painting of the Mona Lisa and her mysterious smile has inspired poets and songwriters throughout the years. Now with the advent of fourth generation ultrasound technology, the smile of an unborn child has captured the hearts of scientists and excited researchers as they further discover the mystery and wonder of life in the womb.

A child. A person. A human being. And the modern means of science and technology confirm each of those statements. At teaching hospitals such as Vanderbilt, surgery on unborn patients is saving lives and correcting birth defects.

So why do we tolerate legal abortion?

Why do we allow some babies to be ripped apart in the womb, while others we will work feverishly to save?

This is the question for our time.

Just as the issue of slavery was the penultimate issue in the 19th Century, so too, is the issue of whether we provide legal protection to the smallest and most vulnerable of our brothers and sisters.

The picture is worth 1000 words. The slight smile does not reveal the child’s thought or his mood. Yet it reminds us what we know way down deep: that abortion is a horrible wound on the nation’s body politic; that abortion is the purposeful killing of a human being, and that we are the lesser for it.

So I ask again, why do we tolerate this carnage?

Compare the disgust and disdain that many in this modern culture have for all previous societies, how these individuals look down on those who lived in the past as bigoted fools. Yet as a culture, we allow our children to be slaughtered on the altars of convenience, selfishness, and pride.

Our society wants unlimited freedom so we may do as we please, not realizing that only in our relationships with others can there be true freedom and that only in respecting life can we live freely. The world’s current view of life corrupts the individual and masks the emptiness that reflects the substance of our lives. Living this lie, we want only an immediate gratification of the moment, even at the expense of another. This attitude erodes the dignity of the individual and undermines the interdependent nature of our society.

Thus, in order to have an internal integrity, one must respect the other. One must realize that each of us is a gift to the other and to the culture as a whole. Every person has a right to life, to own property and to seek the end for which he or she was created. This concept is a founding principle upon which this country and we as a people were established.

This respect includes that child in the womb. The 4000 babies killed every day had no due process, no advocate, no one standing up for them. Where are we?

In the musical play “1776,” John Adams asks,

“Is anybody there?

Does anybody care?

Does anybody see what I see?”

The same questions apply to us today. How we respond will affect another generation of Americans.

John Jakubczyk is a lawyer and President of Arizona Right to Life. He has been a frequent speaker on life issues throughout the country.

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