Friday, November 12, 2010

You Look Like Someone Stole Your Birthday

I was reading an article about symantics and it was referencing the change in meaning of pregnancy and, specifically, 'conception'. Historically when pregnancy 'began' has varried some. Not every woman cycles every 28 days, and not every woman who misses the first expected day of her period is pregnant. The first successfuly abdominal surgery to remove a tumor in the U.S. (no, I don't remember the year) was proformed on a woman who sought medical help after a 13 month 'pregnancy'. I've seen the old drawing of this poor woman, looking very pregnant, being led astride a horse to the nearest doctor, many miles away. In some cultures if a pregnancy did not produce a birth (as in fetal demise that doesn't naturally expel the stillborn) the woman was still considered pregnant with a 'sleeping' baby, that might at some future date awake and be born. (Current medicine refers to these retained dead babies as 'stone babies' because they become calcified in the womb) Many cultures waited until the mother felt pregnant, or until 'quickening' (when the baby starts moving) to claim a pregnancy. Yet even in cultures that don't have calanders or counting the concept that pregnancies last about 10 moons (9 months give or take) is an accepted fact. I'm unaware of any culture through out history that didn't have a correct expectation of how long pregnancy usually lasts. Which, logically, means that pretty much every woman has understood that their pregnancy began before they knew they were pregnant.
With the advent of modern medicine we can tell if a woman is pregnant much earlier, and with more reliability than ever before. Most OTC pregnancy tests now work up to 5 days before a woman misses her period. But even now women understand thet they have to be pregnant BEFORE they can know about it. So where am I going with this rather long preamble? Conception.
Conception, the very moment a pregnancy starts. For generations the term conception was synonomous with fertilization, which is biologically sound. The moment sperm meets egg and fertilization occures biological life begins. The new human, medically termed a zygote, meets all the biological requirements of life and are a unique individual with a fully complete DNA that has never existed before nor will again (discounting asexual reproduction or cloning). As late as the 90's this was still the accepted medical description of conception, and therefore pregnancy (1995, 26th edition of Stedman's Medical Dictionary: "act of conceiving, or becoming pregnant; fertilization of the oocyte (ovum) by a spermatozoon to form a viable zygote"). But something happened. It started in the 60's actually when, following the lead of Planned Parenthood instead of biology, the ACOG redefined pregnancy to begin at implantation. This is primarily tied to the advent of hormonal contraception that can keep implantation from happening, thus terminating a pregnancy under the old definition. In the late 80's when the 'morning after' and 'chemical abortion' came onto the scene (the later wasn't legal in the US until 2000 but was medically known and availible elsewhere starting in the late 80's) the trend to redefine pregnancy as starting after implantation as opposed to fertilization gained more supporters. (The 27th edition of the above mentioned text, published in 2000, changed to read "act of conceiving; the implantation of the blastocyte in the endometrium).
I am reminded of 1752 when the official change over between the Julian calander and the Gergorian calander happened. To align the calander 11 days were deleted. People went to bed on September 2nd and woke up on September 14th. A bunch of people had their birthdays stolen that year. But in the last generation literally millions of people have had their birthdays stolen by medical personnel that assured a women that their birth control or morning after pill wouldn't abort a pregnancy. Yes, some mothers still would have chosen abortion for their newly made babes, but many would not have as well. And those mothers weren't given a 'choice'. 'The Pill' and the 'Morning After Pill' had far too much appeal to the abortion advocates to let a little thing like the dictionary to stand in their way. And, for whatever reason, the established medical community (especially pharmicutial companies anxious to get their pregnancy killing drugs to a wider clientel bas) has been following the abortion industry like good puppies since Planned Parenthood's early years. (I blame a mix of clever marketing and monetary gain)..
Language changes, and definitions change, it's true. But when the medical community redefines a medical term for a non medical reason I call BS. Nearly 50 years after the 1st redefining of pregnancy and still the average woman doesn't know the morning after pill "won't harm an established pregnancy" only because the company that created it put a * after pregnancy in their initial literature and gave the then unusual definition of 'an already implanted' baby. To the average mind conception still equals fertilization . Webster still defines conception as "the process of becoming pregnant involving fertilization or implantation or both". Yes, even Webster is starting to jump on the badnwagon, but it still shows the common English definition involves fertilization, the biological start of life, as the start of a pregnancy.
In the 1700's the establishment stole 11 days of birthday anniverseries, today we've stolen 50 years of actual birth-days from the most innocent and youngest of our societies, and most people don't even realize it.


Blogger Jim Jordan said...

The stolen generation, future generations might call it.

Great article with lots of key information. I've got it on my blogroll now.

8:58 PM  
Anonymous Rachel said...

Catching up on your blog and have one quick question...what do you suggest then for a married woman who cannot afford to have a child right birth control not an option at all...or do I get to use the headache excuse for a while. Also what is your stance on sterilization. Just curious?

1:22 AM  
Blogger Jespren said...

I have absolutely no objection to contraceptives (short or long term such as sterilization), I have an objection to 'birth' control that is nothing more than early term abortion. And I've yet to see anything in the Bible objecting specifically to delaying or avoiding children for cause. (The story the Catholic church uses is grossly taken out of context, Onarus (sp?) Was killed because he had a specific duty to father a child in that instance and he intentionally and sinfully sought to avoid it, the point that he knew HOW to avoid it in the first place kind of points out that society had that knowledge) God tells us to populate the earth, that children are a blessing, that large families in specific are a blessing, and every historical society has considered bareness to be a social stigma. But we live in a fallen world, there are people that shouldn't or can't reproduce, and I fnd nothing wrong in them avoiding reproduction. But killing your child AFTER you reproduce is not an acceptable way to keep one's family small.
Natural family planning, spermicide, barrier methods, and sterilization all all valid ways (with various degrees of success) to try to delay or avoid pregnancy. That being said my parents always said "if people waiting until they could afford kids, no one would ever have any". Children can be expensive, but God provides, I never did get why being poor in the US was considered a good reason to delay pregnancy. Most other cultures understand that larger families breed wealth, not poverty, because children help suport the family as a whole. Of course few Americans have family farms, ranches, or businesses anymore that benefit from a big family. Which I think it a telling cultural mentality and a reason to change your situation rather than your fertility, but that's me.
Btw, the Bible says the only reason husband and wife shouldn't have sex is for short, mutally agreed upon times of fasting and prayer. We live in a fallen world, if you have a medical or physical reason why you shouldn't have kids, avoiding sex to avoid pregnancy isn't Biblical and puts an unnatural strain on marriages.

7:16 AM  

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