Eggs–A 2016 Summer LifeLines “sneak peek”

The Federation just wrapped up its annual pro-life student essay contest, and as always the entrants were amazing and the judges had a difficult time choosing a winner.  Since I will be on the road all this week on our town hall tour, I thought I’d share the winning essays with you as a sneak peek of what will be featured in the Summer LifeLines magazine.  This essay, written by 12th grader Miguel Mendoza, won 1st place in the senior high category. Enjoy!

Miguel Mendoza

Miguel Mendoza

Bald eagles, the enduring symbol of this nation’s spirit, freedom, and pursuit of greatness have received protection by law from those who would wish ill upon this majestic bird. In 1940, the United States passed a strict federal law known as the Bald Eagle Protection Act that focused on guarding not only the national bird, but also the bald eagle’s eggs. If one were to come across those eggs in the wild, it would be considered a serious offense to destroy them. If done so, the penalty would be equivalent to shooting an adult eagle out of the air.

Reverend Tadeusz Pacholczyk, author of The Ethics of Stem Cell Research, states, “By the force of law, we acknowledge the scientific truth that the eagle’s eggs, that is to say, the embryonic eagle inside that egg, is the same creature as the beautiful bird that we witness flying overhead.”  Consequently, this demonstrates the government’s awareness to pass laws that protect not only the adult but also the youngest individual of that species.

This can be applicable to the recent concept of stem-cell research in the field of medical science. Stem-cell research has taken on special attention for its potential health benefits and also for its moral side effects produced by the utilization of human embryos to give way to stem cells. In short, stem cells are an important way for the body’s cells to be restored. They function as unspecialized cells that have the capacity to grow into several specific types of cells, such as a cell that can produce new red blood cells.

The practice of stem-cell research appears to favor the use of embryonic stem cells since those cells have the ability to become any type of body cell. Adult stem cells are also utilized and have the potential to become numerous different cells, but not all. Some scientists hope to cure certain diseases like diabetes using embryonic stem cells.

With guidance from Church doctrine and teachings, I have come to the conclusion that I am in favor of most stem cell research, which normally uses cells from adult tissue, which presents no moral conflict. Nonetheless, a moral problem surfaces when researchers use the early stages of a fertilized egg to harvest stem cells, which ultimately destroys the once living human embryo. Although good results may arise from embryonic stem cell research, it by no means justifies the cruelty in the destruction of innocent human life.

The Church directly opposes any alterations to early human life. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith’s document, The Gift of Life (Donum Vitae), instructs that, “The human being is to be respected and treated as a person from the moment of conception…” I believe that life is a precious gift that we were given. Although not fully developed, human embryos are alive and therefore possess existence.  Remorsefully, their lack of mouth, eyes, and arms make them vulnerable to the evil works of man. Even though the aim of this research is to produce beneficial outcomes, the immoral means used to arrive at the sought after good does not validate the process. The life of a person should not lend itself as a dispensable commodity on behalf of someone else.

In regards to the bald eagle, people realized how its eggs were as important as the eagle itself, and therefore required protection for its conservation. The bird’s value was noticed and so it was reasonable to protect the bald eagle in all its stages of life. The same notion holds true for humans, who are more valuable than any other species on the planet combined. Unfortunately, human beings do not recognize their own inner beauty and uniqueness. They are willing to protect the embryos of other animals but fail to protect themselves first from what Reverend Pacholczyk describes as the, “dismemberment on the altar of stem cell sacrifice.”



Our Littlest Comedians: Babies Understand Humor at 9 Months

By Maria Gallagher, Legislative Director

Is that a future Ben Stiller sitting in that high chair near you? Is a would-be Tina Fey in that crib at your daughter’s house?

CuteNewbornBabyNew research suggests that those little cutie pies may just be comedic geniuses. A recent NBC News report stated that babies as young as nine months may understand humor. In fact, scientists now believe that humor is an important part of a baby’s cognitive development.

The report made me think about the key role humor plays in life. As the daughter of a man who tried his hand at stand-up comedy when he was young, jokes were second nature in my family. And I remember as a youngster that my greatest joy came from making my little sister laugh.

As it turns out, research now confirms that babies and laughter are inseparable. Since laughter is an expression of joy, it can be said that babies and joy are deeply connected as well.

Babies teach us so many serious-minded things: responsibility, legacy, accountability. But now science has proven that babies also teach adults how to laugh.

With every abortion, a life is ended and laughter is silenced. It kills joy and, therefore, a little piece of ourselves dies with each abortion. Roe v. Wade has made our country a sadder place, a place less hospitable to life and laughter. Our profound national tragedy has given rise to an ocean of tears. It is only in reverencing the child and her laughter that true joy can be restored.

Why Do People Turn a Blind Eye to 56 Million Aborted Babies?

A few days ago, a retired doctor visited our office. As he talked with us, he wondered out loud about an aspect of the abortion issue that I puzzle over, too.

Unborn child2The issue was this: How can people be so distraught by horrible human rights abuses such as school shootings, persecution of religious groups, or discrimination against minorities – and yet turn a blind eye to the 56 million preborn babies who’ve been aborted? How can so many Americans sit by and do nothing to end the killing of preborn babies?

I’ve been thinking a lot about these questions, too. As I was mulling the questions, a thought came to me about how abortion is almost an invisible tragedy. So few people actually see the victim, the preborn baby, or have a relationship with him or her.

My point is that we connect more with people who we relate to. We are more likely to send a meal to the family down the street whose house burned down than we are to a family in Haiti who can’t even afford one meal a day.

It’s hard to relate to a preborn baby if you’re not his/her mother or father. Sometimes it may be hard to relate even when you are the mother or father. It doesn’t mean that preborn babies are less valuable. We just have a harder time relating to them.

So, how can we help people relate to preborn babies in the womb and open their eyes to the tragedy of abortion?

One way is just to remind them that abortions are happening. I think people honestly just forget sometimes. Share an article on your Facebook page or invite them to attend a pro-life event in your area.

Another way may be to share facts and photos about preborn babies. Every time I help at a fair booth, I see people’s amazed faces as they pick up our fetal models or look at the photos of tiny babies in the womb. When people see a baby at 12 weeks sucking their thumb or twins interacting in utero, they begin to relate to preborn babies.

These are just some of my thoughts and ideas about making people more aware about abortion. I’d like to hear your thoughts, too. Please feel free to email me at or comment on our Facebook page.

Columnist Wesley Smith Explains Terms “Embryo,” “Blastocyst”

I’m always fascinated when I learn a new detail about a baby’s development in the womb, and I read a lot about human development for work. Still, I’m often confused by medical terms, especially those that define earliest stages of development.

Image of a baby at seven weeks

Image of a baby at seven weeks

Today, I was happy to discover an article by pro-life columnist Wesley J. Smith that explains the terms “embryo” and “blastocyst.” I hope you find his column as helpful as I did:

How often have I heard scientists and political hacks lie by claiming that an embryo isn’t an embryo until it is implanted in a uterus. Before that, they have often said, it is just a “ball of cells,” a “pre-embryo,” or just a “blastocyst.”
By lying about the nature of the embryo, pro embryonic stem cell research advocates hoped to manipulate society into supporting their research agendas.
These arguments were always–and remain–false. When you get down to it, we are all just big balls of cells, so that’s a meaningless term. An embryo, unlike say a tumor, is an organism, in other words, a human embryo is a nascent, developing human being.
Nor is there such a thing biologically as a pre-embryo – as Princeton biologist Lee Silver admitted. That is a political term invented to skew ethical debates and decisions to permit the manipulation of human life.
As for the blastocyst, the term describes an embryo’s stage of development, not a different thing than an embryo. Thus, the, “It’s not an embryo, it’s a blastocyst,” is also junk biology.

Read Smith’s full column here.

Just another fact to remember: When the baby is about eight weeks along, he/she is referred to as a fetus. The seven-week-old baby in the photo above is still considered an embryo.

As pro-lifers, it’s important that we have a basic knowledge about human development. The science is on our side. Let’s use it!

Images of Preborn Babies Open People’s Eyes to Truth about Life

I love seeing people’s faces light up when a preborn baby’s life becomes real to them.

Image of a baby at seven weeks

Image of a baby at seven weeks

It’s hard for us to relate to people we don’t know, people we’ve never seen or talked to. And most of us don’t see a baby until after he or she is born. It can be easy for us to forget about the ongoing tragedy of abortion, because we almost never know the victim.

That’s why we at the Federation emphasize education about human development. We show ultrasound videos and share little fetal models with people. They remind people that this isn’t just a “product of conception” or a “blob of tissue.” It’s a teeny, tiny beautiful human being – somebody’s baby boy or baby girl.

Click here to read more about a baby’s amazing development in the womb. Or watch a video here.

At Creation Festival, Young People Learn the Truth about Abortion

“Did you know that when you were this small, you could already suck your thumb?” I said, holding out one of our tiny 12-week fetal models.

P1060004I watched as their eyes grew wide in surprise, and their hands reached out to hold the little model themselves. They smiled and aww’d at the tiny little baby model in their hands.

Then I picked up our 20-week model and handed it to them. “Did you know that abortion is legal even past this stage in Pennsylvania?”

And I watched as the shock and disbelief came over their faces and the reality of what our society calls “a woman’s choice” set in.

I had hundreds of similar conversations a few weeks ago at our booth during the nation’s largest Christian music festival, Creation. Though I go every year, it always strikes me how critically important it is that we’re sharing the truth about abortion.

Where else do young people see that a preborn baby at eight weeks already looks like a tiny infant? Where else to they learn that abortion is legal through all nine months in some states? Where else do they hear that there is support for moms who choose life?

Public schools and colleges aren’t telling them. The mainstream media isn’t telling them. Our society isn’t telling them.

It’s up to us to educate the next generation about the precious value of every single human life.

To find our volunteers at other fairs and festivals this summer, click here.

When Life Begins According to Embryology Textbooks

I just wanted to follow up my post yesterday with this link to scientific evidence about the beginning of life.

Baby feetThis article lists nine academic sources showing scientific proof that a new human life begins at the moment of fertilization.

Here is just one for you: “The fusion of sperm and egg membranes initiates the life of a sexually reproducing organism.” — Marsden et al., Model systems for membrane fusion, CHEM. SOC. REV. 40(3):1572 (Mar. 2011)

Despite what the deniers may say, scientific evidence is on our side. Keep this article handy, so the next time someone denies the truth about when life begins you can point them to these sources.

MSNBC Says Life Isn’t a Scientific Term

I rarely read MSNBC anymore, but curiosity got the better of me. I clicked on their response to Florida Sen. Marco Rubio’s comment about liberals denying the science of life and abortion.


Baby at 6-8 weeks

The MSNBC headline read, “Marco Rubio’s scientific blunder on abortion.”

Here’s what the third paragraph said, “In fact, ‘life’ and ‘conception’ aren’t scientific terms, and the rights of a blastocyst, embryo or fetus compared to the pregnant woman aren’t up to scientists; they’re subjective, based on personal, religious, or political commitments.”

I couldn’t help but scoff at that sentence. It made me wonder how journalism has sunk to this new low. (My background is in journalism, by the way.)

Their statement that life and conception aren’t scientific terms is ridiculous (and I don’t use that word lightly). Even the determination of when life begins is a scientific fact, as Sen. Rubio stated.

Life, as defined by Merriam-Webster, is “an organismic state characterized by capacity for metabolism, growth, reaction to stimuli, and reproduction.”

These terms are not subjective. If they were subjective, then how could scientists look for life on Mars or in the Mariana Trench? If they were subjective, how can we determine whether you or I are alive?

Sometimes I think our head-to-the-iPhone culture saturates our minds with so much information that we forget to think about what we’re reading.

As pro-lifers, we need to step up and be critical thinkers – whether we’re reading an article from a pro-life perspective or a pro-abortion perspective.

Our mission is too critical. We are fighting against 40-plus years of legalized abortion. We are fighting for the 56 million babies who lost their lives as a result, and the millions more who are vulnerable to the threat.

Amazing Video of Conception to Birth Is Worth Watching Again

No matter how many times I watch Alexander Tsiaras’s short film, “Conception to birth – visualized,” I walk away feeling amazed.

Tsiaras, a professor at Yale University, helped to create the stunning video that shows a baby’s development in the womb from conception to birth.



In an amazing display of images, we watch as the baby’s cells split and spread out. Then his or her heart begins to beat. Then arms and hands form. Then a tiny nose and eyes appear. Within 44 just days, the baby is recognizably human. By 9 weeks, he or she is basically fully formed.

Every step of development is so beautiful. Yet, what’s most amazing of all is realizing that from that very moment of conception we are already living, growing human beings – completely unique and valuable.

Please take the time to watch the whole video here. It’s only about nine minutes. Then share it with people you know. These visual images, backed up by science, make it hard to deny that babies in the womb deserve the right to life.

(Family audiences, please not that there are some brief anatomically graphic images – not violent, but graphic.)

Patterns in the Universe Point to the Value of Life at Conception

A few weeks ago, there was big news about new scientific evidence involving the Big Bang theory.

USA Today summed up the findings this way, “In an achievement hailed as astounding, scientists have detected ripples made in the fabric of the universe just after the Big Bang, providing definitive evidence that that the universe underwent a fast and incomprehensibly massive growth spurt in its earliest infancy.” spaceimage

I don’t know where you stand on the whole beginning of the universe thing. Maybe it all began with one random, colossal bang of energy, or maybe God created it in six, consecutive 24-hour periods. My purpose isn’t to argue science or theology.

No matter what you believe, it’s hard to deny that our world is full of patterns. Our universe has an order, a predictability to it. As I was reading the news story, it made me think about the similarities between the beginning of the universe and the beginning of our lives.

I’m no scientist, but from what I understand, the Big Bang theory says the universe began with a huge explosion of random particles that suddenly turned into our universe – to put it very, very simply.

The point is that the universe didn’t gradually come into being – whether you believe the Biblical creation story or the Big Bang theory. Basically, there was nothing, and then a big event suddenly turned it into something: our universe.

That pattern should be familiar to us. We see it in the beginning of every human life. First, there’s nothing – just some random cells from a man and a woman. Then, as the matter meets, there’s suddenly something: a new human life.

It may seem like a simple observation, but the more I look at the world and explore the issues of life and death, the more I see how nature reinforces the principle that human life is valuable from the moment of conception.

Human life doesn’t gradually become valuable, just as the universe didn’t gradually become our universe.

We are valuable from our very beginning.