Interior Right to Life held a Life and Freedom Conference in Fairbanks this past October. The featured speaker, Matthew Trewhella (founder of Missionaries to the Pre-Born) explained how to defend unalienable rights at all levels, including some little-understood tools for those in local authority.
Trewhella said officers must stand between their people and any unlawful policy which endangers a God-given right. In other words, administrators like sheriffs, school board members, and postmasters and others interpose themselves between the powers that be and the people (to whom they truly answer, though the power structure seems upside-down just now. These public officers safeguard the peoples’ rights from any infringement. He described this as the doctrine of the Lesser Magistrate, calling leaders at all levels to exercise their duty to uphold the rights of the people.
Trewhella lives and preaches in Wisconsin and presents widely, having finished a tour of Ireland just before his visit to Alaska. Pat Martin, the director of Alaska Right To Life, spoke more specifically about the supposed “right to abortion” in the Alaska Constitution. No such right exists, Martin clarified, urging the audience to share this truth with friends and neighbors as well as take to the sidewalk to engage with the vulnerable members of our community, those on the edge, who feel they have no choice but to end pregnancy. These women and men need to know that life is just as real and precious inside the womb as outside it.
Martin’s words reminded me of one Friday afternoon, several years before Roe V. Wade was overturned. I remember walking back and forth in front of an abortion center in Fairbanks, holding a sign to protest the murders I knew were being committed inside.
People on the road honked, or shook their heads, and I waved, or smiled, praying all the while.
“Get a job!” yelled someone from a passing car.
“I do have a job,” I thought, “and you’d be surprised to know what it is.”
The copied cells are built into an embryo after a highly ordered, consistent pattern, unlike the uncontrolled growth of a tumor, which is a true example of “a lump of tissue” rather than a developing baby.
I was fresh off a shift as a clinical laboratory assistant in the local hospital, just down the street. My degree in biological sciences qualified me for that position, and two or three years earlier, I had discovered the truth about when life begins.
It was during a developmental biology lecture in my second year of college. Science shows what the Bible has told us from the beginning, that when men and women come together, they “become one flesh.” How can this be? They – or rather, their reproductive cells – become half of what they used to be (the textbook term for this division is “meiosis”), so that one half of mom plus one half of dad equal one completely distinct whole.
Not only do the two half cells unite, but their genetic codes also mix with one another in a complex genetic recombination, like mixing blue and yellow paint to get green. When does this happen? At conception, no later. The child is evidence of their union, and at no point is he or she “just a lump of tissue.”
Immediately after the cells merge and mix, they begin the process of mitosis, where they divide into exact copies of themselves. The copied cells are built into an embryo after a highly ordered, consistent pattern, unlike the uncontrolled growth of a tumor, which is a true example of “a lump of tissue” rather than a developing baby.
No ruler can legitimately infringe upon our rights, and it is right for us to stop them from doing so.
In fact, at the earliest stages of our development, our cells are the healthiest and most perfect – how much more “alive” could we be than that? Not only is the genetic code as correct as it will ever be, but our earliest cells also have unrivaled potential to become any structure of the body.
In that same developmental biology class, I learned that scientists had broken apart an early sea urchin embryo, then exposed the cells of that embryo to the ingredients needed for bone growth in those animals. I vividly remember my wonder at what I heard next: my professor told us that the cells had arranged themselves into skeletal structures called spicules. I can’t be sure of the paper she cited, but in 1982 Gilbert Mintz and William Lennarz published a study in the journal Cell Differentiation titled, “Spicule Formation by Cultured Embryonic Stem Cells From the Sea Urchin,” which describes related findings.
It took time for the implications to sink in. When they did, the notion I’d had – that an early embryo has less potential for life and growth than one at a later stage – fell to pieces.
No later than the moment of fertilization, we begin to exercise our God-given right to life. I was blessed to do so without outside threat.
You and I have a duty to protect each other’s rights in any way we can, and to recognize them for the precious gift they are. No ruler can legitimately infringe upon our rights, and it is right for us to stop them from doing so.
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First, we must speak up on behalf of those who cannot assert their own rights. The prophet Isaiah wrote that God’s will for us is to “relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow” (Isaiah 1:17), and we must protect the vulnerable, just as we hope someone would stand up for us if we were in their place.
Secondly, those of us in authority over others must protect their rights. The Apostle Paul wrote of that a ruler “is the minister of God to thee for good.” Anyone in authority ought to serve and seek out the best for those under his care, but also “…he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.” (Romans 13:4). Rather than hide behind statutes, rulers who obey God rather than men (Acts 5:29) will bring murderers to justice.
Lastly, we who believe must appeal to God as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords to protect his own precious children. He longs for us to come to him, to recognize his watchful care over us.
We must put on the whole armor of God and stand against the darkness of this world, stirring one another up to love and good works. God has already won the war, and we can witness his victory in this and other battles as we continue in the faith.
The views expressed here are those of the author.