Call a Baby a Baby
We can look the word fetus up all over the Internet in 2012 but I’d like to enter the “wayback machine” with you to the 1950s and 60s. I was born in 1951 and was raised in what was then a very rural farming community. We were surrounded by dairy farms and all the crops needed to raise good milkers. As anyone who is, lets say, 50 or older will remember, children were pretty much protected from the sexual aspect of grown up life. Certainly we now know that indeed there must have been abused children but it wasn’t talked about. The adults talked about Aunt Millie being pregnant when the kids weren’t around. Young women were still having babies out of wedlock and many, to their credit, gave those beautiful babies up for adoption, more on that later.
Fetus was a word used by the local vetinarian. Its meaning was something like this…”an unborn vertebrates animal in the later stages of development that shows the main recognizable features of the mature animal.” (vocabulary.com)
Yes, really. That is the way most people defined fetus back then. Note “later stages”. The vet threw that word fetus around when talking about horses, cows, dogs, etc. Once you were out of the barn into the human realm you heard the word baby!
In the late 1970s no one looked at me and said, oh my you are finally going to have a fetus. Nope, after being told we would never have children we became pregnant after 8 years with a baby. At that point in time I began to notice subtle references to an unborn baby as a fetus. How did a scientific, Latin veterinary term become synonymous with the word baby? How? Who brought what was at that time a reference to an animal, into our everyday language?
I suppose because I was in such a rural setting I was unsophisticated compared to the same aged girl in a city. However, I maintain that even city girls did not throw that word fetus around until the late 1960s. By the 1980s we were hearing fetus instead of baby constantly especially in regard to Planned Parenthood materials.
What happened behind the scenes all those years ago? What evil mind sat there and said to herself or himself, if we slowly but surely use fetus instead of baby it won’t take but a few decades to get society to accept the term? And if we get them to accept and then use the word fetus in everyday conversation, it will be so much easier to convince a woman to have an abortion. After all, it is a fetus Dearie, not a baby.
Immediately I want to blame Margaret Sanger. (Planned Parenthood) To me she was everything deplorable to a God fearing, Bible believing Christian woman. When she championed birth control back in the 1920s and 30s did she consistently use the word fetus? I will never know for to research and actually read anything she wrote would probably give me a heart attack. She was so against so much that I believe in. I’m not being naive, I realize that medical people probably wrote that word fetus in a patient’s chart but they didn’t say that word aloud. It was baby.
As an aside, as the Chick Fil A kiss-in is going on tonight, Margaret Sanger believed in homosexuality. Yep. To her a homosexual was simply something different at birth, like say, different colored eyes. It was not something to be looked at as a perversion but rather more like…..wait for it…..they were born that way!
Sanger, who by the way did not believe that abortion was acceptable, in 1938 she wrote that it was the taking of a life. Her words have been parsed and parsed and of course that’s not what she meant. Apparently her statement had nothing to do with morality or the sanctity of life. After Sanger came Alan Frank Guttmacher-a doctor. A man of science, an obstetrician/gynecologist who was the head of Planned Parenthood from 1962-1974.
While heading Planned Parenthood Dr. Guttmacher was Vice President of the American Eugenics Society. He founded what is now called the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals. He founded the Association for the Study of Abortion. During his tenure he managed to get the FDA to approve birth control pills. At this point in time will not go into Eugenics, have to be able to sleep tonight.
I think I’ve found the one individual who would have had the influence in our society to slowly change that wonderful, lovely, glorious, just ain’t anything like it word BABY to fetus. Sanger, as a nurse may have used fetus while charting patient care. Guttmacher as an obstetrician most certainly used Latin and would have written fetus on a woman’s chart. He had high visibility through Planned Parenthood which during his decade of influence our society went through what some may consider a drastic change in attitude toward sex and pregnancy. Planned Parenthood consistently used the word fetus.
Back to adoption: by 1975 adopting a baby in America was next to impossible with a 3 to5 year wait. We did not have the financial wherewithal to pursue adopting, but as I said earlier, God gave us a child. In 2012 thanks to the high abortion rate, babies are not being placed for adoption which has driven many couples to seek children from other countries. In our own family their is a couple with adopted children from other countries. Not babies however, children with disabilities who were given very little medical care in their home country.
A few years ago a liberal friend of mine became pregnant. We had quite a few heated debates about many issues, especially abortion. Over lunch she referred to her unborn baby as a fetus and it set me off. Yes, I have a great German temper. I made her stand up, which she did, then I said to her, “rub your tummy and then tell me that is a fetus!” She was actually contemplating abortion due to some marital problems. The crying began, the light bulb went off, I never heard her use that word again. And she had a pretty baby girl.
As a Conservative Christian I do not believe abortion pro or con, should be in the political arena but the left has for decades now slowly laid out their platform revolving around social issues. Planned Parenthood, to me, is evil. As a last comment, I spent some time in the Word before writing this diary and re-read some scripture on how the Lord reacted when a group of people sacrificed their children. We cannot relax our stance against abortion. Maybe, just maybe we could never utter that word fetus again!
So as the years have gone by and we jump out of the “wayback machine” we now have a society that shrugs their shoulders over a veterinary term and uses that ugly word to describe a Blessing from God.