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The Texas Tragedy and the Status of the Unborn

The Texas Tragedy and the Status of the Unborn

By    |   Thursday, 09 November 2017 04:35 PM EST

In the accounting of the massacre at a Texas church this week, many news outlets reported Crystal Holcombe and three of her children were killed. But the official death toll that lists 26 victims also includes Crystal's fourth child, who was living in her womb.

Counting this child as one of the victims is of course the right thing to do, logically, scientifically, and even legally. As The New York Times religion writer Laurie Goodstein explains, Texas is among some 38 states that recognize an unborn child as a separate crime victim.

Crystal's story is almost too sad to tell. A mother of five, she was widowed in 2011. She met John Holcombe at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, and they married in 2012. She was eight months' pregnant with John's child when a deranged gunman with a grudge against his estranged wife and her family decided to open fire on worshipers gathered in the white clapboard church.

"John married a widow with five children, took them as his own" family friend L. David Givler wrote, according to People magazine. "Now, as he and Crystal were preparing to have their first together, this horrific murder took his wife and unborn child."

Crystal and her children were five of the nine members of the Holcombe family murdered that day. But in our abortion-divided society, some would prefer her viable fetus – Crystal was eight months pregnant – to go unmentioned and unmourned, lest anyone get the idea that children in the womb are people.

NARAL Pro-Choice America is – no surprise here – opposed to any laws that treat an unborn child as a person, the Times noted. In the comments section of the Ms. Goodstein's story, there were many who agreed with NARAL.

"A pregnant woman is one person with a temporary medical condition," posited "vandalfan" from Idaho.

"Bert" in Pennsylvania perpetuated the ridiculous argument the humanity of the child depends on if he or she was "wanted."

"I think if the mother wanted the baby, and was going to bring it to term, then it should count as a future human being. This does NOT mean that an aborted fetus was a human being. The fetus has no right to impose itself on its unwilling mother."

Not all of the Times commenters were so heartless.

"BB" from Massachusetts cut to the heart of the matter, and questioned the newspaper's motives in reporting the story at all:

"The focus needs to be on the horror of this loss. For some reason, the NYT ran this story that encourages division rather than the unity that is needed at this moment. Every human being knows what that lady was carrying inside of her. No matter how we define it, it is a loss."

Abortion supporters are always ready to pounce when the unborn are accorded human rights, even in something as inconsequential as a television commercial. Who can forget NARAL's Super Bowl 50 Tweet that chided Doritos for trying to "humanize" a fetus, and the social media drubbing that followed?

Perhaps those who would deny the humanity of the unborn are in a heightened state of alert now because of the GOP's proposed tax bill. Included in the voluminous bill is a statement that spells out that parents can begin saving for their children's college educations, even if those children are not yet born. What really prompted the hand-wringing is the definition of an unborn child as a "child in utero" and "a member of the species homo sapiens, at any stage of development, who is carried in the womb."

In January 2018, this nation will observe the 45th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision. Some will celebrate, as they did last month when lawyers for the ACLU won the right to take an undocumented teenage immigrant for an abortion, while hundreds of thousands will march in protest, as we do every year in D.C., San Francisco and in cities and towns across the nation.

We remain a nation divided. When we are unable even to agree on how many victims to mourn in the aftermath of the Texas tragedy, it is yet another reminder the status of the child in the womb is a question longing to be resolved in the American mind and heart.

Priests for Life is the world's largest Catholic organization focused exclusively on ending abortion.

Father Frank Pavone is the national director of Priests for Life and president of the National Pro-Life Religious Council. He is the author of "Proclaiming the Message of Life" (2016, Servant Books) and "Abolishing Abortion" (2015, Nelson Books).

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The official death toll from the massacre at a Texas church this week lists 26 victims, one of which is a child who was living in a deceased mother's womb.
texas church, pro life
Thursday, 09 November 2017 04:35 PM
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