I recently stumbled upon an interesting article from 2014. A google search led me to NPR, National Public Radio’s website which posted a piece entitled Why Hospitals and Families Still Struggle to Define Death? Maanvi Singh examined two cases of people on life support. Three neurologists said that Jahi McMath died when her brain lost all function after complications from a tonsillectomy. While a coroner has issued an official death certificate, Jahi’s family won an appeal to keep their daughter on a ventilator. This is where science and faith collide.
For You formed my innermost parts; You knit me [together] in my mother’s womb. 14 I will give thanks and praise to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well, Psalm 139:13-14.
A fetus’s heart rate begins soon after fertilization and is visible during an ultrasound at the sixth week of pregnancy. Meanwhile, when a human heart stops beating while in an emergency vehicle or at a hospital, this person is deemed to flatline. If resuscitation does not trigger hearts to beat, this individual is pronounced dead as doctors move on to the next living patient who needs intervention. King Solomon referred to the heart as the well spring of life, Proverbs 4:23. When this spring dries up, life ceases to exist. While cases of life support may convince some that when brain cells are beyond repair death has arrived, I believe a heartbeat is the deciding factor.
My frame was not hidden from You, when I was being formed in secret, and intricately and skillfully formed [as if embroidered with many colors] in the depths of the earth.16 Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; and in Your book were all written the days that were appointed for me, when as yet there was not one of them [even taking shape], Psalm 139:15-16.
As abortion debates continue today with a few states suggesting doctors and or mothers can choose to terminate life after a child is born, the names Amy Grossman and Brian Peterson come to mind. When Grossman became pregnant while attending the University of Delaware, this couple got a hotel room off campus as Amy was about to give birth. Instead of giving their child up for adoption, the baby was thrown into a dumpster and left to die in 1998. If this event occurred today in the state of New York or Virginia, Amy and Brian would have never gone to jail. So what has changed over the past 20 years? Has America become blinded by political correctness that a heartbeat doesn’t matter anymore? I’m not sure what to think, but I pray that common sense will prevail.
by Jay Mankus