Rob Schwarzwalder: Why Scientists Care So Much About Fetal Health

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Hint: Fetuses are actually babies.

By Rob Schwarzwalder, a Senior Contributor, The Stream, September 25, 2018

Rob SchwarzwalderCan eating fish help your unborn baby? New research seems to show that women can “enhance the development of their unborn child’s eyesight and brain function by regularly eating fatty fish during pregnancy.” This is important since, according to the Mayo Clinic, just a few weeks after conception, “the baby’s brain and spinal cord will develop from the neural tube.”

Why should we care? It’s no secret that the left feels outraged about Brett Kavanaugh’s appointment to the Supreme Court because they must defend Roe v. Wade at all costs. If he were pro-choice, we’d never have heard about Dr. Ford’s charges. We’ve long left behind the days of Bill Clinton’s “safe, legal, and rare.” Now the pro-choice left insists on “abortion on demand and without apology.”

Yet researchers continue to study unborn human life and find ways to protect and enhance it. Medicine gets better and better at saving babies born too early. Why? Because we all know, in the quiet moments when our souls ponder life and death and humanity itself, that the little one in the womb can’t be reduced to a choice. We try to make his life better because he’s a human being, just like you and me.

More Good News

Like pomegranates? Good — especially if you’re pregnant. New research done by Washington University in St. Louis shows that pomegranate juice may help prevent high blood pressure and organ damage (preeclampsia), limited growth and premature birth. In the Old Testament, pomegranates were seen sometimes as a symbol of fertility (for example, Song of Solomon 4:3). A coincidence?

The good news doesn’t stop there. As many as one-quarter of pregnant women struggle with depression. Many worry that this condition is transferred to their unborn children.

Not so. “A far-reaching study has found no evidence that prenatal depression leads to anxiety, sadness, bad behavior or difficulty managing emotions in offspring,” says a researcher at King’s College, London. Women who wrestle with feelings of depression while pregnant can put the fear of transferring those feelings to rest.

If you’re a mom-to-be, however painful those internal kicks and punches might be, they’re doing your baby good. “For the developing baby, these kicks are really important, helping to sculpt muscles, bones and joints,” reports Science News.

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We spend a lot of time and money finding out how to protect the unborn. For example, infant brain development expert Dr. William Goldie says that marijuana could “bind” its chemicals to the unborn baby’s brain. As he explains it, the unborn child “swims in a fluid that contains chemicals which the mother takes throughout her pregnancy. Those chemicals get into the fetal brain and bind with sites trying to develop into a functioning brain.” The doctor concludes by encouraging women who may be pregnant to “avoid all chemicals that could bind to the baby’s brain.”

It’s a baby. We know it. We all know it.

It’s a Baby

That’s why, in 2004, Congress passed and President George W. Bush signed into law the “Unborn Victims of Violence Act,” which provides penalties to those whose violent acts result in the death or injury of a “child in utero.” The law recognizes the unborn child as “a member of the species Homo Sapiens, at any stage of development, who is carried in the womb.”

That’s also why, two years earlier, President Bush had signed the “Born-Alive Infants Protection Act,” which protects little ones born alive after their attempted abortions. The infamous Kermit Gosnell blew off this law when he murdered such children with indifferent brutality for years in his Philadelphia “charnel house.” His evil actions show why the law is needed.

We spend a lot of time and money finding out how to protect the unborn.

You can put a little suit on a dachshund and call it a businessman, but he remains a dog. You can use all kinds of dodges to say that the unborn child isn’t a human being, a person, but she remains one of us. Someone made by her Creator in His image.

And as Abraham Lincoln said in a speech given in Lewiston, Illinois in 1858, “Nothing stamped with the Divine image and likeness was sent into the world to be trodden on, and degraded, and imbruted by its fellows.” The kinds of things our country allows to happen to more than 2,700 unborn babies every day.

By the way, did you know that there’s a device you can wear (if you’re pregnant, that is) that will keep you from sleeping on your back during pregnancy? That’s more good news, since “supine” sleep can increase risk of stillbirth and low birth weight.

That fetus — I mean, baby — deserves a healthy start, after all.


Rob Schwarzwalder is a Senior Contributor at The Stream and a Senior Lecturer at Regent University. Raised in Washington State, he lived with his family in the suburban D.C. area for nearly 25 years until coming to Regent in the summer of 2016. Rob was Senior Vice-President at the Family Research Council for more than seven years, and previously served as chief-of-staff to two Members of Congress. He was also a communications and media aide to a U.S. Senator and senior speechwriter for the Hon. Tommy Thompson, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. For several years, he was Director of Communications at the National Association of Manufacturers. While on Capitol Hill, he served on the staffs of members of both Senate and House Armed Services Committees and the Senate Committee with oversight of federal healthcare policy.

Rob is focused on the intersection of theology, culture and politics. His background in public policy has been informed by his service on Capitol Hill, the private sector and various Christian ministries. His op-eds have been published in numerous national publications, ranging from TIME and U.S. News and World Report to Christianity Today, The Federalist and The Public Discourse, as well as scores of newspapers and opinion journals. He has been interviewed on National Public Radio, Fox News, and other leading television and radio programs. Rob’s scholarly publications include studies of such issues as fatherlessness, pornography, federal economic policy and national security.

Rob has done graduate work at George Washington University and holds an M.A. in theology from Western Seminary (Portland, Ore.) and an undergraduate degree from Biola University. He and his wife of 35 years, Valerie, make their home in Virginia Beach and have three children.