Royal baby: The media’s reaction shows the unborn are people too

Spot the difference: 1: “The child will be the Queen’s sixth great-grandchild”. 2: Medical abortion “involves taking two sets of pills and waiting for the pregnancy to pass”.

The first sentence tells the happy news of the Duchess of Cambridge’s third child who, we are told, is in the early stages of life.

The second is from a 2017 news report on abortion statistics.

But note carefully the words in the royal news: it is a “child”. Not a “pregnancy”, not even a “foetus” and certainly not a “bundle of cells”.

Its life is even mapped out: “The expected child will become the fifth in line to the throne”, the article says elsewhere.

That is exactly right – this child really is a living being and much more than just a “pregnancy”.

The contrasting statements both come from the BBC. But the Corporation was far from alone in describing the news this way – The Guardian, MailOnline and Sky News all did the same.

One-sided stance

The BBC is funded by millions of licence-fee payers and trusted by millions more, so it really matters what it says and how it says it.

The Corporation’s style guide entry on abortion gives a glimpse into its usual one-sided stance on the issue.

It tells reporters to “avoid pro-abortion, and use pro-choice instead”, adding “use anti-abortion rather than pro-life”.

Humanity of the unborn

But in its article reporting the royal news, “child” is used six times to refer to the future royal and “baby” twice.

Maybe that is because so many people are already invested in this weeks-old royal baby.

Or maybe it is because the journalist truly understands the human nature of the unborn child.

This all points to something Christians call Common Grace – when people who are not believers agree with Christian ethical teaching.

Development in the womb

Because even though the child is reportedly less than twelve weeks old, some amazing development has already taken place:

• At five weeks, the heart is forming, the nervous system is taking shape and some blood vessels are present;

• At week six the heart can sometimes be seen beating;

• The brain is growing rapidly at week seven, along with the inner ear.

And all this before most women have their first scan to reveal that grainy, heart-flutter inducing image.

Changing minds?

Currently, in Great Britain it is legal to abort children up to 24 weeks, or up to birth if it is believed that the baby will be born with a disability.

But it is not a surprise that many disagree with the law. A recent poll found 70 per cent of women want the current time limit to be lowered. And 60 per cent of respondents said the limit should be reduced to 20 weeks or below.

Maybe the news of this royal baby will help change more and more people’s minds.

Grateful acknowledgements to blogger Archbishop Cranmer for first pointing this out.