What can not be thought of on television still? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
I am giving this an ambiguous title due to the necessity of spoilers. If you watch the series regularly like I do and you have not yet seen last Monday’s episode, then do not read this yet. There are spoilers. You have been warned. Any knowledge of what happens at this point is on your head and not mine.
So in this latest episode, it is dealing with the revelation from the prior one that Shaun, the autistic good doctor, was given by his girlfriend Lea. She’s pregnant. Obviously, the baby is his as she hasn’t been being intimate with anyone else.
Then there came the question of what to do. Were they really ready to have children? Were they ready for that kind of commitment? Could the child be on the spectrum like Shaun is? What about their careers?
Absent from this was the question of “Is this a human life?” I suspect there’s a reason that wasn’t debated on a show about medical medicine. It’s because the evidence is clear. This is a human life. Once that is said, the cat is out of the bag.
- “Although life is a continuous process, fertilization (which, incidentally, is not a ‘moment’) is a critical landmark because, under ordinary circumstances, a new genetically distinct human organism is formed when the chromosomes of the male and female pronuclei blend in the oocyte.” — Ronan O’Rahilly and Fabiola Müller, Human Embryology and Teratology, 3rd edition. New York: Wiley-Liss, 2001. p. 8.
- “Human development begins at fertilization, the process during which a male gamete or sperm unites with a female gamete or oocyte (ovum) to form a single cell called a zygote. This highly specialized, totipotent cell marked the beginning of each of us as a unique individual.” –Keith L. Moore and T.V.N. Persaud, The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology, 7th edition, Philadelphia, PA: Saunders, 2003. p. 16.
- “Human embryos begin development following the fusion of definitive male and female gametes during fertilization… This moment of zygote formation may be taken as the beginning or zero time point of embryonic development.” –William J. Larsen, Essentials of Human Embryology, New York: Churchill Livingstone, 1998. pp. 1, 14.
- “Every time a sperm cell and ovum unite, a new being is created which is alive and will continue to live unless its death is brought about by some specific condition.” — E.L. Potter, M.D., and J.M. Craig, M.D. Pathology of the Fetus and the Infant (3rd Edition). Chicago: Year Book Medical Publishers, 1975, page vii.
- “It is the penetration of the ovum by a spermatozoan and the resultant mingling of the nuclear material each brings to the union that constitutes the culmination of the process of fertilization and marks the initiation of life of a new individual.” –Bradley M. Patton, Human Embryology, 3rd Ed., (New York: McGraw Hill, 1968), p. 43.
- “It is possible to give ‘human being’ a precise meaning. We can use it as equivalent to ‘member of the species Homo sapiens’. Whether a being is a member of a given species is something that can be determined scientifically, by an examination of the nature of the chromosomes in the cells of living organisms. In this sense there is no doubt that from the first moments of its existence an embryo conceived from human sperm and eggs is a human being.” –Peter Singer, Practical Ethics, 2nd ed. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993), pp. 85-86.
- “Perhaps the most straightforward relation between you and me on the one hand and every human fetus on the other is this: All are living members of the same species, homo sapiens. A human fetus after all is simply a human being at a very early stage in his or her development.” –David Boonin, A Defense of Abortion. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2003) 20.
“A human fetus is not a nonhuman animal; it is a stage of a human being.” –Wayne L. Sumner, Abortion and Moral Theory, (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1981), p. 10.
(Special thanks to Clinton Wilcox for his help in this information.)
Now in an earlier episode in this situation, one doctor did refuse to do an abortion for her beliefs on life, but it is all too different when it involves the main characters. Much of the episode dealt with this question. Are they going to have an abortion or not?
I found it interesting hearing Lea say she wasn’t sure she was ready for that kind of commitment. Reality is, if you are having sex, you are already saying you are ready. One of the natural consequences of sex is human life coming into being. If you are not ready, then hold off, but if you think you can be committed enough to a human being that you can be naked before them and completely vulnerable, you are ready for the commitment to be a parent then. If you are not, then don’t engage.
Naturally, those of us on the Christian side don’t really support sex before marriage, but our society is at the point where marriage is no longer sacred really and sex is no big deal. This is why Christians need to be taking their thoughts on marriage and sex seriously. We have to be a contrast to the world.
In the end, the couple decide even at the clinic after Lea’s name has been called to not go through with it. I really wasn’t surprised at this. Why is that?
Because in our day and age, we can practically show a rape on TV. (Game of Thrones anyone?) We can show conception. We can show full male and female nudity. We can show the birth process.
Somehow, we still can’t show abortion.
Could it be we really don’t want to confront this? Could it be we really don’t want to watch something like the Silent Scream? Could it be that we don’t want to see a main character on a show go in a room pregnant and come out not pregnant and without a child? Perhaps we have more conscience as a society than we realize.
Our society if it decides to take this question seriously I think will be put in a binding position. If we take abortion seriously, we have to take sex seriously. If we take sex seriously, we have to take marriage seriously. We also have to take morality seriously. We have to realize there are moral truths and sex really means something and has consequences, including pregnancy. (We could also add in the shocker that men and women are different.)
I predict the couple will never discuss this question again. It is only dealt with once. We can rejoice that the right choice was made and we should always celebrate that no matter how a child is conceived. The child is still, as Greg Koukl would say, a precious unborn human person.
(And I affirm the virgin birth)
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