Sally goes into her kitchen to make a batch of buns. She pulls out all the ingredients from her cupboards – eggs, sugar, flour, a pinch of salt, vanilla, baking soda, butter and sultanas – puts them all into a big bowl and mixes them up. She then tips the mixture into some greased tins, which she then pops it into the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
The recipe says to leave the buns in the oven for 25 minutes before taking them out, but instead of doing this, Sally takes them out after just five minutes. Looking down at the partially cooked goo, she mutters to herself that the buns are inedible and “unviable”. Then she has a great idea. She puts them back in the oven for another 20 minutes, and at the end takes them out fully cooked and ready to eat. Turns out they were “viable” after all.
Now I’ve always found the expression “bun in the oven” – meaning she’s pregnant – to be a tad on the crass side. But there is a good analogy to be had here between buns in the oven, and Buns in the Oven – if you take my meaning – provided of course you don’t take it too far!
Much of the discussions that take place between legislators when they debate the issue of when the law should allow abortions centres on the issue of what is called the “age of viability”, which is apparently the age that medical science is able to keep a premature baby alive. Can doctors keep a 24-week-old baby alive? Possibly. How about 23? Sometimes. What about 22? Unlikely. 21? No chance, at least not presently. From this, the so-called age of viability is determined, with any baby that makes it over the threshold being deemed viable, and those who have not yet made the grade deemed unviable and so potential abortion fodder.
Yet do you notice what has gone on here? Why is a 16-week old baby deemed to be unviable? It is deemed to be so because medical science cannot keep it alive outside the womb. If it is born into the world at that age, it will die. But what if the 16-week old baby is kept inside the womb? Is it unviable? No, it is perfectly viable because what man-made science cannot do, God-made science can.
The viability argument is therefore a sleight-of-hand manoeuvre, essentially going something like this: Because a baby cannot survive outside the womb at such and such an age, all babies at this age and below are deemed to be unviable and therefore potential subjects for abortion. But the absurdity in this argument can be seen in the fact that each one of us that actually makes it out of the womb and into this world was, under this definition, once upon a time unviable. But you can tell from the fact that we are here that this is not the case. At what point did we all become viable? Was it at the point that medical science could have saved us had we been born prematurely? Or were we always viable?
Well, go and ask Sally what she’s putting into the oven. How will she reply? “I’m putting some inedible cake mixture into the oven and after 12 minutes and 17 seconds it will become buns?” No, she’ll probably say, “I’m putting some buns in the oven.” She knows they are buns from the get go. She knows that even when they haven’t risen and so don’t look like fully cooked buns. She knows that taking them out before their time will destroy them. And she also knows that if they are left alone for the full time, they will come out fine. In other words, she knows they always were and always will be viable. Just like every baby from the moment of conception.