Pro-life nurture of organogenesis…

/ 11 May 2003

I am once again in the middle of reading Sandra Steingraber’s compelling prose, this time her book “Having Faith,” which is subtitled “an ecologist’s journey to motherhood.” She writes beautifully, and accessibly — I feel like I’ve learned more about the complicated and ornate chemistry and biology of pregnancy in a few short chapters than ever I did in all of the voracious reading I did during my two pregnancies. Much of the early section of her book (which traces her own pregnancy), explores the awesome process of “organogenesis,” which is how biologists describe the miracle of human development in the early weeks of pregnancy. Just now I’m reading a section where she is talking about the truly dismaying lack of research into environmental interactions with birth defects, and it occurred to me that all of us who believe life indeed begins prior to birth ought to be truly active on all of these environmental issues which have such a strong impact on that early life. I wonder what kind of an impact religious activists might have if instead of focusing on abortion to the exclusion of all else, they focused, instead, on how to live sustainably, how to ban toxic chemicals from our environments, how to truly nurture and protect the early days of life? (Clearly I also believe in the seamless web of life argument, which assumes that we ought to work towards protecting life at all ages… but I wonder about bringing new energy to the environmental issues…)