When I was training as a medical laboratory technologist (a long time ago), the term ‘foetus’ (or in the US ‘fetus’) was only used in the medical field. Ordinary people spoke about ‘unborn babies’ or ‘the baby’. Someone might ask expectant parents, “What are you going to name the baby?” or ask the expectant mother, “How is the baby?” She might answer, “This baby is very active. He is kicking me all the time.” or something similar. Have you seen an expectant mother wearing a t-shirt with an arrow pointing down to her stomach and a sign which says, “Baby here.” ? Did you ever see the UNESCO poster a while back, with a baby in utero, and the comment, “This might be the only home this baby will ever know.” ? Notice how the unborn baby is not called a ‘foetus’ in ordinary conversation. Only when one is talking about abortion is the word ‘foetus’ used. This is a clever move. We picture a ‘baby’ as something with big eyes, dimples, a cute smile, an innocent and very lovable being. A ‘foetus’ , on the other hand, does not sound all that human. It is not a ‘cute’ word. By using the word ‘foetus’ we can disassociate what we know as babies from the abortion discussion.
Maybe we should examine our use of language in this case. When do we use ‘foetus’ and when do we use ‘baby’? If an unborn child is ‘a baby’ how does it affect our feeling about abortion?
There is a newly released book, ‘Unplanned’ by Abby Johnson, a former director of an abortion clinic in the US. I suggest you read it. I haven’t read it yet, but have seen an interview on Focus on the Family and plan to read it soon.