Right to life

Jaap Vermeulen, Jacoplane in a Neonatal intens...

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When does life begin? I worked part-time in a hospital NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) for almost 20 years and I had lots of time both on and off the job to try to decide when life begins. Some time between conception and birth, but when exactly? I lean toward the belief that life begins at birth or shortly before birth. As medical science has progressed, we are able to increase a child’s chances of surviving with shorter and shorter gestation periods. We have not yet reached the ability to produce a living child outside the mother’s body from the moment of conception, as in Huxley’s Brave New World.

Whenever it begins, life is sacred. The sanctity of life does not end at the moment of birth. We owe the child born due to our laws and our religious beliefs, the same support that we want for children born of our own bodies. Every child deserves a good start in life with adequate, healthy food and quality, affordable health care. Education to a certain level should be free to produce the next generation of productive workers and informed citizens. We must protect all children, and adults too, from random violence, contaminated food and water, auto accidents, demented shooters, and needless wars, at least as best we can.

It was traditional that saving a person’s life made the hero responsible for that person’s life from that moment on. If some of us believe that life begins at conception and propose to save the lives of children who might be the victims of abortion, then those who so believe become responsible for the lives that they preserve. We cannot and we must not abandon children to their fate after birth.


Hospital sign

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Where the elite meet to greet

The sick

Where the sick come to be cured

Or to meet their Maker

Where health care professionals come

To practice makes perfect

Realm of initials

ER, OR, RR, RR Xing

Railroad crossing

Flashing lights

OT and PT

Tea and crumpets anyone?

GI tract, GI lab

Enlisted men over here

Officers over there

Oncology, radiology, TV-ology

Nuc-med, stress, stress testing


Must you be a card to

Work in cardiology?

Lab tests, EEG, EKG

Urine specimens, blood draws

This won’t hurt, much, me

You maybe

Hold still, sit still, stand still

Jog in place

DC, discharge home or elsewhere

The bills trickle or flood in

How much?

You’ve got to be kidding.

What I learned working in a hospital.