Closeup of the head of a giraffe at the Melbourne Zoo [Wikipedia]
Everybody loves April the giraffe, and now that world-wide, virtual group hug is being shown as well for April’s baby calf who finally came into the world just a few days ago. The number of people watching online as the beautiful creature give birth is astounding; the event was the second most live-viewed channel in YouTube history. YouTube says that April’s livestream garnered more than 232 million live views and 7.6 billion minutes of live watch time since February.
April and her calf weren’t just breaking YouTube records. The internet and many print media outlets had been exploding with news about the dazzling duo for weeks. A quick search on Google for “April the giraffe” turns up over 15 million results from which to choose. Beyond Kim Kardashian, who gets that kind of staggering exposure? Toy makers, retail outlets, and theme parks around the country are, of course, also jumping on the April-and-baby-calf band wagon. How to explain the interest?
Granted, it’s not every day that we are able to have such a close and intimate view of wildlife. It’s fascinating, unique to most of us, and reminds us of the beauty of nature. Most people I know are animal lovers, myself included. But I wonder how many of us have stopped to reflect upon what the respect, fascination, awe, and non-stop worldwide news coverage of April’s delivery says about our priorities? Think about the amount attention lavished on this pregnancy and birth in the animal kingdom compared to the lack of respect, attention, and even mere acknowledgement often evident when it comes to the miracle of human life in the womb.
I spent some time going through quite a few of the “April the giraffe” links that popped up from my internet search and noticed something interesting about the public discourse that takes place when it comes to animal life versus human life. In addition to the continued cries for abortion on demand, which have been growing lately because of efforts to defund Planned Parenthood, comes an increase in the efforts to deny what happens in the womb of a pregnant woman. Giddy, breathless news reports, tweets, and Facebook posts included references to April’s “baby”, such as this reference from the Washington Post: “April the giraffe finally had her baby. It’s a boy.”
In addition, numerous writers, newscasters, and bloggers couldn’t contain themselves with the latest April news story craze about the possible name of the new calf. Yet so many of the same people will jump through hoops to describe a human baby in the womb as anything but an actual “baby”. How many times do we see or hear the developing child referred to as a “fetus”, “clump of cells”, “a reproductive right”, or “a choice”especially when the issue of abortion is being discussed in the public square? Last year, the folks at NARAL-Pro Choice America nearly lost their minds over a Dorito’s commercial (which was first shown during the Super Bowl) featuring ultrasound images of, yes,a babybecause according to the pro- abortion group, the ad creators had the audacity to “humanize the fetus.” And yet many folks in our circle of family and friends were glued to their phones, tablets, and other devices waiting for April to have that baby.
In recent weeks, the anti-life rhetoric has become so hostile that pro-life activists on college campuses have had their displays destroyed by abortion supporters claiming their images and statements are little more than fiction and propaganda. Nothing against April and her new bouncing baby calf, but it’s pretty obvious that those standing up for and celebrating human life are not exactly feeling the same love being showered upon the newest member of the animal kingdom. And neither are the 3,000 babies killed each day in the United States through legalized abortion.
Earlier this month, in another undercover video involving Planned Parenthood and allegations of profiting from the body parts of aborted babies, a clinic director expressed disgust at the description by some to describe the life in the womb: “We have the people who do our paperwork for the fetal death certificates, they email us calling them ‘babies’. Baby this, baby that, baby so-and-so, and I’m like, that’s creepy!” Such remarks illustrate just how far over the cliff we've gone.
Scripture says we must “speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves” (Proverbs 31:8). There’s nothing wrong, of course, with protecting and admiring animal life. But the “April the giraffe” sensation highlights the schizophrenic, barbaric nature of insisting that human babies, in the womb, are not worthy of life and are not, from the moment of conception, priceless creatures made in the image and likeness of God.