We had two doves in our small aviary. They cooed up a storm to our annoyance. They were two males cooing for a mate. When they were replaced with a proper pair there was quiet. They lay and hatched two eggs. They have two “adolescent’ doves and have two added eggs under incubation.
I began thinking about the right to life before March 14, 2017 which is the date of my 91st. birthday. Some 9 months before my birth a sperm from my father fortuitively met an egg in my mother, That was the beginning of me.
I vividly remember standing beside the still, but still warm body, of my mother in the early morning of May 21, 1985, and thinking about my conception and prenatal development in the safety of the body from whom the breath of life had left.
At the moment of my conception did I become a living soul? At that moment was I endowed in the words of the declaration of independence by my Creator with the unalienable right to life?Three people were present at my birth. My mother, of course, whose maiden name was Martin; my father whose surname was Lehman; and Dr. Weagley from the village of Marion. He had crossed the Conocheague Creek, drove through the woods and up the hill on what is now Lehman Road, Franklin County, Pennsylvania to the home of my earliest memories. My parents named me Martin Weagley Lehman.
For years I was not at peace with my middle name because children were inclined to change Weagley to wiggly with a giggle. So I did not divulge what W. stood for except to a few adult close friends whom I could trust to respect me.
But I’ve learned to revere the old doctor. I was never told the details, but I felt hints that my home birth carried more than the usual risks. Dr. Weagley was tasked to preserve the lives of both my mother and me. Both of us had the right to life. The birth could have robbed my mother, me, or both of us of our rights to life. If bringing me to birth would have sacrificed the life of my mother or me for one of us to live, I would have preferred that my mother live out her ninety year life as the wife of my father and the mother of my brother who was six years older and me.