If an unborn baby isn’t a human person with rights, when does it become one? Some abortion advocates have drawn that line at the second trimester, while others point to fetal heartbeat or detectable brain activity. The left rejects any abortion restrictions and insist it’s okay to murder a baby at any point even during birth.
Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 verdict that legalized the murder of unborn babies was built on a lie that there was no way to say for certain when life begins. Let’s clear up the confusion because it is extremely dangerous when the powerful have the right to determine the true worth and personhood of the less powerful.
In biological terms, life begins at conception. It is an irrefutable fact of biology and there are all sorts of authoritative, public resources to prove it. When considered alongside the law of biogenesis, that every species reproduces after its own kind, we can draw only one conclusion in regard to abortion – no matter what the circumstances of conception, no matter how far along in the pregnancy, abortion ends the life of an individual human being.
Personhood is properly defined by membership in the human species, not by stage of development within that species, but by its biological characteristics, actual and potential, which are genetically determined. If we say that the fetus is not human, we must say it is a member of another species. But this cannot be.
What makes a dog a dog is that he came from dogs. His father was a dog, his mother was a dog and therefore he is a dog. What makes a human a human is that he came from humans so he can be nothing other than a human. Personhood is not something to be bestowed by intellectual elites with vested interests in ridding society of what they consider to be undesirables.
The left’s slogan, My Body, My Choice, is a lie. At no point in pregnancy is the developing embryo or fetus a part of the mother’s body. There are a number of clear biological facts and all sorts of legal precedents that easily refute this claim. In living things, the instructions for their physiological makeup are embedded in each of their cells. Therefore, if an unborn child is part of the mother’s body, they would share the same genetic code and they don’t. In other words, mother and child are two distinct unique individuals.
The unborn is itself composed of parts. At eight weeks after conception, all the major organs we normally think of as body parts are present, even if not yet functioning. Now if the unborn has parts and the unborn is itself a part of the mother, then the parts of the unborn would have to be called parts of the mother. This is called a transitive relation. But this leads to obvious absurdities. No matter how you spin it, women don’t have four arms and 4 legs when they’re pregnant – those extra appendages belong to the tiny life living inside the womb.
Think about a single brick in a wall. The brick becomes part of the wall because it contributes to the wholeness of the wall and to its function. Place does not equal part. Posters and graffiti are usually taped to the wall, but they don’t constitute the wall’s parts. Humans are connected to different things like clothes, jewelry, cell phones, other humans, etc., but that doesn’t mean those things become part of them. So, it is safe to say that physical connectedness does not make the unborn part of the mother either.
Some will point to the fact that the unborn is dependent on the mother for nutrition and survival. Every person born is dependent in some way on others, but they’re still individuals. In fact, very early in development, the embryo is nutritionally self-sufficient as the yolk sac serves as a rudimentary circulatory system for a short time. If nutritional dependence means the unborn is a part of the mother or is not an individual, then this would mean that the unborn shifts from being an individual, prior to relying on the mother for nutrition, to not being an individual, after it does rely on the mother for nutrition, and then back to being an individual at some point after birth, which is absurd.
In half of all pregnancies the baby is not even the same sex as the mother. Sexual identity is determined by the chromosome carried by the male gamete (sperm) in fertilization. If the mother dies it is possible for the unborn child to live just as it is possible for the unborn child to die, and the mother live. That certainly couldn’t happen if the unborn child was part of the mother’s body. And, contrary to popular thought, the unborn does not share a circulatory system or blood with the mother. In many cases, the blood type of the unborn child is different and since one body cannot function with two different blood types, it is clearly not the mother’s blood.
As Randy Alcorn states in his book Pro-Life Answers to Pro-Choice Arguments, a Chinese zygote implanted in a Swedish woman will always be Chinese, not Swedish, because his identity is based on his genetic code, not on that of the body in which he resides. When the embryo implants in the lining of the uterus, it emits chemical substances which weaken the woman’s immune system within the uterus so that this tiny “foreign” body is not rejected by the woman’s body. Were this tiny embryo simply “part of the woman’s body” there would be no need to locally disable the woman’s immunities.
Once it becomes unquestionably acceptable to murder an unborn child, no one who is weak or vulnerable will ever be safe. Is a handicapped person fully human? Is their life meaningful? How about the elderly? If those who can no longer function independently deserve to die, what about those who do not hold to the popular flavor of the month political agenda? Do we really want to trust our lives to the skewed logic of the abortion rights movement?
“The womb is not a quiet, isolated place; life within it offers abundant and varied experiences that prepare the baby for the world they will meet. We are learning to recognize how sensitive, able and already experienced a newly born baby is. It arrives able to breathe and feed and occasionally complain loudly. It is also able, in quiet and subtle ways, to respond to people and is so endearing in its action that it can elicit the loving care it needs…New means of observation have made it possible to discover how responsive and active the baby already is in the months preceding birth…” Geraldine Lux Flanagan, Beginning Life, New York: DK, 1996, page 9