At conception something new comes into existence that didn’t exist before, and the process through which it develops and matures is an extremely gradual one extending through and even after birth. That it is alive is shown by the fact that it takes in nutrients and secretes wastes. That it is human is shown by its DNA, and any biologist could identify it as a human zygote or embryo. This individual combines the genetic heritage of two different lineages. We can say, for example, that if allowed to develop normally, this individual will have its grandmother’s red hair and blue eyes, its mother’s good ear for music and its father’s tall lanky build. It is not just a distinct individual, but also a family member.Looks like even the courts are starting to acknowledge the biological reality. The Ontario Court of Appeal recently mentioned in its ruling that "a foetus becomes a child when it (the foetus) has reached a stage in its development when, but for some external event or other circumstances, it would likely have been born alive". So, it's a child, concealing his body is illegal, but somehow he's neither a person nor a human under our legal system. Hopefully it doesn't take another 20 years for the courts to notice the inconsistency of their point of view and to realize that every human being is a person and every human life must be protected from conception to natural death.
We would all agree that a newborn infant is a person. But if look back at its development in the womb, there is no point at which it undergoes any sort of radical change that could make it become a person at that point when it had not been one before. Birth is just a change of location. Breathing air hardly seems to make a big moral difference. At a certain point in the pregnancy the baby becomes able to survive outside the womb. This point is called the point of viability, and it is constantly getting earlier in pregnancy as medical technology improves. But whether it can live outside the womb or not does not change the basic kind of thing it is. Already in its earliest stages of development the implanted zygote exhibits an inner-directed process of growth and development which will ordinarily culminate in a fully developed human infant unless somehow interfered with. Although we can’t know for sure what its inner conscious states are, the unborn individual is sensitive to touch as early as 7 weeks, and is certainly capable of feeling pain quite early on.
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Some basic facts - a primer on pro-life arguments from Life Site News: