When does human life begin? Part Two

I finished my last post with this question: Is the fetus a human being?

A better question is this one: When does human life begin?

There isn’t even debate on this one. Not really. Try this article for size. Click here.

Human life begins at conception. A new human being is created with a unique and distinctive genetic code. There is no such thing as ‘a potential human being.’ The biological facts are clear. This certainly settles the ‘but it’s just my body’ argument. That’s simply false.

The debate should be over . . .

Is a zygote (first stage of human development) a human being? Yes.

Is it morally wrong to kill innocent, defenceless human beings? Yes. Debate over.

But it isn’t, is it? For many reasons. So let’s deal with the next objection:

If you outlaw abortion, women will just go and have ‘back-street’ abortions.

Commonly called ‘the back-street abortion’ objection. Why does the argument fail?

In the field of ethics, it’s common to try and assess how much harm is caused to different parties. In this case, however, only one side of the equation is being considered. It is true that harm may come to a woman having abortion. She may not want the child, or perhaps there is risk associated with the pregnancy. Could be any number of reasons why the abortion is wanted.

But what about the other side of the scale? We’re talking about another human being. That’s already established on the basis of biology. So, which is more harmful? Taking the life of the new human being or the potential harm to the woman? There is nothing more harmful than killing something. To induce death, that’s undoubtedly the worst. And no amount of harm to the woman can be considered sufficient to justify the taking of a human life. (Later, I’ll deal with the ‘life of the mother’ issue)

Given these facts, the ‘back-street argument’ fails.

Finally observation. Notice the euphemisms used in this debate. ‘End a pregnancy.’ ‘Terminate a pregnancy.’ ‘Pro-choice.’ ‘A woman’s right to choose.’ The language is critical here. And very powerful. You’ll never read ‘kill a child’ or ‘destroy a human life.’

Given the strength of the pro-life position and the power of these arguments, why generally speaking, do they fail in our society?

Next time, the clever twisting and turning, the manipulation of language employed to persuade us that abortion isn’t actually the taking of human life.


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