by Catherine Kinsey, Education and Events Coordinator, Right to Life of Michigan
The genesis of every other myth circulated by the abortion industry is the myth that an unborn child isn’t a person. If everyone were willing to admit unborn babies are human persons, the various other arguments surrounding the topic wouldn’t matter. The abortion issue would simply come down to whether you believed it is acceptable to take an innocent human life or not.
This myth was easier to spread before modern technology allowed us to see unborn babies through ultrasound with such clarity and learn how much growth and development happens even in the earliest days. A new, unique person is created at fertilization with unique DNA, separate from her mother and father. Her heart begins beating around 21 days after fertilization; her brain begins forming around 4 weeks. At 12 weeks, all major body parts and organs are present. With modern medical advances, babies can survive outside the womb as early as 19 weeks after fertilization.
If you deny human life begins at fertilization, there must be another point at which it begins. How do you choose that point?
The most extreme abortion supporters would say life begins after birth. However, no physical changes happen to the baby from the few minutes before birth to the minutes after it has passed through the birth canal. It is illogical to claim the physical location of the baby determines whether it is a human person or not.
Some believe the unborn baby is a person once it has the ability to survive outside the womb. But does this mean the humanity of the unborn changes with every medical advancement? It certainly wasn’t always possible for babies at 21 weeks of pregnancy to survive outside the womb—were they formerly sub-human?
We cannot know where medical technology will take us. In the future, babies may someday survive before 20 weeks, or before 15 weeks. It is impossible to rationally choose a certain point of development where the unborn suddenly becomes a human being. Their development is a continual process, with the clear starting point when a new life begins at fertilization.
Unfortunately, even with technology allowing us to see the unborn in the womb, it is all too easy for abortion supporters to convince people to ignore the humanity of the unseen child. The truth of abortion gets covered in euphemisms and inessential arguments to distract from the taking of human life.