Some people claim that consciousness, or self-consciousness, is the determining factor in defining humanity or personhood. In that case, there may be many mentally challenged people walking around who are not humans. There are people in comas who are not humans. There are senile elderly people who are not humans. And every time we go to sleep we cease to be human.
Confronted with these statements, one person realized that the consciousness argument failed and thus claimed that the counter argument did not apply to the mentally challenged, the comatose, the senile, and the sleeping because they were once conscious and the mentally challenged may someday be “cured” by medical advances. Obviously, there is a certain moment at which we realize that a person is making any argument they can possibly concoct in order to continue to believe whatever they want, even if they have to come up with unfounded arguments that are clearly grasping at straws.
Even if we grant that a human baby is not a person, our society is very much in favor of animal rights, these animals are neither humans nor persons but they are afforded rights and protection under the law and human persons go to jail when they violate animal protection laws. For example, a representative of an animal rights organization was tasked with overseeing the filming of Stephen King’s movie “Creep Show.” This person was there in order to ensure the proper care of the hundreds of cockroaches used in a segment of the movie.
There is also the case of a road rage incident in which a man reached inside a woman’s car window, pulled her little dog out, and threw it into oncoming traffic where it was struck and died. There was a reward for his arrest in the amount of circa $50,000.00. Around the same time the reward for two missing teens in the same town came nowhere near this amount. The man ended up with a sentence of three years in jail with no possibility of parole. We as a society fervently support the protection of non-human, non-person beings.
Clearly a human-person is such when they are in utero, an infant, a toddler, adolescent, adult, elderly, mentally challenged, comatose, senile, or sleeping. Thus, there is no reason to exclude embryos from the human-person family. A child in a human womb is human whether they are born after nine months, early birthed or late. If we could not count on a baby to be born human, then the mother might buy baby clothes as well as a fish tank or a kennel in case the baby is of a different species. Human DNA is human DNA and it will never produce anything but a human.
If an embryo is not ontologically a human-person then a seed is not ontologically plant material. The seed and the flower are different stages of life just as an embryo and an adult are human-persons in different stages of life. A flower does not cease to be a flower once it has produced seeds. A mature plant that has produced seeds does not cease to be a plant. The differences are not ontological rather they are different stages in a life cycle. A seed becomes a plant which produces shoots, flowers, seeds and yet, all of these are stages of plant life.
A few days after a debate about abortion, a conversation came up about robots. The “Imperial Storm Troopers” from the Star Wars movies were mentioned. It was pointed out that initially, one may think that they were robots but they were really humans who are covered completely from head to toe in armor.
A person who believes that abortion should be a protected right that we ought not oppose, said something brilliant. He started talking about how the great thing about the Imperial Storm Troopers was that you did not feel bad when they were killed since you could not see blood or the expression on their faces. He explained that they were dehumanized and therefore easer to kill and easier for us to watch being killed.
This was a well articulated the point regarding the out of sight, out of mind nature of abortion. The Imperial Storm Troopers logic is likewise applied to beautiful human babies. This is why Pro-Abortionists oppose the showing of photographs of the very abortions which they support: they do not want the visual facts of that which they support to be shown. If you can imagine Nazis opposing the showing of photos from the Holocaust then you can imagine what it must be like to be this sort of Pro-Abortionists.
Note also that when a woman who loves her baby is pregnant she will never, ever, refer to her baby as an “embryo.” It is her “baby” at every stage of her pregnancy. The term embryo is a scientifically technically correct term but it is used in order to dehumanize a beautiful little baby. An embryo is a human-person who just happens to be small enough that it cannot speak up for its own right to simply live.
Here are some relevant essays and books.
Randy C. Alcorn, Why Pro-Life?: Caring for the Unborn and Their Mothers
Randy C. Alcorn, Pro-Life Answers to Pro-Choice Arguments Expanded & Updated
Scott Klusendorf, Pro-Life 101: A Step-by-Step Guide to Making Your Case Persuasively
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