Abortion - Pro-life Arguments

The scientific evidence is clear, a biologically distinct human individual is present from the moment of conception. This is irrefutable. The conceptus is certainly NO blob of the mother's tissue. In fact IT IS IN CHARGE, releasing a chemical from its cells (human chorionic gonadotrophin) that SHUTS DOWN menstruation and begins the effects of pregnancy in the mother. Abortion is, therefore, the direct, intentional ending of an individual human life, biologically distinct from that of the mother or father. It cannot be anything other than the subjective judgment that this life has no value, or lesser value, than the mother's. Once a society permits this it has no logical reason, other than the will of individuals or the state, to forbid infanticide, euthanasia and selective homicide (as in Nazi Germany) for eugenic or other reasons found to be persuasive.

Another pro-life argument is the philosophical one. Philosophically we can trace our individual, personal being and existence back to the moment of conception. Therefore, "you" and "I" were once this little one-celled, or two-celled, or four-celled human being. Not only does human life begin biologically at conception, but the ineffable mystery of the person does, as well. The ending of a life in the womb is the ending of the personal "I" that would have been conscious of itself later on. The absence of the means of consciousness in the womb, as at any stage of life, does not mean the person is not present, any more than being mentally deficient, asleep or in a coma means that "Betty" or "Bill" or whomever has ceased to be human person. The continuity of human personhood is the same as the continuity of human life, otherwise, we are reduced to the illogic that it depends on the human will when personhood begins - the mother accepts it, or the state accepts it, or it is conscious of itself, or some other subjective criteria.

As far as theology is concerned it can be shown that in the "Didache" (Teaching of the Twelve Apostles, 2nd century), and other early writings, both abortion and infanticide were condemned. At no time has the Church done otherwise, though the penalties have varied in different eras based on judgements about when the human being was biologically and philosophically present. Science has since resolved those questions, as noted above, so that we know today with certainty that human life begins and should be protected "from the moment of conception."

Answered by Colin B. Donovan, STL

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