Ch.3: Science on Human Life

The Education Necessary To Preserve Democracy Now Under Attack

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Go To Chapter 2: History of Human Rights and Freedoms

Chapter 3: What Does the Science of Biology Say About Human Life and How Does That Properly Inform or Affect Law and Policy (Including Legal Definitions of Personhood)?

Usually “Pro-Choice” advocates will try to downplay “Pro-Life” objections by claiming that abortion is not the same as killing human lives, and therefore not morally objectionable, because they claim the human fetus is somehow not really or not fully human, or somehow not yet a human person but only a “potential” human person.  But on what hard science, and on what definition or philosophy of personhood, are these claims based?  It is good to here clarify some things which uninformed and unclear thinkers have used past and present to justify not protecting human life before birth as after.

Abortion Was De-Criminalized Using Far-Outdated Life Science Which Is Now Completely Untenable:  Science Affirms that Far from a “Tissue Blob” or “Appendage” of His or Her Mother’s Body a Human Fetus (Latin for “little one”) is a Completely Unique Living Biological Organism of the Human Species with Absolutely Unique Human DNA Utterly Distinct from His or Her Mother, Who Does Not Even Share Blood with His or Her Mother (nutrients pass through a membrane by osmosis) and May Even Have a Blood Type Incompatible with His or Her Mother’s; This Unique Human Life (Just Like YOURS) Who Responds to Pain in the Womb from 8 weeks gestation is the Same Distinct Human Life with the Same Unique Human DNA in ALL Ages/Stages of His or Her Human Life-Cycle from Zygote (fertilized egg) to Senior Adult (and all stages, such as Toddler, younger than adult are not fully developed nor independent yet fully human, as YOU were at that age) So There Is No Scientific Basis to Treat Unique Humans of One Age/Stage of the Human Life-Cycle as Somehow Less Valuable Than They Are at an Older Age/Stage (Only Age-Discrimination Bigotry, like all Bigotry, Explains Not Treating All Humans Equally)

Abortion was originally de-criminalized back when scientific, medical knowledge about the full human life-cycle was much more murky than it is today.  I still remember pro-abortionists calling the human fetus a “tissue blob” that was merely part of the mother’s body in such a way that implied “if we knew for certain the fetus was human, we would want to protect it, but we think it’s just a tissue blob and therefore it’s OK to remove it.”  Abortion used to be presented as allowable in the “grey area” of being “unsure” about the true and full humanity of the human fetus.  It is important to notice that this argument, which helped abortion be made legal in the first place, is never used by pro-abortionists anymore, because hard biological, medical science makes it completely untenable.   There are no more shades of grey about the human life-cycle but rich scientific data including full colour photographs and video from micro-cameras that can go inside the human body.  Pregnant mothers who want their babies can now be shown rich details of how the distinct and unique new human life growing within them develops and interacts with his or her maternal environment at every stage of growth in the womb. According to biological science “the first stage in a unique organism’s development” is the zygote (fertilized egg).  The zygote has absolutely unique human DNA distinct from the mother’s and therefore constitutes a separate living biological organism (a living human organism: not canine or bovine, not feline nor anything but human!).  This new human life (exactly the same as YOUR human life) as it grows progresses through life-cycle stages such as embryo; fetus (Latin for “little one”); neonate (“newborn”); baby; toddler; child; adolescent; adult; senior adult. From zygote to senior adult the new human life is (and YOU ARE) the very same unique living human biological organism with the same absolutely unique human DNA: The zygote and embryo (and YOU when you were a zygote and embryo) are as much a unique human life as the toddler, just younger – and just as dependent upon their mother to live.  Even children are likely to die without their parents (or any other human adults) taking care of them, and certainly all the human life-cycle stages from toddler down to the original human zygote are totally dependent upon their parents, particularly their mother, to stay alive.  A typical “Fetal Viability” chart and article[1] indicates human fetuses (from Latin: “little ones”) born about 3 months early or 26 weeks after their biological human life began as a zygote have a 90% chance of surviving and being healthy outside of their mother’s womb (despite this, older, full term babies before their birth can still be legally killed by abortion in Canada, the U.S. and other countries).  Under 26 weeks gestational age premature births either do not survive or are likely to have health problems.  But although before this age the unique new human life is dependent upon his or her mother to survive, he or she is still so distinct a human life from his or her mother that (science now knows) the baby does not even share blood with the mother; the baby can even have a blood type incompatible with the mother’s blood type!  Nutrients pass between the mother’s blood to the baby’s separate (and possibly incompatible) blood through a membrane by the process of osmosis to feed the baby.[2]  Given the scientific evidence of biology, with or without physical pain an abortion clearly kills human lives in violation of any meaningful concept of human rights, but medical experts in the area of pain or fetal pain also confirm that the preborn baby in the womb certainly feels pain by 20 weeks gestational age, even having a higher pain sensitivity than adults, and in fact fetal age humans react to pain stimuli from needles and scalpels as early as 8-10 weeks gestational age.  International pain expert Dr. K.J.S. Anand in the February 2008 New York Times Magazine, described the pain felt during an abortion beyond 20 weeks gestational age as “severe and excruciating.”[3]

Hippocrates, who founded medicine and the doctor’s “Hippocratic Oath” to “do no harm” (the oldest form of which explicitly prohibited abortion) might have allowed a couple of the many ancient abortion methods, and a few early Christian theologians, while they did not approve of abortion, were unsure just how strongly they should oppose it.  But this limited openness to abortion was based on ignorance due to the limitations of the primitive science of their day which could not so clearly tell that a tiny mass of cells was actually a distinct and utterly unique growing human life (of course they knew nothing of DNA, and even knew nothing of cells!), and it is clear that had they known what biological science knows today about the distinct and unique human life with unique human DNA growing throughout its human life-cycle from conception to adulthood those uncertain ones would have more thoroughly opposed abortion, since human life was their key value.  For example, for a long time the “science of the day” held that human life began not at conception but at “the quickening,” which was when the mother first felt the presence of her baby in her womb.  Modern science now knows there is absolutely nothing of biological significance in the development of the preborn human baby at “the quickening;” biology tells us the fetal-age human is just as much a distinct unique human life before “the quickening” as after, but this event merely shows the baby, who has been swimming in his or her mother’s womb for some time, is finally big enough for mother to distinctly feel it.  Still, even in ancient times, when the results of an abortion (or a natural miscarriage) had a remotely human shape, even those uncertain ones (like Saint Augustine living in the 4th and 5th Centuries) wrote things like “who can doubt that the abortion is human?”  Sadly, most abortions today occur well after the preborn baby has arms, legs, head and eyes and so on, but unlike in ancient times, today’s professional abortionists, who actually have to put back together the pieces of a baby torn apart by a common vacuum suction abortion to make sure no pieces are left in the mother which might go septic and poison the mother, whisk away the dismembered human corpse so that the testimony of the baby’s humanness is left unseen by those who choose to kill their babies.[4]

Because unclear thinkers use medical/biological terms like “fetus” and “embryo” to put medical distance between themselves and those killed in abortions as if an abortion was just a medical procedure like any other, it is essential to here clarify these terms.  Just what IS a “fetus”?  Most certainly NOT just a “tissue blob,” a “fetus” is a distinct individual living organism (specifically a vertebrate or mammal) of a certain age and stage of development in its life-cycle – the stage between embryo and birth.  Just what IS an “embryo”?  Likewise an “embryo” is a distinct living organism of a certain age and stage of development in its life-cycle, however, the term “embryo” is more generic, and can refer to non-mammalian animals and even plants, anywhere between fertilization and birth or hatching (or germination for a plant).  In mammals, scientifically there is no clear distinction between an embryo and a fetus except that the term “fetus” is usually applied once the mammal (be it an elephant or dog or human) is developed enough to be basically recognizable as being a member of its species (be it elephant, dog, or human).  “Fetus” is Latin for “little one.”  Little what?  Little elephant, little dog, or little human, as the case may be.

So in the context of the abortion debate, we must be very CLEAR about the FACT that when we say “fetus” what we are actually talking about is a human fetus, that is, a distinct living HUMAN organism with absolutely unique human DNA, and not an elephant or dog or cat fetus.  And it makes no sense to say the fetus can be killed because “it’s only a fetus.”  That’s like saying a teenager can be killed because “it’s only a teenager.”  Or a toddler can be killed because “it’s only a toddler.”  The word fetus merely identifies the distinct individual living human organism’s AGE.  “Fetus” isn’t what it is, it’s how old it is.  WHAT it is, is a HUMAN LIFE.  I suggest that to be clear and to not dishonestly hide the facts, in abortion context it is best to speak not of a “fetus” as if the medical term made it somehow less human and less alive (which would be dishonest and unscientific), but to speak of a fetal age human, or even a fetal age human baby (since it is the common practice of the centuries to refer to preborn humans still in their mother’s wombs as babies).

Government-produced posters even commonly warn pregnant mothers of the potential harm of smoking and alcohol to their baby who is not yet born.  I note here that for governments to be clear and consistent in their policies, they should have warning posters at abortion clinics warning mothers of the certain harm of the abortion to their baby.  It would be best for all to see an end to the “Jekyll and Hyde” style of government we currently have.  Right now our government as “Dr. Jekyll” recognizes fetal age preborn humans as human babies that should be protected from being harmed by their mother’s choice to drink alcohol or smoke (often out of ignorance of the harm it does), and the government takes steps to educate and inform mothers of how drinking and smoking can harm their preborn baby.  But as “Mr. Hyde” the same government takes no steps to educate and inform mothers about the facts of abortion, and instead allows fetal age preborn human babies exactly like those it warns mothers not to harm with alcohol, to be ripped apart in vacuum suction abortions or “burned” to death in chemical saline abortions or otherwise killed – and the government may even pay for the execution of the baby with taxpayer’s money!  It is truly bizarre, a kind of governmental schizophrenia or “multiple personality disorder,” that our government allows the same hospital to on one floor perform delicate fetal surgeries to save the lives of preborn human babies of fetal age who have some kind of health problem threatening their lives and necessitating the surgery, and on another floor of the same hospital allows perfectly healthy fetal age human babies to be torn apart or otherwise killed in legal abortions which threaten their lives.  And government health care plans may even pay for both the surgery that saves a fetal age human life and for the surgery that kills a fetal age human life.  I suggest this is sloppy and inconsistent thinking and policy-making and is nothing less than “Jekyll and Hyde” government.  Can we humans trust such governments which are so confused about the value of human lives?

Since some unclear thinkers use the argument that a fetal age human baby can be aborted because it is not Aindependent” of his or her mother yet, it is important to note again that the baby for years after its birth is also just as absolutely dependent upon his or her mother (or other human adult) to live.  This is why several “Pro-Choice” thinkers have advocated for allowing infanticide, sometimes calling infanticide “after-birth abortion.”  Some Pro-Choice philosophers even argue that parents should be able to kill their children until age 7, as “the age of reason.”  These philosophers are not crackpots: they are using their highly trained minds consistently with the Pro-Choice logic that a human life that is not fully developed or cannot yet live on its own does not have a right to live and thus can rightly be terminated by his or her parents.  The logic of calling infanticide “after-birth abortion” and advocating for it to be legal to kill babies before or after birth is also entirely consistent with the ancient history of the “Pro-Choice” philosophy which in ancient times little distinguished between abortion and infanticide which both were expressions of the same “Pro-Choice” principle of the “right” of parents to get rid of any unwanted new human life they had conceived.  Though there were many ancient forms of abortion, including chemical “potions” (oral abortifacients) and tying things tightly against the stomach until the growing baby dies and is expelled from the mother’s body, simple infanticide, just killing the baby or (more usually in the Roman culture) abandoning him or her (most often her) to die after birth, was often preferred as the then-most-effective and safest (for the mother) method of exercising one’s “right to choose” to be a parent or not.  Logically abortion and infanticide are essentially the same thing, then and now, which is why both were banned in the 4th Century because human life was for the first time seen as valuable and precious after the Christianization of the Roman Empire, and which is why the most logically consistent Pro-Choice thinkers advocate for infanticide to be legal and even call it “after-birth abortion.”  Abortion and infanticide are equivalent by any meaningful or logical standard, and it most consistent either to ban both or allow both, depending on whether human life is understood as inherently valuable (therefore both should be banned) or human life is not inherently valuable (therefore why not allow both abortion and infanticide?).

Most of us would not be comfortable taking Pro-Choice philosophy to its full and consistent logical conclusions.  These conclusions not only include at least a certain logical openness to infanticide and even killing older children who are also “not yet developed and independent,” but the logical conclusions of Pro-Choice philosophy of necessity include saying that NONE OF US have any inherent human right to live, since all of us could have been killed perfectly legally when we were younger, before our births.  Thus I suggest that the whole Pro-Choice philosophy is untenable in a democratic context which says each human is so valuable he or she properly has a say in his or her own government.  According to the Pro-Life principles, when a particular human life becomes non-viable and dies at any stage of the human life-cycle before or after birth, preborn baby to adult, it is a human tragedy and loss, including the about 25% of pregnancies which for a variety of reasons do not progress past the first trimester.  These natural, “spontaneous abortions” in no way justify unnaturally aborting during the first trimester “since they might not live anyway.”  Fully 75% of pregnancies are viable human lives after the first trimester to full term.  If you needed an operation to stay alive and there was a 75% chance that you would survive the operation, you would undergo the operation, would you not?  In the case of first-trimester abortion there is a 75% chance the baby will live a healthy life if he or she does not undergo the abortion operation!  If there was a 75% chance that there were live human beings still in the burning building, the firefighters would be obligated to attempt to rescue them, and they would not be justified in saying “we won’t attempt a rescue because there is a 25% chance there is no still-viable human life in the building.”  Our whole civilization since the 4th Century is based on the belief that human life is so valuable and precious wherever it might be we will go to exceedingly great lengths to save it from death.  Until abortion was de-criminalized.

The Pro-Life principles so foundational to our democracies are simply enough applied even to difficult medical decisions in a way which maintains the value and dignity of all human life.  In the exceedingly rare case where a complication in the pregnancy puts the mother’s health in serious danger, it will be a human tragedy if either the mother or the baby or both die. If doctors are in the very rare situation of having to make a decision to save one of the two human lives or the other but cannot save both, whichever one dies will be a tragedy, because every human life is precious.  Even in these cases, some Pro-Life surgeons argue there is no such thing as a “medically necessary abortion,” because a medical procedure that saves the mother’s life which the baby will not survive (as a side-effect) still does not need to target the baby for death as an abortion does.  Much less are some other suggested “justifications” for abortion in extreme cases reasonable given the full humanity of the preborn which biological and medical science confirms.  Pregnancies resulting from rape are extremely rare just because a woman can only conceive about 2 days of her monthly cycle, and conception is facilitated by physiological factors involved in normal love-making but not present in violent rape.  In the regrettable case of a very rare pregnancy due to rape, there is still no reasonable justification for allowing abortion, however:  would you kill a toddler whose father was a rapist?  Of course not!  So why would you kill a fetal age human baby whose father was a rapist?  They are the same unique human life whatever their age.  I have met people who were conceived in rape, and read the stories of several more.  I defy anyone to look these people in the eye and tell them they deserved the death penalty for their father’s rape.  If we value human life at all, the circumstances of one’s conception where one began one’s human life should make no difference.  Indeed, such is the very essence of democracy!  Worst of all is the proposed “justification” of the abortion of fetal age babies who are judged to be handicapped in some way (according to medical procedures which do not always turn out to be accurate).  Down’s syndrome apparently is easy to diagnose, and I know a child with Down’s whose mother was repeatedly pestered to abort, because it has become common medical practice to target the handicapped for abortion. This increasingly common occurrence of pestering to abort the handicapped sends the message loud and clear to the handicapped community that our society now thinks it is better to be dead than handicapped; that handicapped lives are simply not worth living because of whatever disorder they suffer (in the progression of this mindset euthanasia is now offered to the handicapped who missed their chance to be aborted).  But Down’s children can often read and do many things despite their limitations; there are even some music bands with Down’s such as Finnish punk band PKN.  Do you want to look them in the eye (after they sign their autograph on your concert ticket) and tell them you think fetal age babies just like them should be aborted?  Targeting the handicapped for abortion comes from the same eugenic values set that was actively pursued in Nazi Germany, which rounded them up to be killed.  Our whole society became as humane as it is precisely because all human lives were recognized to have the same tremendous value, despite the limitations of disabilities.

For certain there is no scientifically accurate way to avoid saying that abortion kills a unique human life. Let us all be very clear about that.  And there is no biologically compelling reason to protect human life by law after birth but not before.  Scientifically speaking birth is only a change of location for the new biological human life (or “baby”) with absolutely unique human DNA.  A 9-months gestation preborn human fetus is actually more developed and more biologically viable than a 3 months-prematurely-born baby.  It is ultimately completely arbitrary to protect or not protect a human life on the basis of whether it is yet born or not. Technically the science itself is value-neutral: science merely confirms that at every stage of the human life-cycle from zygote to senior adult an individual specimen of the human species is the same distinct human life with absolutely unique DNA.  That leaves it up to us to decide: is human life valuable, or is it not?  If human life is valuable, then it makes most sense to protect it by law whatever its age, embryo or elderly, as has always been normal for democratic states which are founded on the belief that every human lives matters which is why it is appropriate for everyone to have a say in how they are governed.  If human life is not valuable, or not necessarily valuable, then there is no more reason to protect it by law after birth than before birth. If not all human lives are considered inherently valuable, just for being human lives, then it would naturally fall to the government that makes the laws just which human lives are protected by law and which are not, just like in any totalitarian state which decides which human lives it will protect, and which it will imprison or kill for the sake of the greater State (for example, at the 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre, the Chinese Government decided that students protesting for democracy no longer had a right to live that the State would protect, and took their human lives for the sake of the greater State.  Such totalitarian oppression can only be expected where the Pro-Life principles are not the foundation of the political system as it was in all our modern democracies but IS NO MORE SINCE THE DE-CRIMINALIZATION OF ABORTION).

The Very Term and Concept Of “Personhood” Comes From Christian Theology Which First Applied It To God and Then To All Human Life Made in God’s Image, Christianity First Insisting On Human Rights for All Human Persons (Specifically Including the Preborn Whose Human Lives Began To Be Protected Shortly After the 4th Century Legalization of Christianity).  Later Governments Forgetting This Origin Have Unjustly Legally Denied Personhood to Some Humans Including Black Slaves, Native Americans, Women, Jews, and Preborn Babies in Order to Limit or Abuse Their Human Rights.

Since biological science yields no justification to protect human life after birth but not before, often the language of “personhood” is misused such that only those particular human lives that the government’s laws define as human “persons” are considered “fully human” and protected: if you are unquestionably scientifically human and alive (like Jews and fetuses) but the government does not define you as a “person,” then you can be written off as somehow “sub-human” and killed with impunity.  Jewish humans in Nazi Germany were denied the legal personhood they previously had and so they were killed.  Young, not-yet-born humans are now denied the legal personhood they previous had in the U.S.A., Canada, and many other countries, and so they are killed.

But the term and concept of human “personhood” itself originates directly from the Christian theology of the supreme value of human persons made in the Image of the One God in Three Persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and it refers to ALL human lives without exception who the Bible poetically says were “knit” by their Loving Creator God in their mother’s wombs.  This Biblical and Christian understanding of the precious value of every human life created and designed lovingly by God right from his or her time in the womb is the only reason why abortion was criminalized in 318 AD.  This first criminalization of abortion because all human life is precious started the long historical process which gradually but logically eventually gave us modern human rights and freedoms, and it only happened shortly after the 313 AD legalization of Christianity which had previously been illegal and persecuted for its new and strange ideas including the new Christian ideas that every human life was precious not cheap, and therefore the government should protect human lives and not harm them nor allow them to be harmed – when previously it was normal for the government to be the biggest potential threat to individual human lives and freedoms, and citizens (and subjects not even accorded citizenship) did not expect the government to necessarily investigate or pursue justice for any other violations of citizens’/subjects’ lives or freedoms, since human citizens and subjects were not persons and had no human rights.

Before Christianity with its “Pro-Life” principles, individual humans were not called persons, and human individuals had no human rights.  The very term and concept of precious human personhood is intimately and indissolubly tied up with the uniquely Christian doctrine of the Trinity of Persons in the Godhead.  The 2nd Century Christian theologian Tertullian coined the term “Trinity” and (borrowing and forever transforming the Latin theatre term persona) used the phrase “three Persons, one substance” to describe the Christian Church’s consistent (and Biblical) insistence that there is only One God (as opposed to the surrounding pagan polytheism of many gods), but that One God exists as Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Theology (“the science/study of God”) attempts to intellectually understand as far as humanly possible what God has revealed about the Ultimate Mystery of His own Being in the Bible and in the historical figure of Jesus Christ (understood as both fully human and fully God, the Second of the Three Persons of the Holy Trinity, incarnate or “enfleshed”).  Since the super-natural Being not part of but beyond the natural physical universe which frames our whole human experien ce, who created both the universe and our limited human minds, cannot possibly be reduced to a simple formula fully comprehensible by limited human minds, the Trinity of Three Persons in One God is indeed a “Mystery” not fully intellectually comprehensible which must be accepted in faith by Christians.  But this beautiful mystery of the Trinitarian Family Love that God is is the ultimate ground of our modern human rights and freedoms because it is only because the Christian One God in Three Persons IS Love, and lovingly created human persons “in God’s Image” and LOVES each one, that every human life without exception came to be understood as supremely and equally valuable and precious such that the government properly no longer makes humans serve the State as before Christianity but the State is now obligated to the God of Love higher than any State to protect and serve human lives precious to God, the modern democracy that eventually developed only in Western Christian Civilization being one of the best ways (though not the only way) to respect the immense value and dignity of each and every human person made in the Image of the One God in Three Persons.

This terminology of Trinity and Persons introduced by 2nd Century theologian Tertullian was officially accepted by the whole Christian Church of East and West in the first two Ecumenical Councils (325 and 381 AD) as the best succinct description or articulation of the infinite Mystery of God who revealed Himself in Jesus Christ, in the Bible and in the Living Sacred Tradition of the Church which had at least implicitly passed on this faith from the beginning (the Latin traditio is that which is “passed on”).  Later Christian theologians would very beautifully and fruitfully unpack this primary Christian Mystery, for example Saint Augustine noticed that the Bible testified that “God is Love” and since Love always has three elements – a lover, a beloved, and the bond of love that binds them – the Trinitarian nature of the One God means that God really IS Love in its deepest essence.  It is only because of the many centuries of Western Christian Civilization that we might now easily agree that Love is the essence of Family, and this is the primary great Mystery of Christianity, that God is Love and God is a Family, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit meaning God’s very existence mysteriously is one of parenthood, childhood, and the bond of love that binds them.

Christians who coined and developed the term “person” first for God and later applied it to humans intended it to refer to ALL of God’s human creations made in God’s Image – including those still being metaphorically “knit” by God in their mothers’ wombs – and only this equation of humans with persons historically and logically grounds human rights and democracy and only this guarantees that any form of political totalitarianism or oppression that denies human personhood to any group of biological human lives must be considered unacceptable.


The Term “Human Being” Literally Means “Human Existence” and the Human Existence of Preborn Humans is Established Scientific Fact; Dictionary Definitions of Human Being Also Clearly Apply to Preborn Humans So Human Rights Cannot Be Denied to Preborn Humans by Ridiculous Claims that Though Human Before Birth Humans are Not Human Beings; If a Human Life Exists, it is by Definition a Human Being

As with the term “human person,” the term “human being” also cannot reasonably be denied to fetal age human life in the attempt to justify ending it by abortion, since “being” literally means “existence,” and the uniquely human existence of the biological human organism at all stages of the growth and development of its unique human life is in no way subject to scientific dispute but is established scientific fact.  Every human life that exists is of course a human being.  If a human life exists, it is by definition a human being.  Even typical dictionaries which include not just the word “human” but the term “human being” confirm this logical necessity that if it is human and exists it is of course a human being.  For example, the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language defines “human being” simply as “a human,”[5] which of course cannot be denied of a scientifically distinct living human organism in the womb.  The Random House Kernerman Webster’s College Dictionary gives two more elaborate definitions of “human being,” both linking the term “human being” with the human species denoted in Latin as Homo sapiens, which again cannot be denied of the biologically unique preborn human life still in the womb:

  1. any individual of the genus Homo, esp. a member of the species Homo sapiens.

  2. a person, esp. as distinguished from other animals or as representing the human species [6]

A preborn baby is qualified to be recognized as a member of the human species of Homo sapiens for exactly the same reasons YOU are:  He or she (like you) is a living distinct biological organism with human DNA and no other.  The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines “human being” simply as “a person,” with a “full definition” of “human being” simply as “human”[7].  So in typical language use as confirmed by multiple dictionaries, a “human,” a “human being,” and a “person” are basically interchangeable terms, none of which can be denied of preborn humans whose humanity is scientifically established fact.  And as noted above and below, personhood necessarily must begin when humanity begins or else human rights violations soon result.  If a human life exists, it is by definition a human being – and also a person.

So when the Government of Canada or the U.S.A. etc. says a biological human life with unique human DNA before he/she is actually born is not a human person under the law, but somehow sub-human and no longer protected by the government as before, it means exactly the same thing as when the Government of Germany said Jewish human lives who were every bit as biologically and undisputedly living human organisms with unique human DNA were also somehow sub-human and no longer protected by the German Government as before:  both are cases of a government denying human rights to humans whose humanity cannot be scientifically questioned.  The Pro-Life principles and human rights and freedoms are historically, logically and integrally linked: if you threaten one you threaten the other.  History bears this out.

And remember, before Christianity with its insistence on the immense and equal value of all human lives without exception, it was normal worldwide for the government to have the power of life and death over human citizens (and over human subjects and slaves not even accorded citizenship), and it was normal for the government to control what citizens and subjects may or may not believe.  It was Christianity which in the 4th Century first insisted that humans must be free from government coercion in matters of belief in order to freely seek and find this wonderful Christian truth about humanity’s extremely high value (which is the historical and logical foundation of all democratic freedoms which developed only in Western Christian Civilization’s “Pro-Life” context).  The Biblical, Christian principle that slaves were equal to their masters before God (and therefore masters should treat their slaves accordingly) gradually transformed and ultimately ended slavery (which had accounted for fully 1/3 of the Roman Empire’s population at the dawn of Christianity).  Throughout history since the 4th Century the human rights gradually developing from these Christian principles were guaranteed by governments understanding that even kings were equal to peasants before God and so governments were accountable to a (“Pro-Life”) power higher than any government for how they treated their human citizens.  This did not mean there were not abuses, but it meant that since the 4th Century governments were judged and remembered no longer for mainly their civic accomplishments built on the backs of the people, but rather by how well or poorly they treated their citizens and subjects, because since Christianity with its “Pro-Life” principles, governments were now expected to facilitate the fulfilment of immensely valuable human persons instead of mere individual humans serving the greater State however the State saw fit, as previously (and as in modern totalitarian States).  Thus any time since that any government has taken it upon itself to redefine personhood or limit just which human lives are understood as persons, it is a regression to pre-Christian (and thus pre-Human-Rights) times, and so naturally any government which fails to recognize a higher principle or power than the government that guarantees human rights, human rights are limited and lost.  Some examples follow in the next section.


Throughout History If Any Life Is Recognized as Human But Not a Person Injustice Results:  Whether Black Humans, Female Humans, Jewish Humans, or Preborn Humans, All of Whom Have Been Legally Denied Personhood Despite Being Undisputedly Human

“In the eyes of the law . . . the slave is not a person”

–         Virginia Supreme Court decision, 1858

“An Indian is not a person within the meaning of the Constitution.”

–         George Canfield, American Law Review, 1881

“The statutory word ‘person’ did not in these circumstances include women.”

–         British Voting Rights case, 1909

“The Reichsgericht itself refused to recognize Jews . . . as ‘persons’ in the legal sense.”

–         German Supreme Court decision, 1936

“The law of Canada does not recognize the unborn child as a legal person possessing rights.”

–         Canadian Supreme Court, Winnipeg Child and Family Services Case, 1997

One would think we would have learned by now that legally defining away the human personhood of any group of human lives ultimately threatens the human rights of all humans – or in fact makes “human rights” meaningless if just being human is not enough to have them.  On the practical necessity for human personhood to begin when human life begins, one author writes:

“The basic philosophical premise behind these [proposed personhood] amendments is eminently reasonable. And the alternative on offer – which severs humanity from personhood – is fraught with peril. If being human is not enough to entitle one to human rights, then the very concept of human rights loses meaning. And all of us — born and unborn, strong and weak, young and old — someday will find ourselves on the wrong end of that cruel measuring stick.” [8]


In its Historical Context the United Nations’ 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights Cannot Possibly Be Interpreted to Exclude Preborn Humans from Legally-Recognized Personhood or from its Clearly Intended All-Inclusive Human Rights for All Humans “without distinction of any kind”; Thus Legal Abortion Clearly Violates The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Written the Very Same Year Legal Abortion in Nazi Germany Was Specifically Condemned as “A Crime Against Humanity”

Well before legal abortion and well before the dramatic decline in church attendance heralding the so-called “post-Christian” phase of Western Civilization we are now in (which thus threatens our democracies which were built on Christian principles), the UN’s 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights encapsulated Western Christian Civilization’s long and logical development of modern human rights and democratic freedoms from the Christian and “Pro-Life” starting “First Principles” adopted in the 4th Century Christianization of Western Civilization (in specific replacement of the ancient world’s “Pro-Choice” practices of abortion and infanticide).  These “universal human rights” rest historically and logically on the uniquely Christian understanding of the supreme and equal value and dignity of all human lives without exception, human lives which Christianity was the first to call “Persons.”  This is the historical context and matrix of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which states “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person(Article 3) and “Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law” (Article 6).

There is great mischief being done in the UN today because of this unfortunate wording, but note that it would be highly anachronistic as well as extremely improbable to suggest that because Article 1 reads “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights” that in the Declaration no rights were intended to be accorded to preborn humans, as if human beings are only “born” free and equal in dignity and rights but before they are born the same humans have no human rights at all and said rights – including the right to live – can be violated (meaning that none of us have any inherent human right to live, if we only started having that right after we were born).  Currently the UN appears to interpret the Declaration this foolish way, and therefore allows abortion, forgetting the 1948 historical context of the Declaration, wherein preborn human lives had been protected by law or custom since 318 AD and in fact (as described below) in 1948 legal abortion in Nazi Germany was specifically condemned at the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials as both “a war crime” and “a crime against humanity.”  In the very same year of 1948 the Declaration of Geneva (in response to the Nazi practice of legal abortion) reaffirmed the whole Hippocratic Medical Tradition for doctors to protect preborn human life in the womb, in the oath “I will maintain the utmost respect for human life, from the time of conception; even under threat, I will not use my medical knowledge contrary to the laws of humanity.”  In its historical context it is simply impossible to legitimately interpret the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as not intending to apply human rights to preborn humans.

But even without considering the 1948 context, the text itself really is clear enough that preborn humans are not excluded.  Article 2 powerfully expresses the Declaration’s intention to be all-inclusive: “Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind” – because “recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.” [9]  To exclude preborn humans (including each of us before we were born) would most certainly be age-discrimination, denying human rights to some humans on the basis of age, developmental stage in the human life-cycle or location (in the womb), and the Declaration intends to exclude no-one; no human is excluded from the “inalienable rights of ALL members of the human family.”  If someone were to tear a toddler limb from limb, we would severely object to this violation of the (still undeveloped human) toddler’s human right to life; and the only reason to not so strenuously object to an also undeveloped, fetal-age human life being torn limb from limb in an abortion is age-discrimination.  Article 2 lists several particular distinctions that are not excluded from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and preborn status is not on this list.  But the list is clearly not meant to be exhaustive, but only partial – the Human Rights set forth in the Declaration belong to everyone “without distinction of any kind, such as . . . [a list of particular distinctions] . . . birth or other status.”  The blanket “other” is intended to cover unlisted distinctions, which would include age, developmental stage, and location in the womb (and only this would mean EACH OF US have an INHERENT right to LIVE that is not dependent on the choice of any other, which is the clear overall sense of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights).  Legal abortion was one of the “barbarous acts” born of “disregard and contempt for human rights”[10] which the Declaration intended to prevent in the future, because legal abortion alienates preborn humans from the “inalienable rights” that belong to “all members of the human family,” “without distinction of any kind,” as Article 2 declares.  The Declaration cannot possibly intend to exclude preborn humans (whose living biological humanity is indisputable) from being part of the “ALL members of the human family” which the Declaration states has “inherent dignity” and “equal and inalienable rights.”  For this would mean none of us began our actual human lives (in the womb) as members of the human family who have inherent dignity and equal and inalienable rights; it would mean being human is not enough to be a member of the human family, making the whole concept of a human family meaningless and making human dignity not inherent in anyone after all.  To exclude some members of the human family – those who are not yet born, a condition that EVERY born human once shared – would logically mean that human dignity is NOT “inherent” after all, if it does not inhere in some members of the human family who have no rights (the preborn); and would logically mean that human rights are not “inalienable” after all, if they can be alienated from preborn members of the human family so that they can be legally killed by abortion; and would logically mean that all members of the human family do not have “equal” human rights after all, if preborn humans do not have an equal human right to live with born humans (who themselves must then have NEVER had any “inherent human right to live,” since they could have been legally killed by abortion when they were preborn age).  Legal abortion literally makes a mockery of the entire Universal Declaration of Human Rights and makes all of its wonderful phrases about “inherent,” “equal” and “inalienable” human dignity and rights effectively meaningless.

Given the time period, where abortion was long widely illegal and preborn humans were long protected already (only oppressive and evil Soviet Russia in 1920 and Nazi Germany in 1934 having ever de-criminalized abortion at the time – and even Soviet Russia had re-criminalized it at that time), Article 2 really could not be much more clear that the Universal Declaration on Human Rights applies to ALL human beings and that the Declaration INTENDS to not exclude ANY human beings, despite the unfortunate wording of Article 1.  The term “human being” literally means “human existence” and there has never been any doubt scientifically and biologically about the particularly human existence of human (not canine or bovine) babies in a human mother’s womb.  The preborn are not mentioned specifically only because in 1948 there was no legal abortion (even the Soviet Union had re-criminalized it and Nazi Germany had been condemned for it) and thus preborn fetal-age humans were not threatened such that the Declaration needed to be clear about them.  The partial list instead naturally particularly specifies distinctions including race, colour, and sex which by 1948 had in fact been used (as in the pre-1948 quotes above) to deny human personhood and rights to black slaves, Native Americans, women, and Jews.  The Declaration most certainly did not intend to suddenly deny the same human rights to preborn humans who had a long tradition since the 4th Century of legal protection from harm in Western Civilization.  The entire purpose of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 was to increase human rights, not take them away from those who had them by not specifically mentioning the preborn!  The Universal Declaration on Human Rights intended to proclaim and establish general and UNIVERSAL human rights, higher than any national government, against the then-recent horrors of the German Nazi government with its widespread violation of these human rights which included legal abortion!  How soon we forget the Nazi horrors that so devalued human life by (against Article 2) making distinctions that legally denied human personhood to some human lives (Jewish and handicapped etc.).  But now we again make distinctions legally denying human personhood to some human lives (the preborn of fetal age).  Yet abortion itself was actually one of the “crimes against humanity” which the Nazis were condemned for at the Nuremburg Trials after World War II.  Abortion along with the Death Camps was part of the same racist Nazi Eugenics plan to “improve humanity” by eliminating those Nazism considered “genetic deadwood,” like the handicapped and Jews.  As usual abortion had been illegal in Germany but under the Nazis healthy Germans continued to be forbidden to have abortions but unhealthy/handicapped Germans and especially Jews were encouraged to have abortions.  Later as part of the same plan the handicapped and especially Jews who were already born and so could not be aborted were simply rounded up in the Concentration Camps and killed, abortion and the Death Camps both producing the same desired result:  the death of the handicapped and Jews and their elimination from German society.  Modern European History Professor John Hunt, Ph.D., in his paper The Abortion and Eugenics Policies of Nazi Germany presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association for Interdisciplinary Research in Values and Social Change in June 2001 gave the following analysis:

Eugenics is a discredited science today.(34) There is also shock felt and experienced today about tricked and forced sterilizations of the past. Abortion, however, is now legal in most democracies, with the boast from those who believe in its legality that there is “choice” in the matter, that what the Nazis did was wrong because things were forced. We must ask constantly: Choice? Freedom? To do what? Sterilization (forced or voluntary, for eugenic reasons or not) prevents a life from happening. Abortion, on the other hand, takes a life that has already happened because an unborn is the other patient in any pregnancy (35) and is no longer considered by science a mere maternal appendage. (36) [Professor Hunt cites a 1989 Obstetrics textbook for these statements] The Nazis, experts in killing, knew this.

 Fifty years ago, the democracies knew this also. At the one War Crimes Trial involving abortion, the prosecutor, in his summation, called abortion an “inhumane act” and an “act of extermination” and stated that even if a woman’s request for abortion was voluntary abortion was still a war crime and a crime against humanity. (37)[11] The men doing the abortions were found guilty at this trial of “encouraging and compelling abortions” and were sentenced to 25 years in prison. Concerning abortion, the United States, a democracy, is doing today what it once condemned Germany for doing.

Incredibly, we have followed the Nazi precedent by making distinctions denying personhood to the preborn humans who already had protected human rights at the time the Universal Declaration on Human Rights was drafted in 1948 in order to increase the number of human lives whose human rights were protected, the Universal Declaration clearly stating back then that “Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind.”

Certainly the very term and concept of “personhood” in Western Civilization from its Christian beginning had no human exceptions and specifically included preborn, fetal-age human lives which were protected from harm starting with the 318 AD criminalization of “Pro-Choice” abortion and infanticide.  For the human rights of persons to be meaningful at all, human personhood must necessarily begin when human life begins, and every time since the 4th Century that personhood has been legally denied to any group of human lives, it has been a grave injustice – as when personhood was legally denied to black slaves, Native Americans, women, Jews, and now preborn babies.


Beyond the above, I note that the pro-abortionist “tissue blob” argument used when abortion was first legalized, implied that “if we were absolutely sure the fetus was human life, of course we would want to protect it,” making it seem like pro-abortionists at least still valued human life, in common ground with Pro-Lifers.  It is very disturbing that the pro-abortionist side apparently showed their true colours, that they never really cared about the value of human life at all but only about the personal convenience of abortion (no matter who got hurt), because as ever-more-rich biological science about the human life-cycle made it excessively clear that a unique separate human life distinct from the mother was being killed in abortions, they did not stop abortion to preserve the value of human life now that they could be sure the fetus was a distinct human life.  Instead they just looked for a new excuse to justify their ultimately self-serving and convenient abortions.  Thus they developed the “Pro-Choice” philosophy, apparently because the word “choice” made it sound like it had to do with freedom.  But, as I noted at the beginning, those who are ignorant of history are destined to repeat its mistakes.  In their great ignorance of history they did not realize that the “Pro-Choice” philosophy they adopted is not new at all but ancient (only the name is new), and it is a philosophy very contrary to human freedom.  The “Pro-Choice” right of parents to raise or kill their children is what Western Civilization had back in the days when human rights and freedoms were unheard of, specifically BECAUSE “Pro-Choice” philosophy DENIES any INHERENT human right to live, just for being human and being alive, and thus “Pro-Choice” philosophy is specifically CONTRARY to democracy which historically and logically DEPENDS on every human life without exception being regarded as SUPREMELY and EQUALLY valuable and precious, which is why ALL humans SHOULD be allowed to live and not be killed with government approval, and why ALL humans properly have a free say in how they are governed.

The Science of Human Life Shows that How Pro-Choice Philosophy Treats Preborn Humans is Every Bit as Ignorantly Bigoted as How Jews, Blacks and Women Were Treated by Those Who Similarly Denied Their Personhood Even When They Could Not Deny Their Humanity.  Personhood Must Begin When Humanity Begins or Else Human Rights Are Meaningless.

All of these lives at different times have unjustly had their personhood denied, but whether Black, female, Jewish, or preborn, scientifically and biologically speaking all are complete, unique, living, and human individual lives or individual human biological organisms.   Just like toddler-age humans or adult-age humans (whether Jewish, Black, female, male, or White), an embryonic-age human or fetal-age human is complete, and just needs time and a safe environment to progress through his or her human lifecycle and eventually grow to human adulthood like all of us did when we were that age (and had a safe environment – not threatened in the womb).  Each Black, female, Jewish or preborn life is utterly unique, with utterly unique human DNA, and each is alive and growing naturally from one stage of the human life-cycle to the next (progressing from zygote eventually to mature, elderly human).  The biological Law of Bio-genesis tells us “like begets like.”  A cat mother and father generate a cat; a fish mother and father generate a fish; a human mother and father generate a human.  Do you believe in human rights? Yes.  Who gets them? Humans, of course.  If a human mother and human father conceive a child, what species is it? Human, of course.  So does the human child conceived have human rights?  If we recognize the preborn child of a human mother and father as human but not a person with human rights, grave injustice can be the only result, just as much as if we recognize Blacks, women and Jews as human but not persons, as has been done in the past to the great shame of human history. Scientifically and objectively speaking a fetus is neither a “tissue blob” nor a “parasite” as Pro-Choicers are known to claim (the first being the prevailing argument when abortion was legalized).  These are ignorant, utterly unscientific claims used to justify abortion with great prejudice by Pro-Choicers.  All prejudice or bigotry is based in ignorance.  Pro-Choicers are bigots, who ignorantly deny personhood and human rights to preborn humans just as surely, against the same scientific and biological standard of humanity, as the Ku Klux Klan are bigots who ignorantly deny personhood and human rights to Blacks despite their clear biological humanity, as surely as Nazis are bigots who ignorantly deny personhood and human rights to Jews despite their clear biological humanity, as surely as male chauvinists are bigots who ignorantly used to deny personhood and full human rights (like voting) to women despite their clear biological humanity.  It is every bit as prejudiced and bigoted to tell preborn humans “you have no human rights because you’re not old enough” as it was to tell Black humans “you can’t vote because you’re not white enough.”  The Pro-Choice position is nothing less than age discrimination, developmental stage discrimination, location discrimination (you’re only human if you’re out of the womb[12]); every bit as ignorantly prejudiced and bigoted against the preborn as were those who similarly denied personhood and human rights to women, Blacks, and Jews even though their true humanity similarly was scientifically undisputable.

So to recap: biological science provides no justification for the legal protection of human life after but not before birth because scientifically, biologically speaking a human life is every bit as alive, human, and uniquely human (with absolutely unique DNA) when that human life is of embryonic age, fetal age, child age or adult age, and whether that human life is located inside or outside of his or her mother’s uterus.  The term “human being” literally means “human existence” and the entirely human (not canine or feline!) existence of the biological human organism from zygote to embryo to elderly man or woman is likewise absolutely undisputable scientifically, so there is no justification for any claim that at fetal age a human life is not yet “a human being” worthy of protection but somehow will be after birth.  And there is no solid basis for denying the most basic human right, the right to live, by claiming that after birth babies are persons and before birth somehow babies are not persons, especially when the very word and concept of personhood itself comes from Christian theology and from its beginning the meaning of the concept of human personhood included precisely those not-yet-born humans (and just-born humans) who were so often killed by abortion (and infanticide) before the 4th Century because humans were not called “persons” and there were no human rights at allAs long as humans have been called “persons” having human rights, human “persons” have included preborn humans – until the recent re-legalization of “Pro-Choice” abortion banned back in 318 AD.  Back when there were no human rights or modern democratic freedoms, back when “Pro-Choice” philosophy was the norm, it was also the norm for governments to have the power of life and death over their citizens, and it was normal for governments to tell their citizens what to believe.  “Pro-Choice” philosophy was of course perfectly consistent with brutal ancient totalitarian governments like the pagan Roman Empire because both believe human life is not inherently precious, and can be killed when deemed inconvenient.  Pro-Choice philosophy is fundamentally anti-human and anti-democratic.

© 2014, 2015 William Baptiste SFO


Go To Chapter 4: The Bottom Line: Human Life is Either Inherently Valuable and Precious Wherever it Exists or it Isn’t. What Logically Follows from Each Position?

Democracy Logically Flows from the First Position and Totalitarianism Logically Flows from the Second (And Note the Parallel Gradual Loss of Democracy in 1930s Germany and Today)

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[1]  Accessed December 14, 2015.

[2] The scientific and medical facts thoroughly trounce the position of Pro-Choice women who say “my body – my choice.”  Your preborn child (just like YOU in YOUR mother’s womb) is not your bodyYour body has (say) Type O Blood, and your baby’s body has (say) Type AB-Negative Blood.  Every cell in your body has your own distinct unique human DNA, and every cell in your baby’s body has different, distinct and unique human DNA. If human rights apply to anyone human, if human rights apply to YOU, then human rights apply to the preborn human who science recognizes as your child (you his or her mother) and who scientifically cannot be (ridiculously) called a “parasite” as some woefully deluded Pro-Choicers claim.  Abortion at best is an immature and irresponsible method of birth control and further it is unnatural to kill the next generation of your family and your species naturally produced nature’s way.

[3] For several citations concerning the pain felt by fetal-age humans who are so often aborted, see the attachment pamphlet, “Alive & Kicking . . . And Feeling Pain/facts about foetal pain” at the end of this chapter.

[4] Christian thought on the issue of just precisely when the eternal spiritual soul (which made humans more than animals but rational, spiritual beings “in the image of God”) was infused was not always consistent, especially because it was always affected by the science of the day, which was, of course, primitive compared to today.  Hence the great medieval philosopher and theologian Saint Thomas Aquinas, on the incorrect scientific understanding of his day that human life began at “the quickening” (and because of his dependence on the work of Aristotle) denied full humanity before this (though he made an exception for Jesus Christ in the womb, acknowledging His full humanity and full Divinity from the moment of His conception in Mary’s womb).  Still the life in the womb from conception was always understood as at least “potentially” human, and unlike today even “potential” humanity had so much dignity and value that this denial in no way justified killing the “potential” human life.  The primitive science of their day made some Christian philosophers and theologians throughout history hold some different opinions about when human life began, but as long as what was in the womb was understood as human, it was understood as a precious person (more on this Christian-invented term below), and in any case as long as governments were at least ostensibly Christian the child in the womb was considered precious and protected by law or custom since the 318 AD criminalization of abortion and infanticide shortly after the Roman Empire embraced Christianity.  If those Christian thinkers who thought human life began at “the quickening” knew the detailed and accurate biological science of today, they would have no doubt of its full and precious humanity from conception.

Never in Western Christian Civilization was every citizen Christian, and still less was every citizen or ruler serious, devout, practicing or mature Christians.  So violations of the human rights Christianity had introduced into Western Civilization still happened.  Like any crime, abortion and infanticide could never be completely prevented from happening, but still human-life-affirming laws and customs protected human lives before and after birth since the 318 AD criminalization of abortion and infanticide, and people (who had not been even accorded the value to be called “people” nor “persons” before Christianity – see below) knew that if they did not want their child just born, instead of abandoning him or her in a field to die they could instead abandon him or her near the door of a Christian church or convent because serious Christians could be counted on to take care of the child as precious to God.

[5] American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. S.v. “human being.” Retrieved December 14 2015 from

[6] Random House Kernerman Webster’s College Dictionary. S.v. “human being.” Retrieved December 14 2015 from

[7] “Human Being.” Accessed December 17, 2015. being.

[8] Campbell, Colleen Carroll (November 2, 2011). “Personhood begins when life begins”. The Washington Post. Retrieved 23 May 2012.

[9] The first quoted phrase is from Article 2; the second quoted phrase is from the very first sentence of the Preamble of The 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

[10] These quotations are also from the Preamble to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

[11] Records of the United States Nuremberg War Crimes Trials, United States of America v. Ulrich Greifelt Et Al (Case VIII), October 10, 1947March 10, 1948; The National Archives, Washington, D.C.: Microfilm Publication 894, Roll 6 (Trial Vols. 10 & 11), pp. 3952-53, 4024, also M894 R 31, pp. 27-28, 4866. This is the complete record of the trial.

[12] This makes as little sense as saying “you’re only a football player if you’re on the field” – as if being located on the sidelines makes a football player somehow not a football player!

Go To Chapter 4: The Bottom Line: Human Life is Either Inherently Valuable and Precious Wherever it Exists or it Isn’t. What Logically Follows from Each Position?

Democracy Logically Flows from the First Position and Totalitarianism Logically Flows from the Second (And Note the Parallel Gradual Loss of Democracy in 1930s Germany and Today)

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