By Judie Brown
A human being is a human being from the moment he is created. This scientific fact cannot be changed or stunted based on a survey or on someone’s opinion. People must come to understand this basic fact, for lives depend on it.
A couple of headlines recently caught my attention, both suggesting that Americans are fundamentally out of touch with basic facts.
The first reads: “Among Christians, White Mainline Protestants Least Likely to Believe Abortion Is Morally Wrong.” The report explains that among major religious groups, the responses varied “widely.” Pew research found that 75 percent of white evangelicals said abortion is morally wrong, while 53 percent of white Catholics and 38 percent of white mainline Protestants said it was morally wrong. In other words, the idea that abortion is an act that murders a human being is not widely accepted as a scientific or a moral reality.
The second headline that screamed ignorance to me reads: “Survey: Only 13 Percent of Catholics Think IVF Is Morally Wrong.” This report is extrapolated from the same Pew survey with a second damning set of numbers: “33 percent of Americans judge the procedure morally acceptable, while 46 percent say that it is not a moral issue.” While the Catholic Church has taught repeatedly that the practice of in vitro fertilization and other techno-clinical methods of making babies is a violation of God’s will and thus intrinsically wrong, it is clear that either Catholic people do not understand this teaching or they have rejected it.
Obviously, for the vast majority of people claiming to believe in God, when it comes to sexualr/productive health practices, the morality of a given practice is debatable, meaningless, or nonexistent. And sadly, we pro-lifers are contributing to the confusion.
The term that poses the solution to the quandary is “human being.” This simple ten-letter term tells the truth about the individual child from creation onward.
If the preborn human being is not a child, what is he? Or better yet, we should ask, WHO is he? Could he be a duck, a tumor, or a single cell like your skin cell?
Exactly what are we talking about when we ask an American, “Is abortion moral?”
If we are talking about a human being, then what differentiates the child conceived sexually from the child created asexually? Is the second of two monozygotic twins not a child, while his brother or sister is a child?
Is the individual created in a laboratory using totipotent stem cells that have the natural capacity to be reverted to new embryos less of a child than the one created in a petri dish using mom’s egg and dad’s sperm?
When is a child not a child?
Dr. Dianne Irving gives us a clue by exposing the tragic consequences of being imprecise in the language we use in our quest to stop the killing:
Just think about it. If there is no human being present until later in pregnancy—or in petri dishes adorning IVF/ART research laboratories and “infertility” clinics around the world—or if what is there is “just a bunch of cells,” or just “pluripotent” rather than “totipotent cells, etc., etc.—then what’s the problem in aborting them or destroying them in experimental research “for the greater good”? Similarly, if “pregnancy” and “embryo” are claimed to only begin at implantation (as the U.S. federal regulations for the use of human subjects in research so define these terms in the 1981 OPRR/OHRP regulations, as well as in many “professional” medical and research organizations and societies), then the early human embryo disappears once again. It’s a “free-for-all” for any and all destructive research and abortion—all based on scientific fraud.
And that’s the point, isn’t it? Truth does not depend on a government regulation or a Pew survey or a fellow pro-lifer’s sloppy language. Truth stands alone like a sentinel on a hill.
The term human being is what it is—whether that individual is a second old, three years old, or 10 years old. It’s time stop using faulty terminology and confusing definitions because the cost is not merely intellectual confusion but the tragic loss of human lives. A human being must be respected for the pure fact that he is a human being, not for any function that he may or may not be able to perform at any given point.
A single, accurately defined term can save a life.
For further reading, see Dr. Irving’s article about human embryology at: http://www.lifeissues.net/writers/irv/irv_206accuratehumanembryology1.html. Learning more will help save more lives.
Judie Brown is president and cofounder of American Life League and a three-time appointee to the Pontifical Academy for Life.