When does a baby become a human being?
According to the Criminal Code of Canada, this happens “when it has completely proceeded, in a living state, from the body of its mother”(1)Criminal Code of Canada, Section 223(1). Abortion advocates either agree, or they will pick a particular time during pregnancy at which the fetus becomes human. But does this make sense? It seems like an important statement to examine with scrutiny since it’s a matter of human rights. Let’s take a look at it logically.
When we talk about a fetus, what kind of fetus are we referring to? There are dolphin fetuses, dog fetuses, horse fetuses… Fetus is just an age category, like toddler or teenager or adult; it changes over time. Each fetus belongs to a species, and as any zoologist would tell you, a fetus of one species is not the same as a fetus of another species. (Google “animal fetus” and see for yourself!)
My species is determined by the species of my parents. It remains the same throughout my life. I cannot be human one day and then transform into a cat the next day. And what kind of DNA do human fetuses have? Human DNA. At the moment of fertilization, a sperm and an egg, each with their own half-set of human DNA combine to form an organism (that is to say, it is a whole human being) with a complete set of human DNA. That is the moment when a new human being is formed.
This is not just my opinion. Biological science confirms that human life begins at fertilization, as you can see from these excerpts from current embryology textbooks used in the classroom today.
Every child, whether pre-born or newborn, is in fact human.
So, if a pre-born child is a human being and abortion is the direct targeting and killing of said human being, doesn’t it follow that abortion is a human rights violation? This misunderstanding of the facts is taking more than 100,000 pre-born human lives every year in Canada.(2)https://www.campaignlifecoalition.com/abortion/
When will we recognize the humanity of the pre-born and fight for their right to life? As midwives, we are in the business of assisting human beings relocate from the womb to the world. This means we should not advocate for anything that will directly and intentionally infringe on their human rights, wherever they are. Instead, we should recognize their humanity while they are still inside the mother’s womb and understand that we are, in fact, providing care of a complex unit of two clients, and this doesn’t only begin after birth.
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