With the march for life being held in D.C., on January 21st, it is a good time to revisit the subject of abortion. When I first began to seriously think about abortion, I began to realize the entire debate rests on an important question. When does a human become a human? If a fetus is a human, then taking its life is murder. If a fetus is not a human, then the mother has control over what she can do with it. At one point every human is not a human. Because of this, there has to be a point when we become a human being. At that point we should be given the same protection as every other human. Establishing this point seems to be at the heart of the abortion debate.
According to 18 U.S. Code § 1111, “Murder is the unlawful killing of a human being with malice aforethought.” Further, according to 1 U.S. Code: § 8, “the words “person”, “human being”, “child”, and “individual”, shall include every infant member of the species homo sapiens who is born alive at any stage of development.” In a further section of 1 U.S. Code: § 8, being born alive is defined as “complete expulsion or extraction” from the mother. Under U.S. law an abortion is not a murder, because a muder is an act committed against a human being.
Nowhere in America is killing “after-birth abortion” legal. This is because under the above law, it would be considered murder. This brings up a rather perplexing question. Is being recognized as a human being under U.S. law based purely on location? A living organism when inside of its mother’s womb is classified as a fetus, but when outside, is called a human being. Becoming a human being, according to U.S. law, involves only the baby exiting the womb, and showing one sign of life, which can be just a beating heart. A baby who is born prematurely, is considered a human. But an organism of the same age and growth stage, still in its mother’s womb can be aborted.
This inconsistency frustrated me, and so I looked for other moments where humanity could begin. After examining many points and arguments, heartbeat, first breath, independence from the mother, self sufficiency, I came to the conclusion that the moment humanity begins is conception. Conception is the moment when a human receives its unique set of DNA. This DNA carries the information that makes us a unique being. The small clump of growing cells after conception is the same living being as the grown organism we call a human. If we can not kill the grown organism, I do not understand why we should be allowed to kill it at a more vulnerable stage.
I know many people would disagree with what I have said. I will readily admit that I am not a medical expert, but I am very interested in knowing counterarguments to what I have just proposed. If you disagree with me, feel free to email me, and even better please write a counterargument in The Waltonian. Many people claim the abortion debate is about women’s rights, and it is, but if you believe the fetus is also a human, abortion becomes an issue of two humans’ rights: the rights of the mother and the rights of the child. I believe taking the life of an innocent human is murder. I believe life starts at conception and, more importantly, I believe humanity starts there. Because of this I believe abortion in any form, at any time is murder.
Source: Cornell Law School