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Bill Ward is Pro-Life.

Abortion is murder.

Science: The unborn is a human being

First, the unborn (the human zygote, embryo, or fetus) is a human being—a living human organism at the earliest developmental stages. This is a fact established by the science of embryology. Four features of the unborn human are important:

Distinct. The unborn has a DNA and body distinct from her mother and father. She develops her own arms, legs, brain, nervous system, heart, and so forth.

Living. The unborn meets the biological criteria for life. She grows by reproducing cells. She turns nutrients into energy through metabolism. And she can respond to stimuli.

Human. The unborn has a human genetic signature. She is also the offspring of human parents, and humans can only beget other humans.

Organism. The unborn is an organism (rather than a mere organ or tissue)—an individual whose parts work together for the good of the whole. Guided by a complete genetic code, she needs only the proper environment and nutrition to develop herself through the different stages of life as a member of our species.

“Human development begins at fertilization when a sperm fuses with an oocyte to form a single cell, a zygote,” explains the textbook The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology. “This highly specialized, totipotent cell marks the beginning of each of us as a unique individual.”

The scientific evidence, then, shows that the unborn is a living individual of the species Homo sapiens, the same kind of being as us, only at an earlier stage of development. Each of us was once a zygote, embryo, and fetus, just as we were once infants, toddlers, and adolescents.


Justice: All human beings have human rights

Second, all human beings have human rights. Everyone counts. This is a principle of justice.

Unborn humans are different from most born humans in a number of ways, but those differences aren’t relevant to whether or not someone has rights. Unborn children may look different from older human beings, but appearance has nothing to do with value. Unborn children are less physically and mentally developed, but toddlers are less developed than teenagers, and that doesn’t make them any less important. Unborn children are dependent on someone else, but so are newborn children and many people with disabilities.

Defenders of abortion often argue that unborn humans aren’t “persons” who have rights because they lack certain characteristics. One problem with this view is that it excludes more human beings than just unborn children. If unborn children aren’t persons because they lack higher mental functions, for example, then human infants, people in temporary comas, and patients with advanced dementia aren’t persons either.

Another problem is that this approach undermines equality for everyone. If characteristics like cognitive ability or physical independence make us valuable, then those who have more of those characteristics are more valuable than those who have less. None of us are equal according to this view.

Historically, every single attempt to divide humanity into those who have rights and those who are expendable has proven to be a colossal mistake. Why think abortion is any different?

The truth is that we have human rights simply because we are human—not because of what we look like, or what we can do, or what others think or feel about us, but rather because of what (the kind of being) we are. That’s why every human being has equal basic rights.

And if every human matters, then unborn children matter.

Why abortion is unjust

The argument for the pro-life view, then, may be summarized like this:

  1. The unborn is a human being.

  2. All human beings have human rights, which include the right not to be intentionally killed.

  3. Therefore, the unborn human being has human rights.

This is why abortion—the intentional killing of human beings in utero (through lethal suctiondismemberment, crushing, or poisoning)—is unjust. It’s why both pregnant women and their unborn children deserve our respect, protection, and care.

© 2020 Bill Ward For Pasquotank County Commissioner At-Large. All Rights Reserved.