S.L.E.D. Part 2: Level of Development

by Garnet

It’s time for another instalment in the S.L.E.D. Test Series.  For the other articles in the series, click here.

It is often said that unborn babies are less developed than born babies, and for that reason should not be considered persons.  “It’s just a clump of cells,” people say.  Some refuse to use the term “fetus” to refer to an unborn child, preferring “blob of tissue” as a more accurate name.

This is another attempt to dehumanize the unborn, which makes abortion excusable.  If what is inside a pregnant woman is indeed simply a blob of tissue or a lump of cells, as many in the abortion trade would have women believe, then it’s no big deal to just get rid of the problem.  It would be the same as getting rid of a tumour.

How do prolifers address this?   Of course, we need to say that calling the unborn “clump of cells” is a lie. For example, right at the moment of conception, when the sperm implants the egg, that baby has a gender.  This probably sounds obvious, but some people don’t think about that fact.  Five weeks into the pregnancy, the baby’s heart begins to beat.  At this point, some women might not be 100% sure they’re pregnant!  There are so many other facts that show the humanity of an unborn child, but that will have to be another post.

We can grant the objector’s point that a one-month old unborn child is less developed than a nine-month old born child.  But how does this fact affect the personhood of this human life?  For example, a toddler is not as developed as a kindergartener.  Does that mean the kindergartener has more of a right to life than a toddler?  In fact, human beings are on a continuous line of development our entire lives.  But we do not attain more of a right to life as we develop.

The choice of the moment of birth as the defining moment where a child is valued is incredibly arbitrary.  Some babies are born after 38 weeks, some are born after 42 weeks.  Why, all of a sudden, when the baby leaves the uterus his or her mother, are they developed enough for our standards?  There must be another factor.

Stay tuned for the next instalment about Environment.

8 thoughts on “S.L.E.D. Part 2: Level of Development

  1. Dante

    I deny that calling the unborn a “clump of cells” is a lie. They are a “clump of cells”. So are you. The point is, it’s irrelevant.

  2. Garnet

    You’re right! Everything is a clump of cells – that’s a good way of looking at it. I guess what I object to is calling an unborn human just a clump of cells. The unborn is so much more than that.

  3. Reita

    I think the issue is that saying something is “a clump of cells” dehumanizes it.
    My roommate once said she hated eating “an animal with a face” because she felt like it was looking at her and she felt guilty; however, she felt no qualms eating what just looked like some tasty meat.
    In the same way, saying at abortion kills an unborn child (which it does) is “eating the animal with the face”. You feel guilty because you feel empathy for its death, you know that there is suffering, and that it had to die.
    Getting rid of an unwanted clump of cells is eating the delicious prepared meat. You are totally divorced from what it is and where it came from – you don’t feel guilty because it’s nothing that was ever real.
    (I should expand this some time…)

  4. Pingback: Pro-Life Campus Blogs: University of Ottawa « University of Toronto Students for Life

    1. uOttawa Students For Life Post author

      We are based out of a Canadian university, so that explains the confusion. Canada tends to follow UK spelling rules (ie: honour instead of honor, realise instead of realize) but we are definitely influenced by American media!

  5. Pingback: I’m a Person: Inside and Out « uOttawa Students For Life

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