Justice Harry Blackmun, author of the verdict of Roe v. Wade, stated:
“The appellee and certain amici argue that the fetus is a "person" within the language and meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment. In support of this, they outline at length and in detail the well known facts of fetal development. If this suggestion of personhood is established, the appellant's case, of course, collapses, for the fetus' right to life would then be guaranteed specifically by the Amendment.”
In other words, if a fetus is ever proven to be a person, the moral right to abort collapses.
We know that human life begins at the moment of conception. This is no longer a matter of religious or political beliefs; it is a fact, a definition, even, agreed upon by scientists everywhere, despite their views on abortion. A pro-choice geneticist named Ashley Montague affirms, “life begins, not at birth, but at conception”. Dr. Bernard Nathanson, former owner and operator of the largest abortion clinic in the western hemisphere, says he “accepts what is biologically manifest – that human life commences at the time of conception”. The fact that life begins at conception is even taught in medical textbooks. Dr. Alfred Bongioanni, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, declares, “I have learned from my earliest medical education that human life begins at the time of conception.”
But, apparently, being human isn’t enough to define a fetus as a person, otherwise, abortion would be illegal because the 14th amendment states that:
“No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”
Birth? The most common argument for a fetus not being considered a person is that it has not yet been born. Why, then, does the federal government protect unborn bald eagles? Because a bald eagle embryo has the potential to become a bald eagle, and therefore carries every right that a bald eagle carries. But a human embryo, which holds enormous potential, doesn’t carry every right that a person carries? Let’s save the birds and kill the children.
Dependency? Some people reason that since a fetus could not survive on its own outside the womb, it is not a person. Let me ask you this; can any baby survive on its own? Is any born baby completely independent? Of course not! Can you imagine a six week old baby, or even a six year old fending for his or herself, scavenging for his or her meals, working to pay the bills? A born child relies on its mother for food, shelter, and protection just as much as a fetus does. If dependency is an adequate reason to kill a fetus, it must also be an adequate reason to kill any dependent child, so obviously, this argument is illogical.
Development? Others argue that a fetus cannot be classified as a person because it is not fully developed. While it is true that a fetus is not fully developed, it is also true that a four-year-old child is not fully developed. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, a human continues to develop physically, mentally, and emotionally until around the age of 25. This period of growth and development is accepted as a natural part of life; why is it rejected at its earliest embryonic stage? Does development, then, have any say in the personhood of a human? Is a twenty five year old more human than a four year old? No. If we accept this argument of development, we must also support the killing of a son or daughter up to age 25.
What defines personhood? We’ve known it all along.