The unborn: Distinct, living, whole human beings


Earlier this week, I blogged about the simple question we need to ask ourselves when considering abortion:  “What is the unborn?”  The answer to this question is key to the entire abortion issue.  If the unborn is not a human being, no justification for abortion is necessary.  But if the unborn is a human being, then no justification for abortion is adequate.

I did not however make the case yet that the unborn is a bona fide human being, which I will do in these next several posts.[1] And I will do so using science and philosophy.

The basic pro-life position is this:  Elective abortion unjustly takes the life of a defenseless human being.  But how do I know that the unborn is a human being?

First, the science.

Leading embryology texts affirm that from the earliest stages of development, the unborn is a distinct, living, and whole human being.[2] That is to say, the embryo is distinct in that it is different from its parents and has its own unique genetic structure.  It is living, obviously, as it is growing, and it reacts to stimuli and metabolizes food.  The embryo is whole in that it is a complete organism that works as a unity to direct its own development.  Finally, it is human in that it comes from human parents and has a human genetic structure.

Though not yet mature, scientifically it is clear that the human embryo from earliest stages is a distinct, living, whole human being.

In upcoming posts, I will describe philosophically how the unborn differs from you and I in only four ways, none of which is relevant or morally significant so as to justify taking his or her life.

1. The source material for this post comes from  Scott Klusendorf’s excellent book, The Case for Life: Equipping Christians to Engage the Culture (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2009).
2. As referenced on page 28 of Klusendorf, See T. W. Sadler, Langman’s Medical Embryology, 5th ed. (Philadelphia: W. B. Saunders, 1993), 3; Keith L. Moore, The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology, 4th ed. (Toronto: B. C. Decker, 1988), 2; Ronan R. O’Rahilly and Fabiola Müller, Human Embryology and Teratology, 2nd ed. (New York: Wiley-Liss, 1996), 8, 29.

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One thought on “The unborn: Distinct, living, whole human beings

  1. looking forward to the rest! And hey…if you ever need any info, you know where to find me ;)

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