I am proud to be pro-life, and proud to give a voice to the unborn child.
An often-used pro-choice argument is that “we don’t really know when life begins.” However, this argument is built purely off of an emotional rhetoric that has been debunked by science. The instant a sperm cell joins with an egg cell, a new human zygote is formed. At this moment, it contains the four basic characteristics of life: metabolism, response to stimuli, reproduction and growth and change. The zygote contains DNA, which will encode for every protein, every tissue and every organ that will eventually develop. The blueprint for a human being is already there, although at this point is too small to see with the naked eye.
The potential for a human baby to develop to maturity exists, and only biological defects, unexpected maternal illness and outside interventions like abortions can stop it.
What makes this developing life a “person?” Those who do not debate the science of life debate the philosophy of it. The definition of “personhood” can vary by individual, based on their own moral and philosophical beliefs. Some may say that a fetus is neither conscious nor self-aware, which is recognized as a critical part of humanity.
A paper published by Emory University suggests that self-awareness is a fluid, continuous process — it is not something that happens at a certain instant of development. According to the author, Phillippe Rochat, it is not until age four or five that a child begins to express the fifth level of self-awareness, or “meta” self-awareness. This explains that a child is able to see himself not only as he sees himself, but as others do, too. The child is able to feel emotions such as pride and shame, and is not only aware of his own needs, but those of others, too. If we define personhood by self-awareness, then a person really isn’t a person until at least age four. If this is true, do young children have the same rights as older, more psychologically mature people? If there is no set point at which we can define the personhood of a child that has been born, how can we do the same for an unborn child?
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