I’m what might be called pro-life, but not because of any certainty as to whether a fetus is a human person under law. I also have no firm grasp on when “ensoulment” might occur. My knowledge of biology may be weak, but it includes this: a baby in the womb, from the instant of conception, has the full genetic code to become a human person.
It’s only a matter of time, in other words, before this baby becomes a human person under law. Isn’t that an awkward term? But it’s necessary, because of the minions out there who regard a fetus as nothing more important than a hangnail. Something to be excised from the body if it is a burden to the mother.
It is true that a fetus at any stage of its pre-natal development is not a conscious, rational being. For that matter, neither is a child until he or she is well past being a teen-ager. Teens not being rational creature, as anyone who has raised one would know. Then there is also the fact that many human beings are not capable of rational thought or behavior at any age. For example, the mentally retarded or those afflicted with psychoses. Do we put these people to death because they are not full participants in our society?
No, of course not. We recognize that such persons are still human beings; still made in the image of God. And it is incumbent on us to love them as we love ourselves — they are our neighbors.
This is no less true for a baby in the womb. The baby is no less of a human being because he or she can’t communicate or do sums. He or she is a child, with DNA provided by the same creator who gave us our genetic code.
The lesson? Don’t destroy human life; in the womb; outside of it. Protect those unable to protect themselves. It is our duty as children of God.