Bad Pro-Abortion Logic: Rock is to Fetus as Adult is to…

Opinion   |   Rebecca Taylor   |   Aug 9, 2011   |   10:26AM   |   Washington, DC

Just when I think I have seen every possible way a pro-choicer can perform mental gymnastics trying to convince themselves that somehow a fetus is not human, they surprise me.  This one takes the cake. 

In the comments section on

We think it is bad to kill an adult but not bad to destroy a rock. Why the difference? Well, an adult is conscious, self-aware and has feelings, thoughts, beliefs, plans, relationships, hopes and so on. A rock has none of those characteristics so destroying it doesn’t matter. So is a fetus closer to an adult or to a rock? I’d say a rock. That is why legal abortion is justified.

I would love to say that this argument dropped like a rock, but others responded as if it was totally rational:

I think I learned a lot by considering your position….

I agree that something like your distinction between a rock and a person is central to the debate.

I feel I am stooping to a new low by actually addressing the insanity of comparing a fetus to a rock, but apparently it is urgently necessary.  Unlike most pro-choicers, I like to use more scientific measures to discuss the nature of organisms.  While they use “feelings,” “beliefs,” “plans,” and “hopes” to qualify and categorize life, I will use more objective means to decide whether a human fetus is more like a rock than a human adult.

A human adult is a living organism that self-directs toward more mature stages and belongs to the species Homo sapiens.  How does a human fetus compare?  Well a human fetus is also living organism that self-directs toward more mature stages and belongs to the species Homo sapiens. And a rock?  Well it belongs to the species…oh right it doesn’t have a genus or species because IT IS NOT EVEN ALIVE!!!!!!

Now the pro-choicer would always argue that a fetus is not alive either because it doesn’t have such non-quantifiable essentials to real life like “hopes” and “dreams.”  Again, I like more solid measures, you know like the ones scientists use to decide if something qualifies as “living.”  I have taught biology and know that there are four criteria that science uses to determine “life”:

1. All life contains DNA:  Rock-0 Fetus-1  (The entire prenatal genetic testing industry wouldn’t exist without it.)

2.  All life extracts energy from its environment and uses it:  Rock-0 Fetus-2  (Any pregnant women who has eaten an entire half gallon of ice cream knows this is true!)

3.  All life forms sense their environment and respond to those changes: Rock-0 Fetus-3  (Just ask any ultrasound technologist.)

4.  All life forms can reproduce: Rock-0 Fetus-4 (And before you scream that a fetus cannot reproduce, just check out this story about using eggs from female fetuses for IVF treatments.)

Rock-0 Fetus-4 using objective criteria for life. So tell me again how prolifers are the unscientific ones? Note: Rebecca Taylor is a clinical laboratory specialist in molecular biology, and a practicing pro-life Catholic who writes at the bioethics blog Mary Meets Dolly. She has been writing and speaking about Catholicism and biotechnology for five years and has been interviewed on EWTN radio on topics from stem cell research and cloning to voting pro-life. Taylor has a B.S. in Biochemistry from University of San Francisco with a national certification in clinical Molecular Biology MB (ASCP).