Do you remember Saturday Night Live’s Pat, the androgynous character played by Julia Sweeney? Sketch after sketch, the cast of SNL ask a barrage of questions trying to figure out of Pat is a boy or a girl. The assumption is that Pat is either male or female and hilarity ensues when anyone tries catch a clue as to which Pat is. The segments were called “It’s Pat!”
It is Pat. “It” is the pronoun used because, even though Pat is either a man or woman, we don’t have any clue to which is correct.
I am envisioning the endless “It’s a girl!” balloons and “It’s a boy!” napkins at my local party supply store. Lately, I am asking myself why not “She’s a girl!” and “He’s a boy!”?
This conventional language usage is as unfortunate as it is inaccurate, because “it” is a pronoun more commonly used used for things that are not human.
Which is why I think “it” is a pronoun that should not be applied to the unborn, either fetuses in their mother’s womb or embryos in the IVF clinic. Even the earliest embryos are either male, having a Y chromosome, or female, lacking a Y chromosome. So why do we use “it” and “its” when we refer to them and their qualities? Why not use “he or she” and “his or hers”?
CLICK LIKE IF YOU’RE PRO-LIFE!
I have referred to an embryo as an “it” before, as have many other pro-lifers. I vow to strive to never do so again.
After all, embryos and fetuses are not “it”s. They are either a he or a she. Just because we don’t know which does not mean they are any less human.