In recent guest opinion, the correspondent discussed abortion and concluded that only one’s religion would lead one to oppose abortion. But science and ethics alone easily reveal reasons that abortion is the killing of an innocent human being, and killing an innocent human being is wrong.
Let’s start with the science of genetics. Humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes which are composed of genes, which are composed of DNA. Humans have around 20,000 genes on those 23 pairs. The genes are inherited from the parents and do not change during a person’s life. A person’s set of genes is unique, and different than those of every other person, which is why forensics can uniquely identify persons, victims or offenders, by the DNA left at crime scenes. It is also how you can trace your ancestry when you submit DNA samples to companies who provide this service.
We know from the moment of fertilization that the life in the womb is human as shown by its genetic makeup. The human life in the womb has exactly the same number of chromosomes and genes as the mother and father and other humans, but in some unique combination of the parents’ genes. The genetic makeup of that unborn life is clearly human, not a bird or a fish or a cat. Left to a normal progression, it is a human child who is born.
The unborn human is neither the mother nor the father. The unborn child is not part of the mother’s body but is a separate human being in the earliest stage of life. It is obvious it is not the mother because a woman can give birth to a male child — he has a Y chromosome which he received from his father and that the mother does not have.
In these earliest stages of life, the child needs two things from the mother: nutrition and protection. After being born, the helpless child still needs nutrition and protection, and a varying amount of care until, with maturity, the child can become independent and self-supporting. But at the very beginning, the child is protected and nourished in the mothers’ womb until it is ready to be born.
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Now let’s consider the ethics of the situation. Ethics was explored in depth by Socrates, who lived over 400 years before the Christian Era, and is considered one of the greatest thinkers ever.
To quote theclassroom.com: “Socrates equated knowledge with virtue, which ultimately leads to ethical conduct. … He looked for principles and actions that were worth living by, creating an ethical base upon which decisions should be made. Socrates firmly believed that knowledge and understanding of virtue, or ‘the good,’ was sufficient for someone to be happy. … He believed that no person could willingly choose to do something harmful or negative if they were fully aware of the value of life.”
Based on these fundamental concepts, ethical human beings should oppose the intentional death of human beings who have done no wrong. But an unborn child is innocent, being incapable of performing any culpable act. I believe that it does not take a degree in philosophy to understand this.
We properly grieve persons killed by accidents, natural disasters, or illness, and certainly deaths intentionally caused by another person. Drunken drivers who kill others are dealt with severely by our laws, and rightly so. Thoughtful humans innately know that human life is precious, and many vigorously oppose the death penalty for this reason. Even after juries have exhaustively studied the evidence and conclude that the accused party is guilty is guilty of murder, the penalty discussion seriously weighs whether the death penalty is appropriate. We naturally hesitate to allow the execution of known guilty persons because they are human beings.
In summary, genetics demonstrates these facts: The unborn child is genetically human and genetically unique, and left to a normal course will grow until birth, grow to walk, to talk and do all the things other humans can do. Abortion kills this human being at an early stage of life and should be opposed by ethical human beings. To some it may also be a religious issue, but all informed persons of good will should oppose abortion, quite aside from religious belief.
LifeNews Notge: Chris Kelly has university degrees in biology, chemistry and computer science, and has lived in Loveland since 1986. He retired in 2021 after 38 years as an R&D engineer.