Tuesday, January 30, 2007
THE FETUS #3
3. Is the fetus a person?
* If not, what is it?
* What is a person? There are many philosophical, theological and legal definitions which differ. In this country, legal persons include corporations and institutions such as the US Air Force Academy. Definitions of personhood which exclude the unborn also exclude infants and the comatose, as well as many handicapped.
* The unborn HAVE legal rights as persons under US law: They have inheritance rights; in their name lawsuits can be brought against individuals for harming them in the womb; "wrongful death" actions are brought against individuals who accidently injure an unborn child and cause death; criminals who assault pregnant women have been successfully prosecuted for murder when the child has been killed [Roe v. Wade, 410 US 113, @ 159].
* American Jurisprudence, one of the two most authoritative American legal encyclopedias states: "Biologically speaking, the life of the human being begins at the moment of conception in the mother's womb, and as a general rule of construction in the law, a legal personality is imputed to an unborn child for all purposes which would be beneficial to the infant after its birth."
* The US Supreme Court (Roe v. Wade) arbitrarily declared every human but the unborn child a person. It recognized that if the unborn were considered legal persons, their right to life would be protected under the 14th Amendment [Av at 156]. The Court's arbitrary, unjustified definition of personhood boils down to an undefined standard of what determines a life worth being allowed to live.
* The 14th Amendment declares that "no person . . . shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law."
* Even if we were in doubt whether a fetus is a person, would it be the wise thing, then, to kill it? Does a wise hunter who sees a stirring in a bush shoot it without knowing what it is?
[To be continued.]