An unborn baby: Is it a Human being or Not?

An unborn baby: Is it a Human being or Not?.

An unborn baby: Is it a Human being or Not?

The definition of humanity when it comes to abortion is controversial because it depends on each person’s perception of when life begins. Some people define a human being as anything made up of human cells; whether they are specialised or not. On the other hand, some people define humanity as a viable being, one who has seen the world, made connections with people and is of tangible importance. This paper discusses both arguments and offers an insight into the debate about abortion.

I agree with the author’s position on humanity because a zygote is a living organism because it has all the characteristics of a living thing. For instance, it can move; an ovum is usually fertilised in the fallopian tube, but it travels to the uterus (Anscombe 111-115). In fact, it grows and develops from a single cell to a blastocyst, which is about twelve cells, then increases in size through differentiation to more spec aliased cells that have special functions such as the brain. In addition, the blastocyst can respire, and this is why it develops an umbilical cord so that it can pass oxygen through the mother. Like any other living thing, the blastocyst can adapt to the environment. For instance, when they are two they adapt and accommodate themselves in the confined space. Lastly, it can respond to stimuli. For example, when the host is not feeding enough, it will respond by making the host craves for some types of food; some mothers who do not take in enough iron crave for mud because the zygote is iron deficient.

An unborn baby has a right to life because it is unique; it has two sets of genes, from both parents. No one in the world has the same unique genetic code, not even an identical twin. Therefore, one has a right to grow and develop to achieve all there is in life. However, the fetus is helpless because it is solely dependent on the mother. Thus, killing it would be just like killing a person who is on a life support machine. Additionally, an unborn baby is a human and the fact that it is not visible should not deny it a chance to live. Thus, though we cannot see through opaque objects, there are ways one can be made to see using X-RAY. Therefore, one cannot say a fetus is not a human being because it is not visible. Actually, saying as such would be like saying the heart is not present or important because you cannot see it but we know it is alive since there are methods that can be used to view it.

On the other hand, I am opposed to the author’s idea of humanity because a fertilised ovum is not viable. Literally, a human being is one who has seen the world, has had experiences, experienced pain, pleasure, hotness, and coldness (Bedate and Cefalo 651). Therefore, if a zygote is to be considered a human, then emergency contraception should be equally considered as abortion because, in some instances, the ovum is already fertilised when it blocked from attaching itself to the uterus. Besides, there is a reason why the date of birth is considered when one is just born. Why it is not the day one is conceived? This is because the use of contraceptive would be considered as genocide! Indeed, from conception to birth, it is a game of chance, and there is a probability the fetus might survive, or it might die. Therefore, a person only deserves the title ‘human’ from the day one is born, and not a minute earlier.

Contraception cannot be depended on because women sometimes get themselves into situations they did not plan. In some occasions, they are not physically, emotionally, or financially ready to support the baby. In fact, if the baby is born, he or she will suffer more, and so will the mother. So there is no need to bring forth a child to face the misery of poverty. I think that it is more humane to consider abortion than allowing a newborn to suffer. Indeed, it is difficult to define humanity because there is no one argument that is agreeable across the divide. For instance, one anti-abortion campaigner defined it referring to the Bible. However, what of the people who do not ascribe to the beliefs in the bible? Are they to follow this definition too? I concur with the author’s idea that a human being is someone who has experience and has connections to people.

I agree with Warren (91) position that defining a fetus by its genetic composition is not enough to define a human. There are entities that have the genetic code similar to that of human beings, but they are not human beings. Additionally, a person whose cognitive and sensory aspects are not functional is a human being, though he lacks personhood (Warren 91). For example, a person in a coma is dependent on the action of the doctors as with permission they can unplug the life support machine. A fetus, therefore, is a human entity with all the genetic requirements, but it does not possess personhood. It cannot express itself emotionally, have sentience, and does not have self-awareness. Therefore, an unborn baby cannot be defined as a person but as part of the mother who can get rid of her body part if she is not ready to give birth. However, this position is complicated because every human being has the potential to lose his mental capabilities. Therefore, we ought to extend this feeling to the unborn baby. Human beings take care of each other, and we should be able to take care of an embryo until it can use its mental capabilities.

In conclusion, abortion should not be regarded as an unlawful act nor should it be allowed to take place without the help of health practitioners. Moreover, one might consider a fetus as a human because it is made of living cells, and the cells are the basic unit of life. Therefore, if an unborn baby is made of human cells, then it is a human being. Additionally, a fetus expresses all the characteristics of a living thing as evidenced by the biology of a human being. For instance, just after conception the zygote state to move, grow, and develop while respiring and using energy. On the other hand, a fetus might not be considered a human being because it is not viable and has no self-perception. The only person it has a connection with is the mother, but she can choose to cut that connection at any time because it is part of her body. Additionally, it is a game of probability because it can easily die, especially during the first weeks because it cannot survive on its own. Furthermore, a blastocyst cannot even pump its blood for the first few weeks on its own because it is not a human being.


Works Cited

Anscombe, G. E. M. “Were you a Zygote?” Royal Institute of Philosophy Lecture Series, vol. 18, 1984, pp. 111-115.

Bedate, Carlos, and Robert C. Cefalo. “The Zygote: to be or not be a Person.” Journal of Medicine and Philosophy, vol. 14, no. 6, 1989, pp. 641-645.

Noonan, John. “An Almost Absolute Value in History.” The Morality of Abortion: Legal and Historical Perspective. Cambridge, Harvard University Press, 1970, pp. 81-85.

Warren, Mary. “The Moral Status of Abortion.” The Morality of Abortion: Legal and Historical Perspective. Cambridge, Harvard University Press, 1970, pp. 85-93.

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An unborn baby: Is it a Human being or Not?

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