Friday, March 16, 2007

Winning the Fetus Debate

The posters at the Life Training Institute Blog are having a decision about the term fetus. Jay started by writing that he thinks prolifers shouldn't fear the use of the term "fetus," Serge points out some pro-choicers use the term "fetus" as an attempt to dehumanize the unborn and he tries to remember to always use the terms "human fetus" or "fetal human being" instead of just saying fetus, and then Jay discusses how poor an argument it is when pro-choicers act like they've proven the unborn aren't worthy of protection simply by calling them fetuses.

What I find interesting here is that I think the prolife movement for the most part has won the debate over what a human fetus is or isn't. I think when most people hear the term fetus, they don't think about a tiny grouping of cell with no value but rather they think about a miniature human being in the womb which has some value. Their minds go to the 3-D images of unborn children or they think of children who are born very premature as being in the womb. As time has passed, more people have become familiar with the term and it is not as abstract as it once was. Hardly anyone thinks fetal farming (killing human fetuses solely for their parts) should be permitted and reading pro-choice blogs I rarely see the term fetus used as if human fetuses weren't worth a dime. Only the dimmest of dim think this somehow amounts to some great point. Some prolifers have even used terms which were once so dehumanizing to humanize the unborn in the eyes of others.

I believe the same thing is happening to a certain extent with the term "embryo." Lawmakers and advocates whom favor of embryonic stem cell research and the creation of cloned human embryos for research will often intentionally avoid using the term "embryo." Somehow they think it's persuasive to argue the human embryonic stem cells they so crave are removed from something which is not a human embryo. Other terms like "pre-embryo," "certain material" or, in the case of legislation to expressly legalize the creation of cloned human embryos for research, "unfertilized egg" are used as synonyms for what they know to be a human embryo.

Why are they scared of using the term "human embryo?" Or even just "embryo?"

Because they recognize a decent portion of our society has become familiar with the term "embryo" and recognize that a human embryo is, just that, a human being in the embryonic stage of development. Terms like "pre-embryo," "unfertilized egg," and "product of nuclear transplantation" are the next generation of terms used to dehumanize the unborn. They need these new terms because the terms "fetus" and "embryo" no longer have the dehumanizing effect they once had in the public arena.

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