Why Do People Think That Unborn Babies Aren’t Human?

I sometimes get requests to do interviews for local students. You can read one of them here at LifeNews.com. I just did another one, and this is my response to one of his questions:

11 weeks from fertilization; 13 weeks LMP.

Student: Why do you think that people don’t think that unborn babies are human?

Some are ignorant of the biological reality that the embryo, from fertilization, is a living, whole, human organism.

Most pro-choice people don’t question whether the embryo is biologically alive anymore. Instead, there are two common confusions about whether they qualify as organisms:

1: They Wrongly Compare Embryos to Other Bodily Cells

Embryos are not like skin cells or sperm cells. As Scott Klusendorf explains, “that argument confuses parts with wholes.” Skin cells are a part of my body working for the good of my organism. During the fertilization process the sperm and oocyte die and what remains is a new human organism with separate DNA from the mother, who’s parts are working for the good of it’s whole.

2: They Confuse Construction with Development

Richard Stith has a wonderful article where he explains that some pro-choice think that humans are constructed like a car on an assembly line. That would explain why they don’t think embryos are valuable, because nobody thinks there is a “car” as soon as the first two pieces of steel are welded together at a car factory. But as Stith explains, humans aren’t constructed like cars, they develop from within, like a Polaroid photo.

Most people don’t argue as much about the biology anymore but instead argue that the unborn is not a valuable human being, or “person.” That’s usually because they think the unborn don’t have the necessary things that people have, like self-awareness, desires, or the ability to feel pain. The problem with those views is that it leads to arguments that permit infanticide, (newborns aren’t self-aware and they don’t have desires yet,) or they lead to arguments that allow most animals into the personhood family. (Most animals can feel pain.)

I think it makes much more sense to believe that all humans are valuable because of they share a human nature, and that’s what grounds their value.


Josh Brahm is the President of Equal Rights Institute, an organization that trains pro-life advocates to think clearly, reason honestly and argue persuasively.

Josh has worked in the pro-life movement since he was 18. A sought-after speaker, Josh has spoken for more than 23,000 people in six countries and in 22 of the 50 states.

Josh’s primary passion is helping pro-life people to be more persuasive when they communicate with pro-choice people. That means ditching faulty rhetoric and tactics and embracing arguments that hold up under philosophical scrutiny.

He has publicly debated leaders from Planned Parenthood, the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL), Georgians for Choice, and one of the leading abortion facilities in Atlanta.

Josh also wants to bring relational apologetics to the pro-life movement. “Some pro-choice people will not change their mind after one conversation on a college campus. Some of them will only change their mind after dozens of conversations with a person they trust in the context of friendship.”

Josh is formerly the host of a globally-heard podcast turned radio/TV show, Life Report. He now hosts the Equipped for Life Podcast. He’s also written dozens of articles for LifeNews.com and the ERI blog.

He directed the first 40 Days for Life campaign in Fresno, resulting in up to 60 lives saved.

Josh has been happily married to his wife, Hannah, for 15 years. They have three sons, Noah, William, and Eli. They live in Charlotte, North Carolina.

David Bereit, the National Director of 40 Days for Life, sums up Josh’s expertise this way: “Josh Brahm is one of the brightest, most articulate, and innovative people in the pro-life movement. His cutting-edge work is helping people think more clearly, communicate more effectively, and — most importantly — be better ambassadors for Christ. I wholeheartedly endorse Josh’s work, and I encourage you to join me in following Josh and getting involved in his work today!”

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