A Person's A Person, No Matter How SmallANDREW MCCRACKEN
OTTAWA - The lawyer representing the widow of Theodor Seuss Geisel, known around the globe as children's writer Dr. Seuss, is protesting the reprinting of a quote from the author's work, Horton Hears a Who!, on an anti-abortion poster being distributed in Ottawa Roman Catholic churches. Cathy Bencieengo said she will ask the local anti-abortion group Action Life Ottawa to remove the line "A person's a person, no matter how small" and Dr. Seuss's name from a colour poster showing an embryo.
One of the most important questions in the abortion debate is whether or not the embryo (and later, the fetus) is a person. Recall that under American and Canadian law, you must be a 'person' to have rights.
People who support abortion claim that the embryo or fetus is not in fact a person. They may admit that it is some form of human life, but they refuse to believe that it has the rights you and I have.
Here are some of the things abortion supporters may say about the embryo/fetus with some possible responses:
Yes, but so are you and so am I. The fact is, an embryo will grow into a fetus, which will grow into a baby ... and a toddler ... and a teenager ... and an adult. So it's not just a bunch of cells; it's a human being at the very earliest stages of development.
No, it's inside its mother's body. Big difference, right? After all, if the fetus was part of the mother, every pregnant woman would have two heads, four hands, and 50% of all pregnant women would have penises!
So what is it then, an ape? A fish? If it's not a person, how does it become a person?
Not all people think all the time. Does this mean that not all people are persons? For example, you don't think when you are in deep sleep. You don't think when you are in a coma. Are you sometimes a non-person? Newborn babies have very limited thinking abilities compared to teenagers. Does this mean that they are not people?
(This handout is designed to accompany the lesson plan "Is the Fetus a Person" (http://catholiceducation.org/articles/lesson_plans/lp0006.html)
© 2001 The Catholic
Education Resource Center
Not all articles published on CERC are the objects of official Church teaching, but these are supplied to provide supplementary information.