LIFE BEGINS at CONCEPTION
Catholics believe that a new human life begins from the moment a sperm fertilizes an egg. Wait… what?
- A new human being is created when a sperm fertilizes an egg.
- This human being is not the dad or mom, it’s a new human being completely unique from the parents.
- The physical material that this new being is made of is the stuff of humans. It’s not a cat, a tree, or a marshmallow. It’s a human because as it grows, it just grows into an older human being. Rewind the clock and it’s a zygote. Forward the clock and it’s just an older human being. In other words, you can’t separate the beginning (zygote) from the end (an old human being) as a species, because it’s all human.
- The only thing that is different between a zygote and an old human being is time.
- The Catholic Church is pretty intense about point #4, saying that separating the two is unjustified discrimination.
The Catholic Church states: “Any discrimination based on the various stages of life is no more justified than any other discrimination… From the time that the ovum is fertilized, a new life is begun which is neither that of the father nor of the mother; it is rather the life of a new human being with his own growth. It would never be made human if it were not human already… Right from fertilization is begun the adventure of a human life, and each of its great capacities requires time … to find its place and to be in a position to act.”1
In other words, a human is a human, is a human is a human.
PHILOSOPHY 101: So then you ask, “Well if a human is a human regardless of the time that transpires from conception to an adult, then how is it that if I eat a peach seed, it wouldn’t be the same as eating a peach? Especially if according to you, what differentiates a peach seed and a peach is simply time?”
Great question. You’re right- a peach seed IS a peach seed, and a peach IS a peach. But does this analogy translate into the human species? No. In other words, a zygote is not a “human seed”, it’s a person. There’s no such thing as a human seed. The closest analogy to a “human seed” is a sperm or an egg. Sperm or eggs are not a human lives themselves, although they are the “stuff” that create life (and therefore special). An egg or a sperm doesn’t have a soul itself: it’s when the sperm fertilizes the egg, and suddenly we’re dealing with a creature that has a soul.
After all, human beings were created after the image and likeness of God… the human being is the most valuable living creature on this planet. Therefore, “Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception. From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person—among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life.” Cf. CCC, 2270
Never forget: human life is sacred because God is Holy.
3www.foryourmarriage.org/why-natural-family-planning-differs-from-contraception/ and Letter to Families, no. 12
- Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2270-2275
- Declaration on Procured Abortion, written by the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, 1974
- Instruction on Respect for Human Life in its Origin and on the Dignity of Procreation Replies to Certain Questions of the Day, a.k.a. Donum Vitae, written by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith