|A chick beginning to hatch|
You’re likely familiar with the philosophical problem, “which came first, the chicken or the egg?” But I want to pose a different sort of chicken-or-egg question for those abortion supporters who claim things like “My Body, My Choice.”
In the case of non-mammals like chickens, fertilized eggs develop outside of the mother’s body, so we can actually watch embryonic development occur. It’s a fascinating process. The chick grows inside the egg until she’s old enough to hatch, and then she hatches herself, by pecking her way out of the egg.
It’s worth asking two questions.
First, was the chick inside the egg alive before she hatched? Of course. If her life began at birth, she couldn’t have pecked her way out of the shell. Dead chicks don’t peck. For that matter, if she wasn’t alive, she couldn’t grow inside her shell. Metabolism is one of the key markers for life, since dead things don’t metabolize. And of course, it’s absurd to suppose that a dead egg suddenly turned into a living chick.
Second, was the chick a distinct living being prior to hatching? This answer is equally obvious: the chick is a living being distinct from her mother. If the hen looked down at the egg, and said “My Body, My Choice!” she’d be objectively wrong. The chick is a different being, with her own tiny body, and with her own genetic code. She is, by every scientific standard, a distinct organism.
|A chick emerging from her egg|
Sure, she’s still reliant upon her mother to live. The hen could easily kill her chick, either actively (by crushing the egg), or passively (by simply refusing to care for the egg). But the fact that someone’s life is entrusted to you doesn’t make them part of your person.
Of course, there’s one important difference between chickens and humans in this regard: in the case of unborn babies, they grow in an egg inside the mother. That’s it: that’s the incidental characteristic of human development that the entire argument for abortion is based on. If human babies grew like chicks, or if they grew in test tubes, we wouldn’t hesitate for a second to recognize them for what they are: living human beings, distinct from their mothers.
Of course, the fact that they grow in eggs inside their moms, instead of growing in eggs outside of their moms is an accident of geography. “My Body, My Choice” is just bad science. You can’t seriously claim this without grossly misunderstanding human anatomy or reproduction. It’s someone else’s body, your child’s body, and if it’s “your choice” to destroy her body, it’s just because she’s too helpless to defend herself.