Part of the Mother’s Body?
From conception onward, pregnancy involves two (or more) separate bodies.
The slogan, "My Body, My Choice," betrays a tragic misunderstanding of what is taking place inside the womb. At no point in pregnancy is the developing embryo or fetus simply a part of the mother's body.
There are a number of clear biological facts, and all sorts of legal precedents, that easily refute the claim that the embryo or fetus is simply part of the mother's body. Consider the following:
- An individual's body parts all share the same genetic code. If the unborn child were actually a part of the mother's body, the unborn's cells would have the same genetic code as the cells of the mother. This is not the case. Every cell of the unborn's body is genetically distinct from every cell in the mother's body. Though it’s possible for someone to have a transplanted organ that does not share the same genetic code as the rest their body, that transplanted organ does match the genetic code of the original donor. The same can not be said of an unborn child.
- Human embryos are not independently generated by the woman. According to former United States Surgeon General, C. Everett Koop,"we should not view the unborn baby as an extension of the woman's body [because] it did not originate only from the woman. The baby would not exist without the man's seed."1
- In many cases, the blood type of the unborn child is different than the blood type of the mother. Since one body cannot function with two different blood types, this is clearly not the mother's blood.
- In half of all pregnancies, the unborn child is a male, meaning that even the sex of the child is different from the mother.
- As Randy Alcorn states in his book Pro-Life Answers to Pro-Choice Arguments, "A Chinese zygote implanted in a Swedish woman will always be Chinese, not Swedish, because his identity is based on his genetic code, not on that of the body in which he resides."2
- It is possible for a fetus to die while the mother lives, and it is possible for the mother to die while the fetus lives. This could not be true if the mother and child were simply one person.
- When the embryo implants in the lining of the uterus, it emits chemical substances which weaken the woman's immune system within the uterus so that this tiny "foreign" body is not rejected by the woman's body. Were this tiny embryo simply "part of the woman's body," there would be no need to locally disable the woman's immunities.
- It is illegal to execute a pregnant woman on death row because the fetus living inside her is a distinct human being who cannot be executed for the crimes of the mother.3
- As of February 2013, at least 38 states have fetal homicide laws which protect the rights of unborn children independently of the mother (except in the case of abortion).4 These laws make it possible to charge someone who kills a pregnant woman with two counts of murder.
Sir Albert Liley (the "Father of Fetology") made this observation in a 1970 speech entitled, "The Termination of Pregnancy or the Extermination of the Fetus?"
Physiologically, we must accept that the conceptus is, in a very large measure, in charge of the pregnancy.... Biologically, at no stage can we subscribe to the view that the fetus is a mere appendage of the mother.5
The late Christopher Hitchens, a prominent public intellectual, atheist, and abortion advocate wrote the following in his book, God is Not Great:
As a materialist, I think it has been demonstrated that an embryo is a separate body and entity, and not merely (as some really did used to argue) a growth on or in the female body. There used to be feminists who would say that it was more like an appendix or even—this was seriously maintained—a tumor. That nonsense seems to have stopped… Embryology confirms morality. The words “unborn child,” even when used in a politicized manner, describe a material reality.6
No matter how you spin it, women don't have four arms and four legs when they're pregnant. Those extra appendages belong to the tiny human being(s) living inside of them. At no point in pregnancy is the developing embryo or fetus simply a part of the mother's body.
This page was last updated on July 25, 2014. To cite this page in a research paper, visit: "Citing Abort73 as a Source."
- C. Everett Koop, M.D., and Francis A. Schaeffer, Whatever Happened to the Human Race? (Fleming H. Revell Company, 1979), 40.
- Randy Alcorn, Pro-Life Answers to Pro-Choice Arguments (Multnomah Publishers, 2000), 57.
- International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights: Article 6.5
- “Fetal Homicide Laws,” National Conference of State Legislatures http://www.ncsl.org/issues-research/health/fetal-homicide-state-laws.aspx February 2013.
- Sir William Albert Liley,“The Termination of Pregnancy or the Extermination of the Fetus?” cited by Randy Alcorn, Pro-Life Answers to Pro-Choice Arguments, 58.
- Christopher Hitchens, God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything (Hachette Book Group. Kindle Edition, 2009), 378-379.