Of Life, Love, and Reason: This is not a Difficult Concept

I've seen this image a few times over the last month or two -- or more. People still post it on Twitter or elsewhere, meaning for it to be a straightforward, rebuttal of the pro-life claim that life begins at conception.

It's an interesting graphic. At first I thought, Oh! now, I get it, experiencing some kind of emotional surprise and understanding.

It's inaccurate of course.

Here's the problem. First, a dress is not a tree. Fabrics, threads, and the things we make out of them are not alive. They are objects, so the fact that silk is not a dress has nothing to do with issues regarding life.

Second, a chicken is not a tree. Plants and animals are different. We may use the word alive to describe both, but we do not mean the same thing in each instance. There are, rightfully, protections regarding the life of animals that far outweigh any value given to plants. A tree is a plant, so the fact that a nut, a seed, or an acorn is not a tree has no bearing on the question at hand.

Third, a human is not a chicken. It should be noted, of course, that a fertilized egg actually is a chicken -- you may have seen discoloration in your egg yoke and wondered if you were eating a "baby chicken" as people often do -- but even so, we may protect full-grown chickens in ways we might not protect their eggs. This would say something about how we could treat fertilized human eggs if we could agree that humans are simply one of the animals and our offspring should be treated the same as the offspring of any animal. This isn't the case. Humans are of more value than the chickens and beavers and all other animals. This reality is reflected in our laws and behavior, much to PETA's distain. According to the animal rights group,

We work hard to deceive ourselves and each other in order to maintain the illusion of a real boundary around “human.”

Though the strides taken in the name of reducing animal cruelty are commendable, this sentiment that all beings "are the same" is in contradiction to reality. We are not the same:

Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?

I do agree, though, with the sentiment that this is not a difficult concept. Here are the facts. A fetus is a human being -- he or she is not becoming human, rather they're becoming a baby, just one of many observable stages of human development. Every human being is a person. The idea that some humans should have personhood status under the law while others should not is an archaic defense of such social ills as slavery and Jim Crow. A man and a giraffe are not the same, but one human and another human are absolutely equals. And one cannot deliberately kill another without just cause.

I know, some will argue that an unplanned pregnancy is a just cause, like self-defense and punishment for the worst of crimes. It isn't.


I really do hope this served to clarify some things. If you've got questions or further thoughts, please share it with us in the comments.