Are human fetuses considered worth less than a dog or cat?

I’m trying to prove that a fetus should be considered a person.
My opponents keep citing scientific “evidence” that “proves” that a fetus can’t feel pain, at least until the second or third trimester; and thus that it’s not wrong to destroy it, since it doesn’t even now it’s alive yet.

The topic moved on into how wrong it would be to kill an animal, since they can’t feel emotion.
But, now there is more scientific “proof” that animals can feel emotion!
Does this mean that, either I can’t find the scientific proof I’m looking for, or that an animal is actually higher in dignity than a not-fully-developed human embryo?

A person’s inherent dignity does not depend on their individual capabilities. Just because a newborn cannot walk does not make it less human than a dog which can. Likewise, a parapalegic is just as human as a person who can walk, run, or jump. Our dignity comes from being made in the image and likeness of God; it is in no way based on what we are able to do or not do.

I’m not sure when human embryos begin to feel pain, but it is no less wrong to kill one than it would be to painlessly euthanize a teenager.

Good answer. Thanks for this. I need to lock this one away in my brain!


I would also point out people who have congenital analgesia (can’t feel pain). Since they can’t feel pain would it be okay to kill them? Also what about someone who is in a coma, do they know they are alive? Since they don’t would it be okay to kill all of those people? I would recommend going to They have excellent resources for dealing with these types of arguments. Also Stephanie Gray is one of the staff members on the website and she is a frequent guest on Catholic Answer’s “Pro-life answers to Pro-choice questions”. She does an awesome job and you can hear previous episodes by looking them up on the website. Hope this helps.

God Bless

Ok, there’s your problem right there. Pain. So what? Pain and pleasure, believe it or not, are irrelevant to the question of what makes a person.

You know the only thing that distinguishes mankind from the animals? 46 chromosomes. That’s it. Some animals can be more intelligent than some humans. Some humans do not even have brains. The only thing that ties all of us together, to the exclusion to other animals, is our 46 chromosomes.

That, and the foetus is alive. Living things grow. They develop. Eggs develop. Foetuses develop. Corpses fester and rot, but only fungus and bacteria develop.

Foetuses are, then, by definition, human life objectively. Any other definition of a person other than “a human life” is arbitrary and can be applied to at least one other animal.

The topic moved on into how wrong it would be to kill an animal, since they can’t feel emotion.
But, now there is more scientific “proof” that animals can feel emotion!

They feel fear, anger, rage, excitement, sexual arousal. Yeah. I’d call that emotion - more particularly, instinct. Emotion, I think, is instinctual, not intellectual (though animals can be very intelligent, too - some even more than the stupidest humans).

Does this mean that, either I can’t find the scientific proof I’m looking for, or that an animal is actually higher in dignity than a not-fully-developed human embryo?

Our dignity is not in any gifts or abilities we have. If it were, why should we give a corpse any dignity? Or why should we give babies any? Or children? Children and babies are incompetent. (Well, compared to adults. I know they’re trying, but if we’re going to judge humanity based on ability, children are barely human.)

It is in being a human life. That’s all.

Ah; I hadn’t thought of that. :slight_smile: This is also a good demonstration of where this argument and arguments like it don’t make sense.

For you, not your friend, I might also put forward anencephaly - being born without a brain (usually just a brain stem, if that).

By their logic, those with congenital insensitivity to pain are also not human.

Ability to feel pain does not determine humanity.

edit - awww…someone else got to it first. :frowning:

Firstly, the science is incomplete and can change. In the 1960s, The Church stood for the unborn child and the science - at the time - did not! Then the science ‘discovered’ that the fetus IS a living ‘thing.’

Ask your opponents if they FEEL now! What if their mothers aborted/killed them before they could feel anything at the fetus stage? Does it make a difference that they developed sensory abilities and were born to become gamers like they are now?

If it was alright to kill them at the pre-sensory stage of the fetus why not now? What’s the difference?

Just because you grow up and develop abilities to defend yourself, doesn’t mean you can turn around and destroy those who cannot, whether born or unborn!


Coincidentally–I posted something similar to the question posed by the OP recently, in another forum (perhaps here on CAF, but another thread…I really don’t remember…)–anyway, here was the comparison/contrast I drew:

Under the Law, dogs actually do enjoy a greater dignity than not yet born human babies.

To illustrate–

48 of the 50 states (N and S Dakota excluded) have some sort of animal cruelty laws which qualify as felonies.

Yet, a woman can kill her not yet born baby, with impugnity. In fact, it is defended as an absolute right, protected by the Constitution (actually, manufactured by the Burger Court, and upheld–either explicitly or tacitly–by every Sup. Court since).

So basically one can go to jail for over a year, and be labeled a convicted felon for life in 48 of the 50 states, for abusing an animal–while tens of millions of women, in conjunction with their doctors, have actually killed 50+million babies since 1973, under complete protection of the law.

Hence it appears rather clear that under the law, a dog enjoys greater dignity (and certainly protection)–than a not yet born human baby.

Now the above is only mildly mitigated by the fact that a murderer may receive an increase to their sentene, for killing an expectant mother–while a dog remains defined as chattel. A glaring inconsistency with the point above–yet a glimmer of hope, that the law may one day return to some semblence of sanity.

MEMO to the Supreme Court:

**Human beings > dogs. **

Please take note.

These are flimsy arguments, meant to assuage the guilt of women undergoing this “procedure”.

Following that line of reasoning, I’m not sure what argument could be made against any form of murder, since if someone dies and that is the end of them in eternity, they no longer feel pain and there is no memory of having suffered.

It seems this guy thought so.

Who is Gosnell?

^ Gruesome… but definitely an eye-opener.

Everyone, thanks for the info! I’ll use it as best I can.

“Science” does not define “life” in terms of pain sensitivity or emotion. You can’t find one credible scientific source that uses such measures.

You can find credible scientific sources that use metabolic activity as an indication of “life.” In terms of metabolic activity, you are never “more alive” than at conception. You start out completely off the charts, and it’s all downhill from there. We start out “full of life” and gradually decline over the course of our lives.

A newborn is less intelligent than the swine that get turned into bacon.

As well, consider if a person going under anesthesia (lack of consciousness, self-awareness or pain) ceases to become a person during the time when they are under anesthesia.

The counter argument is that anesthesia is a temporary situation…

…but so is being a early-state fetus.

Of Course Animals feel emotion, whoever said animals have no emotion is a Dill…
I spent the First 26 years of my life on dairy Farms… Animals can think,they have Memory, they show affection ,love, Pain, Anxiety, just like people… I’v even seen Homosexual Chickens… ( don’t comment on that Jason )
And the Human Fetus also feel pain,Proven Fact… saw it on a Medical Documentary concerning Abortions… I wont go into detail as it may upset some people…

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