Personhood means that we legally define all people—born and preborn—as human persons. As such, all deserve equal protection under the law.
Recognizing the personhood of all people requires an understanding of the creation—or beginning—of that human person. Embryologists agree that a unique person is created the moment the sperm fertilizes the egg, so they developed the Carnegie Stages of Development to explain the evolving stages of a preborn baby, beginning with that very first moment.
By the very nature of their humanity and their inherent dignity, all human beings have a right to life. Though preborn babies are persons, this is not yet recognized by law.
Because preborn babies are not recognized as persons under the law, over 60 million have been slaughtered under the guise of “choice” over the last 50 years in the US alone.
In the book of Genesis, we read that God created man and woman in His image. Jeremiah tells us that God knew us all before He formed us. In Luke, we read that John leapt in Elizabeth’s womb. Our faith teaches us what science confirms. Preborn babies are human beings, and as such, they deserve protection.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that “the dignity of the human person is rooted in his creation in the image and likeness of God.” It further states: “Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law:
You shall not kill the embryo by abortion and shall not cause the newborn to perish.
God, the Lord of life, has entrusted to men the noble mission of safeguarding life, and men must carry it out in a manner worthy of themselves. Life must be protected with the utmost care from the moment of conception: abortion and infanticide are abominable crimes.”
This is why it is crucial to teach the science and to work toward the recognition of personhood of all people under the law.
When preborn human beings are declared persons, they will receive the same protection that you and I receive—and there will be no exceptions. Regardless of how a child was created—as a result of rape or incest or as a result of a one-night stand—that child has equal dignity to any purposely created human being.
Change takes effort, and it takes all of us teaching the truth about the humanity of the preborn baby. Only when we teach children the truth, when we explain this truth to our friends and coworkers, when we stand up for the voiceless, and when we elect officials who will vote to protect preborn babies, will we see personhood laws come into effect.
Declaration on Truth and Life
Back in the early 2000s, American Life League developed a statement affirming the objective truth that every human person has a right to life from the moment of their creation and that there is never a moral justification for permitting the killing of any human person.