Cal State Long Beach: Even chicken embryos are not chickens

Unborn babies are parasites, not persons

In front of Kinesiology Building, Cal State Long Beach

California Catholic reporter Mary Rose visits a California college each week and ask students about God, good, and evil. 

  • Laura, studying political science
  • Interviewed in front of the Cal State Long Beach Student Union
  • January 23
  • Do you consider yourself religious?
  • Laura: No.
  • Did you ever consider yourself religious?
  • Laura: When I was young.
  • What changed?
  • Laura: I learned more about the world and grew scientifically curious and just changed my mind. I can’t bring myself to believe that some omnipotent being just created everything.
  • What do you think about this argument: Every time we see writing or architecture or other ordered things, we recognize that someone with intelligence made it. There are some ordered things, though, that are eternal and we only discover, like the Pythagorean Theorem (that the squares on two sides of a right triangle equal the square on the hypotenuse) – doesn’t that show that an eternal being with intelligence made it?
  • Laura: It wasn’t a discovery. That was a computation. It was created. It wasn’t discovered.
  • The theorem was created, but the fact that the triangles are equal has always been that way.
  • Laura: But numbers were created. So mathematically, while it is equal, that was all a creation. We made numbers, we made measurements in general. Like a distance would be a distance, but we quantified that distance. [The Pythagorean Theorem] is a human construct to make it look ordered. It’s just how the human mind works. I think that the human brain also works in trying to explain away every phenomenon. Whether it be scientifically through numbers, whether it be spiritually to try to decide why we are the way that we are, or explain away our behaviors or explain away one group of people from another, someone’s otherness. It’s all a construct that the human brain created.
  • Why do you think the human brain does that?
  • Laura: I don’t know. I don’t have an answer for that.
  • Why are you studying political science?
  • Laura: To make the world a better place. In all honesty, not to sound foolish or naive, because I’m an older student, I would like to make effective change for the betterment of as many people as possible, whether that means for my community or on a larger scale, I want to feel like I’ve contributed certain good to the world.
  • How do you determine what is “good” and what makes the world “better”?
  • Laura: My good isn’t necessarily someone else’s good but I want fairness for all, equality for all. Placing people – I don’t want to say on the same level – but allowing people to have a fighting chance of being on the level.
  • What are your views on abortion?
  • Laura: I’m pro-choice.
  • What would you say to those arguing for equality for all humans, including unborn members of our species?
  • Laura: Ok, so an unborn member of our species is not a person. They are not breathing air. They are not consuming anything of the world other than their parent’s nutrients. I’ve known too many women who had late-term miscarriages to know the difference between a late-term miscarriage and an infant dying. There is a difference. While there’s grief there, you don’t know that child yet. It’s not yet a child. It’s still just an internal being.
  • I’m trying to understand your definition of person. Does it have to do with a person’s place in society and how they’re recognized by other people?
  • Laura: No. Because they’re not a person in society. It’s not that they’re not recognized, it’s that they’ve not yet come to fruition.
  • Have infants come to fruition? They can’t do most of the things adults can: rationalize, reproduce, etc.
  • Laura: They can think and there is a level of rationalization in an infant.
  • But what’s the difference between that and a late-term fetus?
  • Laura: But more arguable than that, what’s the difference between that and a human vegetable? A human vegetable is still a human. They’re still lived life, breathed air. Like an adult who’s been in a car accident shouldn’t have the same rights as something that hasn’t yet lived.
  • If a fetus is putting its mother’s life at risk, does its life matter more than the mother’s?
  • That seems to lean toward ableism. Because of what someone could do or has done, that defines their personhood. Isn’t that what you’re saying?
  • Laura: No. That’s not what I’m saying at all. Well, I mean like yeah, in part experiences, by being out in the world in general, but when you’re you’re entire ability to thrive is based on being inside of someone, then that’s not really a person.
  • I understand what you’re saying, but I don’t understand why it should make the difference between person and non-person.
  • Laura: Because when you’re essentially a parasite then you’re not a person yet.
  • Here’s a different weird analogy: a chick growing in an egg. It’s not growing in a chicken, it’s growing in an egg and needs the protection of the eggshell and the nutrients contained by it to survive. Is that chick parasite or is it a chicken since it’s not inside another chicken?
  • Laura: The chick inside the egg is not yet a chicken.
  • But is it a member of the chicken species?
  • Laura: When it comes out of the egg, it is.
  • So if it’s growing there in its self-contained egg, what species is it?
  • Laura: It’s an egg. It will eventually be a chicken if the process grows to fruition.
  • Is it still just an egg when it’s pecking at the inside to break the shell and hatch?
  • Laura: But no one aborts a fully-formed infant.
  • There are about twelve thousand late-term abortions every year in the U.S.
  • Laura: But in the greater scheme of things, it’s less than one percent of all abortions are past twenty-four weeks.
  • Do you believe in any sort of afterlife?
  • Laura: No. Nope. I still fear death. I’m still uncomfortable with the idea of death because as a person you want to believe that you’ll live forever. That’s just human nature. But I wish I could believe that there was something, but I just don’t. I just think that once you’re dead you’re dead.


  1. Parishes are missing a huuuuuuuge opportunity to educate Catholics to be informed and to evangelize the world. But the fact is most parish lay catechetical staff aren’t competent to instruct or handle questions or dialogue in Socratic fashion, even if they have “certificates” from the archdiocese as a “master catechist.” The author of this series does a pretty good job interviewing and responding. Most parish faith formation is a joke. Where I live, parishes offer video watching as faith formation. How sad is that? And that’s one reason why parishes are failing and the church is decreasing.

  2. helen wheels says

    Is this the best the 49ers can do ??

  3. Gee Laura, I hope you are right!

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