Declaration on Truth and Life
This declaration is set forth as the foundation for our work in the pro-life movement and is based on the following beliefs:
- There is an absolute objective truth established by our Creator and it is revealed to us in His Divine Word and through natural law;
- The absolute objective truth is unchanging, cannot be destroyed, and cannot be manipulated;
- Absolute objective truth defines the beginning of a human being as the moment of conception/fertilization;
- Human life is created in the likeness and image of the Divine Creator and, as such, every human life is equal and sacred;
- It is our duty to teach and defend the absolute objective truth;
- It is our responsibility to secure, in full, the inalienable and fundamental right to life for all human persons.
Truth and the Human Person
The life of every individual human being normally begins in the fallopian tubes at the moment of fertilization when the sperm fuses with the ovum to form a single celled zygote. Even though it is tiny, this human being usually contains 46 chromosomes, is already male or female, and has the capacity to direct his/her own growth and development. The zygote immediately begins to grow and continues through a process of development. The zygote is a living human being, a human individual, and, therefore, a person. It is not an opinion or an arbitrary statement. It is a basic scientific fact that has been known for over a century. It is the definition found in human embryology and biology textbooks around the world. This is an absolute objective truth that does not and cannot change.
The human person is an individual human being who has a unique genetic and spiritual identity. That identity is unchanging from the first moment of his/her existence. Regardless of the process used (sexual intercourse, in vitro fertilization, cloning, etc.), the human person exists at fertilization. Since it is scientifically demonstrated, the beginning of the life of every human being is not a question for academic or political debates. Life begins at fertilization and a human person is a person from that moment forward.
Some people try to hide, change the meaning of, or tear down this objective truth. They call it a lie and instead promote false ideas. If they acknowledge the existence of human life at all, they will call the new human being anything but a human person. However, it is very dangerous to define the "human being" separately from the "human person." At that point, some people are designated as subjects and others as mere objects - some lives are deemed "worthy" of living and some not.
Man's very existence is currently threatened by growing moral relativism- the idea that there is no right or wrong. The belief in absolute truth is being challenged by the view that truth depends upon the beliefs of individuals and/or groups. Man's appreciation of the human person as someone worthy of respect has been lost over the course of time - through false court decisions, manipulated and self-serving science and rationalizations by a society preoccupied with self-interest and personal gratification. Now, more than ever before, it is imperative that we constantly serve as a reflection of the absolute objective truth.
Fundamental Respect for Life and Love
Human life is a miraculous gift from God. Moreover, it is the crowning gift to the loving union of man and woman. When barriers are put in place to block the gift of life and when the gift of life is controlled through science and technology, children easily become viewed as commodities, or material "things," instead of gifts. Respect for human life is impossible without respect for conjugal union. Contraceptive acts and reproductive technologies that manipulate or replace conjugal union are a rejection of the gift of life - and most often include the foreseen deaths of tiny children.
Abortion will never end as long as society approves the use of contraception. The practice of contraception means children are unwanted and provides the rationalization for abortion. It is a violation of human dignity to promote or accept the use of contraception.
Artificial methods of reproduction (in vitro fertilization, "test tube" babies), likewise, are immoral because they involve the laboratory production and destruction of children. This is the same mentality that is used to rationalize destructive human embryo research, human cloning and the sacrifice of tiny children for research. It is a violation of human dignity to promote or accept the use of such technologies because they seek to manipulate and destroy the gift of life.
The Personhood Movement
It is our duty and our responsibility to recognize and promote the human person. In living out the absolute objective truth, we must dedicate ourselves to the re-affirmation and protection of human personhood - from the first moment of existence, regardless of the creative process, and regardless of the person's physical, mental or spiritual abilities at any given time. We must defend and protect human personhood in our speech, in our written words and in our actions at all times. The only way to promote and defend human life against the attacks of the Culture of Death is to be well grounded in the understanding of absolute objective truth.
The principle of total protection is defined as respecting the dignity of the human person at every stage, regardless of age, ability, health, condition of dependency or the procreative process employed to initiate life.
It is wrong to discriminate against a person based on race, sex, ethnicity, disability, circumstance of creation or any other arbitrary classification. It is wrong to deny the right to life to any person from fertilization onward, regardless of the reason given.
It is discriminatory and untrue to say that everyone has a right to life except:
- a child conceived by rape or incest;
- a child who may live only for a brief moment once outside of the womb, or who may require medical attention later in life, a wheelchair, or special education;
- a child who is not yet old enough to have implanted in the mother's uterus;
- a child whose embryonic body may be useful in scientific experiments for "the greater good" or for the "advancement of science."
It is very common today to have proposed legislation that contains "exceptions" - meaning that abortion is acceptable for a variety of reasons. Inclusion of these "exceptions" undermines the defense of life and provides rationalization for all abortion.
We cannot ignore the abortifacient nature (producing an abortion before implantation) of some drugs and devices that are promoted to the public as "pure contraceptives." Millions of embryonic babies have died and will continue to die because these alleged contraceptives prevent them from implanting in the womb. All women need to know that these chemicals can also act as abortifacients and that, if they use these products, they may be unwittingly aborting their children. It is discriminatory to deny women the full scientific and medical information they need to make an informed decision.
It is discriminatory to treat people who are created through in vitro fertilization or other such technologies as less deserving of respect and dignity. Processes, technologies or experiments that seek to create life for the sole purpose of "advancing science" or developing medical "cures" are both morally unethical and legally unacceptable. These processes create life only to destroy it. Likewise, it is discriminatory to promote or accept the use of body parts or tissues from children who were directly and intentionally aborted.
It is discriminatory to assist directly or indirectly in the termination of those persons afflicted by age or illness through physician-assisted suicide ("death with dignity") or euthanasia ("mercy killing").
Any process or action that deprives the innocent human person of life and dignity must be rejected as evil and unacceptable.
Some success may occur in our efforts to promote human personhood. We must remember, though, that we do not work for simply "quick solutions" or partial victories. No effort should ever betray the personhood principle. Compromise on the fundamental principle of personhood leads only to cultural corruption. The word "exception" must be erased from our vocabulary. Exceptions must be understood for what they are - attempts to deny God's gift of eternal life to another human person merely because of a particular circumstance or characteristic. We are not called to judge the value of any human life. We are called to protect all human beings without exception. In those rare situations where the mother's life is deemed to be in imminent jeopardy (for example, cancerous uterus or ectopic pregnancy) and immediate action is recommended to address the situation, both the child and the mother must be treated as patients of equal standing.
We must recognize and accept the fact that we are working first to change the hearts and minds of every member of our society. Hearts and minds will be most quickly and permanently changed by our example - when we stand firm on the absolute objective truth and insist on protecting the lives of all human persons without exceptions. We are not called to be victorious, but to be ever faithful to the absolute objective truth.