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Religious Tolerance logo

Abortion access


A key question in all abortion conflicts
between the pro-choice & pro-life
position is: "When does human
personhood begin
?" Also: the new
abortion battleground:
personhood amendments.


  • "Whether or not abortion should be legal turns on the answer to the question of whether and at what point [an embryo or] a fetus is a person. This is a question that cannot be answered logically or empirically. The concept of personhood is neither logical nor empirical: It is essentially a religious, or quasi-religious idea, based on one's fundamental (and therefore unverifiable) assumptions about the nature of the world." Paul Campos, professor of law at the University of Colorado. (2002) 1

  • "The real question today is not when human life begins, but, 'What is the value of human life?' The abortionist who reassembles the arms and legs of a tiny baby to make sure all its parts have been torn from its mother's body can hardly doubt whether it is a human being." President Ronald Reagan, (1983). 2

  • "In a world where man must learn more and more to recognize and to respect his brother. The [Catholic] Church wishes to make her own contribution to the service of the human community, while pointing out ... the relation that binds each person to the Creator of all life and the source of the inalienable dignity of each person, from conception to life's natural end."Pope Benedict XVI (2005) 3 (Emphasis by us)

  • "Do not tell me these are not children. A heartbeat proves that. ... So do I." Testimony by Gianna Jessen before Congress offering her belief that human personhood starts when an embryo's heart starts beating. She claims that she was born in spite of an attempt to abort her. 4

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Webmaster's comment:

If you want to learn only about the:

  • Pro-life position, then there are lots of web sites on the Internet that will inform you. Googling the term pro-life found about 110 million hits.

  • Pro-choice position, then there are lots of web sites on the Internet that will inform you. Googling the term pro-choice found about 22 million hits.

If you want to look at both sides of the debate, we encourage you to read some of the essays linked below. We try to explain both or all sides objectively.

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This section describes various beliefs about when human personhood begins, and attempts to legislate those beliefs:

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The path by which you may have arrived here:

 Home page > "Hot" topics > Abortion > here

 Home page > "Hot" topics > Abortion > Basic facts > here

 Home page > "Hot" topics > Abortion > Laws > here

 Home page > "Hot" topics > Abortion > Religion/ethics > here

References used:

  1. Paul Campos, "Opinions: PAUL CAMPOS: Abortion and the rule of law ," Scripps Howard News Service, 2002-JAN, at:
  2. President Ronald Reagan, "Abortion and the Conscience of the Nation," The Human Life Review, 1983-Spring, Online at:
  3. "Dignity of man, from conception until natural death, is primary, says Pope," Catholic News Agency, 2005-JUN-01, at:
  4. "Gianna Jessen Asks Congress: 'If abortion is about women’s rights, then what were mine'?" I was a naive pro-lifer, undated, at:

Copyright © 1995 to 2017 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2017-APR-14
Author: B.A. Robinson

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