Personhood is an excuse. If one wishes to work one's will upon the weak and helpless, one first removes their humanity in thought. Call the Jews sons of Pigs. Call the Negroes sub-human. Call the worthless old folk bread gobblers or vegetables. Called the unborn any name by what they are: human offspring. Babies.
Tell me honestly. If I said I had a mare who was carrying a foal in her womb, do you think anyone (anyone not deliberately arguing about abortion) could correct my language, and tell me my mare cannot be carrying a foal, because an embryo is not a member of the species 'horse'?
Does anyone talk that way? Does anyone say a horse is not a horse just because it is still in the womb?
Let us take this hypothetical one step further. Suppose I were an faithful Hindu, forbidden by my laws to eat beef. Could I eat the veal from an unborn calf on the grounds that he was not a cow, not a member of the species, cattle? Suppose I were an observant Jew, forbidden by my laws to eat pork. Could I eat the bacon from an unborn piglet on the grounds that he was not a swine, not a member of the species, pig?
Would anyone be persuaded by the beef-eating Hindu or the pork-eating Jew if their diet consisted only of animals taken half a second before birth from their mother's wombs?
Let us take the hypothetical one step further. Suppose I live in a country where unborn homo sapiens are not considered human. Suppose my laws forbid the eating of human flesh, on the ground that it is cannibalism. I go to an abortionist, find a baby who is only halfway out of the womb, coming out feet first. The abortionist drives a pair of scissors into the babies fragile skull, and suctions out this brains. I take the rest of the flesh home and cook it up for a meat sandwich. Michael Valentine Smith and Hannibal Lector come by and eat with me. A little tiny perfectly formed baby hand sticks out of one side of my sandwich as I wolf it down.
Is my action legally not an act of cannibalism, on the grounds that what I ate was not a human?
If anyone can think of a pro-abortion answer that holds water, I'd be interested in hearing it. I can't come up with one.
Akubra tip to Paragraph Farmer.