Volume 9, Issue 4, Winter 2009
Denis A. Scrandis
A Demonstration of the Personhood of the Human Embryo
Determining the personhood of the human embryo is critical to advancing an informed and reasoned public policy debate over abortion and human embryo research. Many defenders of life—the Vatican included—have withheld recognition of the personhood of the embryo in order to avoid making an explicitly philosophical statement. This essay considers current embryological evidence from a philosophical (i.e., Aristotelian-Thomistic) point of view. This essay also addresses certain contemporary and antithetical philosophical biases. A demonstration then shows that the embryo is the fully formed human person’s initial stage of development consisting of a rational soul that possesses the power of intellect and a commensurate body that is capable of developing into the fully formed human person. National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly 9.4 (Winter 2009): 689–693.