Since Roe v. Wade..there has been debate ad naseum over when "life" begins. Roe v. Wade essentially holds that society must balance the rights of a fetus to the rights of a mother once the fetus is determined to be viable.
Roe v. Wade recognizes that viability cannot occur before 12 weeks so the rights of the woman's privacy are absolute when it comes to a decision to terminate pregnancy.
After 12 weeks..if I understand it correctly...it becomes a state issue where states are allowed to set their own rules.
This has caused much debate between those who are anti-abortion and those who are pro-choice. Religion has played an enormous role in this debate..with many anti-abortion supporters invoking the Church's rights..and "God's will".
However..it appears that the Catholic Church doesn't always practice what they preach. In 2006, Lori Stodghill , 28 weeks pregnant with twins..went to St. Thomas More Hospital suffering..it turns out..from cardiac arrest. No attempt was made on behalf of the hospital staff to deliver her twins before she died..resulting in their death. Her husband sued the hospital for wrongful death of his wife as well as the twin boys who died with her. The Catholic Church argued that he could not sue for wrongful death of the twin boys since they were not "people" until they were born.
Now..the Catholic Church definition of when life personhood starts goes way beyond science's. No one knows better than I that a baby born at 28 weeks is without question..viable. My son was born at 28 weeks.
While I respect everyone's beliefs and perspectives on the issues..this should serve to remind everyone why religious beliefs should not be the thing on which we base society's laws. Yes..they should inform..but not be the basis.
It's kind of hard to take anything the Catholic Church might say on when personhood begins when they themselves argued that it begins only after birth. I guess their definition of personhood is fluid..depending on how much it may cost them.