(This is a Public Domain document, freely available for copying/pasting/posting anywhere.)
If you oppose abortion, and have ever called an unborn human a “baby” or a “child”, then the following text is for you, baby/child.
The simple fact is, there are two significantly different definitions for both “baby” and “child”. For each, one definition is age-specific. A “baby” is generally an “infant” or “rug-rat” (but possibly better-defined in terms of “wearing diapers because hasn’t been potty-trained yet”), while “child” generally refers to a young human roughly in the age range of 4 to 9 (after the “toddler” range and before the “pre-teen” range).
The other definition for each word can apply to a human of any age; “baby” is a “term of endearment”, and every human is the child of his or her parents. It is therefore quite within the boundaries of English-language usage for you, baby/child, to call a zygote a “baby” or a “child”. And it is also quite allowable for me to call you “baby” or “child”. So, what do you, baby/child, think of that? Would you, baby/child, say it is “an unwise thing to do”? Well, then, where is the wisdom in you, baby/child, calling an unborn human a “baby” or “child”? Because there are at least four reasons why it shouldn’t be done (that is, each is a reason why it is an unwise thing to do).
Before getting to the details, though, there are a couple of historical things to keep in mind. First, we are not responsible for dictionary definitions that were created centuries ago, by people who didn’t know as much as we know today. The manner by which words and their definitions enter dictionaries has not changed significantly, since the first dictionary was assembled. This means that something considered “common knowledge” centuries ago, and entered a dictionary via “common usage”, could very well be wrong today –while still existing in the dictionary, simply because people are still commonly using the old wrong definition.
We are responsible for how we use words today, when we do know that old definitions have become obsolete. In this case, since it is provably unwise to use the words”baby” or “child” to talk about an overall unborn human animal organism, it logically follows that that definition of each of those words is obsolete! Now for the details of why:
First, to call an unborn human a “baby” or “child” is to ignore the perfectly Natural miscarriage rate –and, worse, to encourage the ignoring of the perfectly Natural miscarriage rate. The age-specific baby or child is immune from the phenomenon of miscarriage, since miscarriage is a pre-birth thing, and the age-specific baby or child has already been born. An unborn human is in actual fact a “baby under construction” or a “child under construction” –and that construction process is subject to “Murphy’s Law: If anything can go wrong, it will” (thereby often resulting in a miscarriage). To only call an unborn human a “baby” or “child”, without mentioning the rest of the facts, is to pretend that the rest of the facts are irrelevant, that a successful birth is a 100% probability. It is to tell a lie, because nothing you can say will change the fact that about 15% of all confirmed pregnancies Naturally miscarry. So think about that in terms of a pregnant woman who has “swallowed” the lie, and thinks “I’m going to have a baby!”, while a different pregnant woman more-accurately thinks “I’m hosting a biological construction project that often succeeds, but sometimes fails.” Which woman will be more psychologically devastated if both pregnancies miscarry? The first has had hopes raised, which turned out to be false hopes, while the second didn’t. Thus, exactly how wise is it for you, baby/child, to raise false hopes in others (something that normally only con-artists do)?
Second, the existence of the placenta makes for a significant difference that was only recognized in recent decades, when modern DNA tests were developed. Historically, when talking about an unborn human, only the “fetus” was referenced. Today, though, it is more accurate to use a phrase like “overall unborn human organism”, which includes the placenta –because those DNA tests have proved that most of the placenta is indeed part of the overall unborn human organism. More, the placenta is actually a “vital organ”, equivalent to the heart in importance. The net effect is that, today, focusing only on the “fetus” part of the overall organism does not yield an accurate picture of that overall organism (much like focusing on the tail of an elephant doesn’t give one the whole picture of an elephant). Meanwhile, the age-specific baby or child has no association whatsoever with a placenta. Therefore, once again, for you, baby/child, to call an unborn human a “baby” or “child” is to fail to be complete about all the facts. It is as if you, baby/child, have deluded yourself into thinking that since a mere portion of an overall organism might resemble some other organism (like an elephant’s trunk might resemble a large snake), the first organism must therefore be equivalent to the second. If you, baby/child, are unwise enough to be deluded that way, then perhaps the label “baby/child” is quite appropriate for you!
Third, it can be noted that the English language includes many terms which are very often used in ordinary conversations, and which reference physical differences between different humans. While some are considered derisive (such as “redskin”), many are not –such as “black”, “white”, “chubby”, “skinny”, “tall”, “short”, “beautiful”, “plain”, and more. Well, because an unborn human is generally associated with a placenta (starting a week or three after conception), and the age-specific baby or child has no such association, it logically follows that different words should be used to talk about those physically different humans. To insist on calling an unborn human a “baby” or “child” is equivalent to insisting on calling a skinny human “fat” –it is to lie about the actual physical nature of an overall unborn human organism. More, anyone who does such insisting, yet who ordinarily/casually uses those other physically descriptive words properly, when talking about other humans, would be exhibiting “hypocrisy”. Are you, baby/child, unwise enough to be a lying hypocrite?
Fourth, think about the “modus operandi” of survival. The purpose of the placenta, that vital organ, includes taking nutrients from another human’s body without asking, dumping toxic biowastes into that other human’s body, and infusing addictive and mind-altering substances into the other human’s body, all just to survive. Meanwhile, no age-specific baby or child does any such thing! Their behaviors are so different that to call the unborn human a “baby” or “child” is to insult the age-specific baby or child! Do YOU, baby/child, want to be lumped-together with the group of mindless human animal organisms that so detrimentally/horribly affect other human bodies? If not, then how wise is it for you, baby/child, to do exactly such lumping-together when you call an unborn human a “baby” or “child”?
Fifth, something that applies more to “child” than “baby”, is a difference that isn’t particularly visible or obvious (the toxic-biowaste dumping is the cause of “morning sickness”), like the others mentioned above. The womb, and especially the insides of an amniotic sac, happens to be a very “clean” environment in terms of bacteria. Just about all the cells of the unborn human organism are 100% human. After birth, though, exposure to the Real World begins the training and testing of a human body’s immune system; by the time the average human reaches the age-range normally associated with “child”, 90% of the cells of the body are bacterial, NOT human. They are also mostly “symbiotic”, such that the human child cannot survive without those bacterial partner-cells (some are actually PART of the overall immune system). Therefore, once again, to call an unborn human a “child” is to fail to be accurate about the true physical nature of an unborn human. Do you, baby/child, think it is wise to be deliberately inaccurate in your description of something?
In the end, you, baby/child, are still free to use the generic words “baby” and “child” to reference an unborn human. But the generic problem is “definition conflation”, in which the allowed use of the non-age-specific definition brings to mind the age-specific definition. I can do it all day long, until you, baby/child, understand just how Propagandistic is definition-conflation –and it would be yet another Hypocrisy for you, baby/child, to think you, baby/child, should not be on the receiving end of such Propaganda, while you, baby/child, are free to dish it out!