From conception a human being

Ewa Kowalewska

A living being – a rational being – is a great challenge and task. This respect for man must begin by respecting his integrity, freedom, and first of all the right to life. Life is a fundamental value for each of us. The living can grow, they can enjoy life, and they can work, create and love. ‘You must not kill’, says the fifth commandment of the Decalogue. Killing is not only directed against man, taking his life. It is also a serious transgression against God who is the Giver of Life. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states, ‘Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person (Article 3). However, we should remember that the declaration was created after the tragic experiences of the Second World War when judging the genocide in Nuernberg people realized what were the results of the ideology, which claimed that some beings were not worth living.
We, Poles, were especially experienced in history and we know that human life and its dignity must be protected. We demanded that by fighting against the communist regime and creating ‘Solidarity’. That’s why our constitution contains article 38, ‘The Republic of Poland shall ensure the legal protection of the life of every human being’. Every human being, which means that this law protects all people. ALL! The Constitutional Tribunal of Poland has stated that in a democratic law-governed country human life is a fundamental value and is protected on its every stage of development. There could have been no other verdict because a state that does not protect its citizens’ lives could not function normally. The question is: Is it always and from the beginning? Here we have unique information noise. Ideology, personal conviction or emotions are taken into account. But science answered the question about the beginning of human life long ago. The beginning is when the reproductive cells of parents: the egg cell and the seminal cell are connected. From the purely biological perspective this event shows us the moment called fertilization as the beginning of life of a new, completely integral, unique human being. Today genetics states explicitly that a child conceived in mother’s womb is not some carrot, tadpole, sea horse or monkey but a human being having characteristics proper to his species and age. One should remember that human life passes with time, it is a process. Each of us was an embryo, fetus, baby. One cannot find any moment in the prenatal development of man to say that before that man was not a human being. When you leave some period of man’s life without protection this would disturb his integrity and cause death. If the constitutional law protects each life as a fundamental value this must also concern the beginnings of life. Each human being, including the weak and the sick, has the right to life. One cannot destroy some illness by removing the patient. A child in mother’s womb is also a patient. If a child is ill it must be treated. Medicine creates new possibilities in this field. How will our world and our society look like if we kill the sick so that we have no troubles with them? This also concerns the end of human life. Each of us can be inflicted with some illness, which would make us burdensome, troublesome to the environment.
The constitutional principle of protection of the life of every human being should be unambiguous and should apply to all people. In order to do this the principle must be specified, reminding us that human life begins from conception. And this is the amendment of the Constitution, which is being discussed by the Parliament.
Poland as a member of the European Union has the full right to self-determination in this very important matter. Ireland has a similar regulation in its constitution. The Irish society is proud of its own constitution. We, Poles, can and must do the same. In this way we are realizing the wish, which John Paul II expressed many times, that Poland should defend the life of every human being.

"Niedziela" 1/2007

Editor: Tygodnik Katolicki "Niedziela", ul. 3 Maja 12, 42-200 Czestochowa, Polska
Editor-in-chief: Fr Jaroslaw Grabowski • E-mail: