Today while waiting to receive chemotherapy at the clinic, I was reading Pope Francis’ letter on the environment entitled Laudato Si. I was touched by paragraph 65 which speaks about our dignity as human beings.
The Bible teaches that every man and woman is created out of love and made in God’s image and likeness (cf. Gen 1:26). This shows us the immense dignity of each person, who is not just something, but someone. He is capable of self-knowledge, of self-possession and of freely giving himself and entering into communion with other persons. Saint John Paul II stated that the special love of the Creator for each human being “confers upon him or her an infinite dignity”. Those who are committed to defending human dignity can find in the Christian faith the deepest reasons for this commitment. How wonderful is the certainty that each human life is not adrift in the midst of hopeless chaos, in a world ruled by pure chance or endlessly recurring cycles! The Creator can say to each one of us: “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you” (Jeremiah 1:5). We were conceived in the heart of God, and for this reason “each of us is the result of a thought of God. Each of us is willed, each of us is loved, each of us is necessary” [Pope Benedict XVI].
This dignity is conferred on us from the moment of our conception and extends through til natural death. It underpins the Fifth Commandment: Thou shall not kill. It also highlights the reasons why modern practices such as IVF, abortifacient birth control (such as Pills and Coils), embryo experimentation are gravely contrary to human dignity. Furthermore all three involve the large scale destruction of human life at its initial stages.