The onset of individual life is not a dogma of the Church but a fact of science. How much more convenient if we lived in the 13th century, when no one knew anything about microbiology and arguments about the onset of life were legitimate. Compared to a modern textbook on embryology, Thomas Aquinas sounds like an American Civil Liberties Union member.
…Please indulge the novelist if he thinks in novelistic terms. Picture the scene. A Galileo trial in reverse. The Supreme Court is cross-examining a high-school biology teacher and admonishing him that of course it is only his personal opinion that the fertilized human ovum is an individual human life. He is enjoined not to teach his private beliefs at a public school. Like Galileo he caves in, submits, but in turning away is heard to murmur, “But it’s still alive!”
~~ Walker Percy(1916-1990), American novelist, from an article written for Catholic Twin Circle magazine, 6/28/81. I retain that yellowed clipping from my college years.