Recently, New York passed a law expanding access to late-term abortions, and similar bills are making their way through the legislatures of Vermont and New Mexico. Governor Jeremy Northam of Virginia came under fire for suggesting that infanticide would be permitted under Virginia’s proposed abortion bill, which was not passed. In response, Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska has proposed the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, which would ensure that infants born after failed abortions would receive medical care and legal protections.

This controversy over late-term abortions and infanticide strikes at the heart of a decent society. To be just, a society must be built upon the recognition that all human beings have dignity simply because of the kind of beings they are. Human dignity is something we inherently possess, not something that other human beings bestow on us. People matter even if they are not wanted, including the poor and marginalized, the elderly, the disabled, and the unborn.

The articles below explain why human life begins at conception, why all human beings should be considered as human persons whose rights must be respected, and how these principles should help us understand current debates about abortion and infanticide.