Steve Sverdlik, SMU Professor
Catholics and some other Christians often defend the position that abortion is morally wrong by claiming that ensoulment occurs as conception, so that abortion kills a being with a soul. I give a short history of Christian thinking about ensoulment. Contrary to popular opinion, over most of their history Christians did not believe that ensoulment occurs at conception. So their moral abjection to early abortion rested on another claim. It was only about 1620 that Catholics started to assert that ensoulment occurs close to the time of conception. I go on to criticize Christian thinking about ensoulment from a secular point of view.