Last updated on: 5/29/2014 | Author:

Patrick Lee, PhD Biography

John N. and Jamie D. McAleer Professor of Bioethics at Franciscan University of Steubenville
Con to the question "Should Abortion Be Legal?"

“[T]he choice of abortion is objectively immoral…

[A]s early as eight or ten weeks of gestation, the fetus has a fully formed, beating heart, a complete brain… a recognizably human form…

There are three important points we wish to make about this human embryo. First, it is from the start distinct from any cell of the mother or of the father. This is clear because it is growing in its own distinct direction. Its growth is internally directed to its own survival and maturation. Second, the embryo is human: it has the genetic makeup characteristic of human beings. Third, and most importantly, the embryo is a complete or whole organism, though immature. The human embryo, from conception onward, is fully programmed actively to develop himself or herself to the mature stage of a human being, and, unless prevented by disease or violence, will actually do so

So, a human embryo (or fetus) is not something distinct from a human being; he or she is not an individual of any non-human or intermediate species. Rather, an embryo (and fetus) is a human being at a certain (early) stage of development – the embryonic (or fetal) stage. In abortion, what is killed is a human being, a whole living member of the species homo sapiens, the same kind of entity as you or I, only at an earlier stage of development.”

Cowritten with Robert P. George, “The Wrong of Abortion,” Contemporary Debates in Applied Ethics, Ed. Andrew I. Cohen and Christopher Wellman, 2005

Involvement and Affiliations:
  • John N. and Jamie D. McAleer Professor of Bioethics, Franciscan University of Steubenville, 1996-present
  • Director, Institute of Bioethics, Franciscan University of Steubenville
  • Associate Professor, University of St. Thomas and Franciscan University, 1984-1995
  • Assistant Professor, University of St. Thomas, 1981-1984
  • Assistant Professor, St. Francis de Sales College, Milwaukee, WI, 1980-1981
  • Instructor, Philosophy, St. Francis de Sales College, 1978-1980
  • Teaching Assistant, Marquette University, 1976-1978
  • High School Teacher, Bishop Lynch High School (Dallas, TX), 1975-1976
  • Teaching Assistant, Niagara University, 1974-1975
  • Member, American Catholic Philosophical Association, Society of Christian Philosophers, and Fellowship of Catholic Scholars
  • Recipient, Cardinal Wright Award for Excellence in Catholic Scholarship in Integrating Faith and Reason, Fellowship of Catholic Scholars, 2006
  • PhD, Philosophy, Marquette University, 1980
  • MA, Philosophy, Niagara University, 1977
  • BA, University of Dallas, 1974
  • Delivered the Olaf Tollefsen lecture at St. Anselm’s College, NH, 2003 and the Catholic Intellectual Tradition Lecture at the University of St. Thomas, Houston, TX, 2005
  • Has lectured or debated at Boston University, University of Illinois at Chicago, University of Wisconsin at Wausau, Baylor University, Fordham University, and Princeton University
  • Worked as bartender, grocery store stocker, and wedding and portrait photographer
Quoted in:
Pro & Con Quotes: Should Abortion Be Legal?