I was reading on Insty a link to Nick Gill-something (sorry too lazy to check it or link, I just switched rss feeds and I’m still getting used to it) who was Fed Up! with the “extremists” on both sides of the abortion debate and pointing out that the majority of Americans think that abortion should be legal in some circumstances but not all.
While this may be true, I’m afraid there’s no hope whatsoever of ever having the “debate” go away. Consider it thus: some people really, truly, actually believe that abortion is the same as murder.
Nick is asking those people to look the other way.
Good luck with that.
You may sincerely believe that there is some nebulous threshold over which a human life is considered “a person” and under which that life is only “potentially a person,” but the problem is, even if your belief is sincere, putting that threshold at some point during gestation is going to be pretty much arbitrary and a matter of personal opinion rather than material fact, and lead to monsters like Peter Singer who think that mothers should have the right to kill their children up to the age of two, or something like that. I also see a lot of stupid metaphorizing (is so a word!) going on, like saying “skin cells are alive but not human!” or “sperm is potentially a human being!” which is pretty much industrial-strength Missing The Point and Biology FAIL Forever. There’s literally no way for a skin cell to ever become a human being – not even by cloning, at our level of cloning tech. There’s also no way for a gamete to become a human being… on its own. It takes human intention (performing the act of mating) in order to lead to circumstances which MIGHT involve gametes transforming – and this is the key, transforming – into a unique living organism. The pro-life folks have the advantage of the science-compatible position that depends entirely on material fact – here is the first point at which a unique human life empirically exists. That’s not a mere opinion. The “personhood” debate is a matter of opinion, not fact.
Here’s the thing. Aside from rape and accidental failure of contraception, both of which are tiny tiny percentages of all abortions, it takes HUMAN DECISION for a woman to get pregnant. The pregnancy is a direct result of something SHE CHOSE TO DO. Absent HER CHOICE to have sex, unprotected, she wouldn’t be pregnant. (This is why the whole, “the fetus is trespassing on my body!” argument doesn’t fly with me.) Not only does having sex constitute inviting another lifeform to share your body temporarily for the purposes of orgasm, it also has the effect of CREATING a life that will share your body temporarily, though for a longer period of time involving some inconvenience to you. Is it trespassing if someone kidnaps you and forcibly takes you into their house? Obviously not. Therefore a fetus is not capable of trespass against its mother, because not only is it not capable of choosing to put itself in her womb in the first place, in the VAST MAJORITY of cases it only EXISTS IN THE FIRST PLACE because of the woman’s own chosen behavior. To turn around and accuse that life of trespassing against you… well, that’s pretty much Class A Stupid. This is also why I don’t think that abortion should be legal in the case of rape, either. Because even if someone deliberately trespasses on your property, the punishment isn’t DEATH. And if some third party tied up a guy so he couldn’t leave and left him in your house, you wouldn’t be justified in charging the kidnapping victim for trespass. And if we aren’t talking about “someone” – I wouldn’t be writing this, because I would be agreeing with the pro-abort crowd that it’s fine to abort.
Here’s the thing. For those who are pro-life, nobody’s OPINION on when an actual living human organism develops to the point where it’s sufficiently like an adult to merit the “humanity” badge can overcome the fact that it IS a unique human life from the moment of conception. And if you want to argue your opinion about which Homo sapiens organisms qualify for “humanity” – well, have fun in the company of Hitler’s Nazis and every reviled antebellum slave owner of the Deep South.
You can’t argue that some Homo sapiens aren’t human without cheapening your own humanity.