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Is "When Does Life Begin?" a Scientific or Moral Question? Both?

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Study: 95 Percent of Biologists Say Life Begins at Conception

Some excerpts:

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After a five-year struggle, University of Chicago student Steven Jacobs finally published his study into biologists' opinions on whether life begins at conception. That study won him a Ph.D., but it also angered the liberal biologists and many others in academia. Some have demonized him, saying his survey seemed developed by the Ku Klux Klan and that it would expedite the extinction of the human race.

Jacobs' study found that a vast majority of Americans believe biologists should determine the question "When does a human's life begin?" and that the question is important to the abortion debate. Then Jacobs surveyed biologists and found that 95 percent of them agreed that "a human's life begins at fertilization."

So is Jacobs a pro-life zealot?  Apparently not:

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Jacobs insists that his paper is not intended to argue the pro-life position in the abortion debate. "This paper does not argue that the finding 'a fetus is biologically classified as a human at fertilization' necessitates the position 'a fetus ought to be considered a person worthy of legal consideration,'" he wrote. Instead, he cites philosopher Peter Singer's "is-ought" distinction, claiming that Americans can believe life begins at conception and support the killing of unborn babies up until viability or birth.

And here:

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Despite his attempt to be as neutral as possible, Jacobs drew a great deal of ire for his study. The biologists who supported life as beginning at conception claimed that he misinterpreted their answers.

The study asked 2,899 Americans about the abortion debate, 58 percent of them female. These Americans identified as pro-choice (63 percent), liberal (63 percent), and Democratic (67 percent). 

Do scientists' views on sociopolitical issues (abortion, political ideology, political party affiliation) may substantially affect their scientific views?

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Jacobs asked them a few questions:

  • How important is the question "When does a human's life begin?" in the US abortion debate?
  • Americans deserve to know when a human's life begins so they can be informed in their abortion positions and reproductive decisions (agree or disagree)
  • Which group is most qualified to answer the question "When does a human's life begin?"

Eighty-seven percent said the beginning of life question is important to the abortion issue, while 84 percent agreed that Americans deserve to know when human life begins to be informed about abortion. As for who should decide when life begins, 81 percent chose biologists over religious leaders (7 percent), voters (7 percent), philosophers (4 percent), and Supreme Court justices (2 percent).

So Jacobs compiled a sample of 5,502 biologists from 1,058 academic institutions (he reached out to 62,469 biologists and 7,383 participated in the survey, but only 5,502 answered the pertinent questions). The biologists predominantly identified as non-religious (63 percent), liberal (89 percent and 11 percent conservative), Democratic (92 percent), and pro-choice (85 percent, only 15 were pro-life). The sample included biologists who were born in 86 countries around the world.

So supermajorities in terms of irreligiousity (63%), political ideology (89%), political party affiliation (92%) and abortion (85% "pro-choice").

And what did the respondents say?

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A broad consensus of those biologists affirmed each of three statements representing the view that "a human's life begins at fertilization" (75 percent-91 percent). Overall, 95 percent affirmed the view that human life begins at conception.

Jacobs inquired about two implicit statements and one explicit statement about the issue. A full 91 percent agreed with the statement, "The end product of mammalian fertilization is a fertilized egg (‘zygote’), a new mammalian organism in the first stage of its species' life cycle with its species' genome." Another 88 percent affirmed the statement, "The development of a mammal begins with fertilization, a process by which the spermatozoon from the male and the oocyte from the female unite to give rise to a new organism, the zygote."

These are the two "implicit" statements about the beginning of life, and very large majorities (91% and 88%, respectively) agree with them.

But what happens when scientists (who, as noted above, are overwhelmingly irreligious, politically liberal, and in favor of abortion) answer the "explicit" statement about the beginning of human life?

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Finally, Jacobs presented the explicit statement, "In developmental biology, fertilization marks the beginning of a human's life since that process produces an organism with a human genome that has begun to develop in the first stage of the human life cycle." Three-quarters (75 percent) of biologists agreed with that statement.

75%?  That seems to be encouraging, in that most scientists seem to concede the basic factual premise for the pro-life argument: that unborn children (zygotes, or fertilized eggs) are human beings.

Nevertheless, it is surprising to see the percentage drop from the first two questions.

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n order to understand the hesitance to agree with the third statement over the first two statements, Jacobs broke down the biologists into 60 categories (pro-life, pro-choice, conservative, liberal, Republican, Democrat, etc.) along 11 dimensions.

Very pro-choice biologists (69 percent) proved less likely to agree with the explicit statement than neutral biologists (86 percent) and very pro-life biologists (92 percent). "The lower affirmation rate of pro-choice biologists, compared to the other groups, could be due to the higher rate at which the explicit statement activated pro-choice biologists’ normative interpretations," Jacobs explains in the paper.

In other words, quite a few scientists are allowing their personal political beliefs and preferences supersede "science."

I also note that the "pro-life biologists" affirmed the third question at essentially the same rate (92%) as the entirety of the respondents affirmed the first two questions (91% and 88%, respectively).  So are the "pro-life biologists" the most scientifically consistent in their responses?

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Analyzing the three statements, Jacobs found that 95 percent of biologists agreed with at least one of them.

Jacobs argues that all three statements helped to "develop a robust understanding of participants' assessment of the biological view that 'a human's life begins at fertilization.'" He also claims that "all three could be argued to be logically and biologically equivalent."

I think he's right.  And if these questions are "logically and biologically equivalent," then why is there a substantial drop between the first two questions and the third?

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The "combined measure" of the three questions found that 5,212 of 5,502 biologists agreed (95 percent), and only 290 (5 percent) rejected the view that "a human's life begins at fertilization."

Hmm.  How often have we heard about the "scientific consensus" on anthopogenic global warming / climate change?  Lots, right?  All the time, yes?

So if Jacobs' survey the start of finding a "scientific consensus" on the basic scientific question as to the beginning of human life?

And if it is, will the people who have accepted the "scientific consensus" on anthopogenic global warming / climate change begin to also accept a "scientific consensus" as to perhaps the key question in the abortion debate: when does human life begin?

35pche.jpg

Back to the article:

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Even though Jacobs claims this study is not an attempt to support the pro-life position in the abortion debate, academics attacked him for it.

"I was told that my survey seemed like it was developed by the Ku Klux Klan; I was told that my work could expedite the extinction of the human race; I was told that I should be ashamed of myself since I was damaging the reputation of the University of Chicago," Jacobs told The College Fix.

He provided a sample of the angry responses from biologists included in the study.

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“A VERY poorly designed questionnaire. I doubt that ANY serious conclusions can be drawn from it,” one response reads. “Abortion has been legal for over 40 years. It’s time for all the religious nuts to get over it,” said another. “Abortion is a woman’s right; the state has no role in the decision to abort whatever the reason (medical, cultural, economic),” a third reads.

“Abortion is not about biology. Please don’t use this survey to say ‘Look, even biologists are pro-life’ because that is absolutely not what my answers mean,” another respondent said.

 

"This is some stupid right to life thing…YUCK I believe in RIGHT TO CHOICE!!!!!!!" one professor wrote.

These responses suggest the study struck a nerve among pro-choice academics.

Well, yes.

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Jacobs deserves credit for attempting to keep his study from becoming political, but most pro-life Americans oppose abortion due to their belief that human life deserves protection and human life begins at conception. It is no accident that this powerful study — which at minimum shows that 75 percent of biologists believe the accurate statement about life beginning at conception — angers pro-choice academics.

Again, yes.

To be sure, I think there are limited circumstances where a genuine moral conundrum can arise as pertaining to abortion (rape, incest, life of the mother). But these are, AFAICS, quite rare. According to the Guttmacher Institute, the research arm of the nation’s leading abortion seller, Planned Parenthood, about 15,000 abortions are attributed to rape and incest — representing 1.5 percent of all abortions. (Source: https://tinyurl.com/y7jvrfff). Here's the Guttmacher data from 2004: https://tinyurl.com/y3kkwroj ("Reasons U.S. Women Have Abortions: Quantitative and Qualitative Perspectives").

As regarding the life of the mother, "maternal mortality refers to the death of a woman during her pregnancy or up to a year after her pregnancy has terminated; this only includes causes related to her pregnancy and does not include accidental causes." (https://tinyurl.com/y38fn6fb).  The maternal mortality rate in the United States was, as of 2014, 23.8 deaths per 100,000 births.  Id.  If my math is correct, that's about .024%.  (In contrast, the infant mortality rate for abortions is nearly 100%. (See https://tinyurl.com/yxmoel3d ("How often are infants born alive after attempted abortions? It hardly ever happens, according to Dr. Daniel Grossman, a professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences at the University of California, San Francisco.").)  See also here:

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Abortion is completely legal in more than one hundred nations.  In almost every case, population controllers first drove in the ultra-thin wedge of allowing abortion when the mother’s life is in danger.

This is a brilliant strategy for two reasons.

First, abortionists can easily stretch any law, no matter how strict or precisely written, into abortion on demand.  Since they falsely consider abortion to be safer than childbirth, pro-abortionists can easily justify all abortions under the “life of the mother” exception.  In fact, abortionists have claimed that all abortions are medically necessary.

This is certainly not a new development.  For example, in 1980 abortionist Lise Fortier asserted, “Each and every pregnancy threatens a woman’s life.  From a strict medical viewpoint, every pregnancy should be aborted.”1  Even earlier, abortionist David Zbaraz claimed that allfirst‑trimester and most second‑trimester abortions are medically necessary since, as he alleged, they are safer than childbirth.2

The second reason that the “life of the mother” exception is so pernicious is that it gets people in nations with pro-life laws accustomed to the concept of abortion so that it can be rapidly expanded in the future.  After all, if we can legalize abortion when the mother’s life is in danger, why not legalize it to preserve her physical and mental health as well ― and then for social and economic reasons?

Rarity of the “Hard Cases”

People habitually overestimate the number of abortions committed for the classic “hard cases”of rape and incest, eugenics and life and health of the mother, a common error that is not at all discouraged by pro-abortionists.

Thirty years ago, Dr. Irving Cushner, Professor of Obstetrics at the UCLA School of Medicine, testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee.  When one of the Senators asked him how often abortions are necessary to save the life of the mother or to preserve her physical health, Dr. Cushner, who was strongly pro‑abortion, answered, “In this country, about one percent.”3

This number has not changed.  During the years 1996 to 2011, the states of Florida, Louisiana, Minnesota, Nebraska, South Dakota and Utah compiled data on the reasons that women obtain abortions.  Of the 1.3 million aborting women surveyed, only 1.03% replied that they were having abortions to protect their lives or physical health.4

...

Many public opinion polls show that a large majority of people do not want to pay for abortions, so pro‑abortionists grossly overestimate the alleged “dangers” of pregnancy and childbirth in order to frighten people into supporting public abortion funding. Perpetuating the lie, they define a threat to the life of the mother in the same terms as a threat to her health. This way, abortion when the mother’s life is in danger leads to abortion for any reason at all:

  • Abortionist Michael Burnhill of the National Abortion Federation (NAF) said that a “life of the mother” exception would allow him to perform all abortions he considered “medically necessary,” all those that would preserve a “condition in which one can actively participate in one’s total life … “9
  • According to another author, “A Colorado abortion clinic director claimed that his extensive research showed that carrying a pregnancy to term is about 100 times more life threatening than having an abortion. He, therefore, considered any pregnancy life‑threatening and used that as justification, certifying that the mother’s life was endangered.”10
  • Abortionist Jane Hodgson testified under oath that “In my medical judgment, every pregnancy that is not wanted by the patient, I feel there is a medical indication to abort a pregnancy where it is not wanted. In good faith, I would recommend on a medical basis, you understand, that, and it would be 100% … I think they are all medically necessary … I am considering the woman’s physical, mental, emotional and social and welfare and family and environment and all that … I am concerned with the quality of life, not physical existence.”11

Hodgson also summarized the general pro‑abortion attitude when she said, “A medically necessary abortion is any abortion a woman asks for.”12

In short, pro-abortion advocates can stretch exceptions allowing abortion when the mother’s life is in danger, making this exception cover abortion for any reason.

I have a dear friend, a member of the Church, who I think lately has become more ardently "pro-choice."  I listened to the points she made, and then did some further study and thinking and reasoning about the issue.  The more I do, the more "pro-life" I become.

The Church's position on abortion is both clear (see here, here and here) and yet also nuanced (see here).

Thoughts?

Thanks,

-Smac

 

 

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The egg is alive.  The sperm is alive.  They are neither of them fully human, however, since they each contain only one-half of the genetic information required for a genetically unique human organism.

A blood cell is alive.  A skin cell is alive.  But they are neither of them anything other than a building block of a genetically unique human organism.

A fertilized egg is alive.  She also contains 100% of the genetic information required for a genetically unique human organism.  Add food and water and a friendly environment for a few months and she's hollering her head off because the light's too bright.  She's, genetically and biologically, a human being upon fertilization.

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Posted (edited)

The only thing clear about the church's position is that it will not take disciplinary action against a mother who aborts a child because of rape, incest, or if she will die if she keeps it, or the baby cannot be delivered or live after birth.   That is NOT support of abortion in any case, nor absolution of the person who decides for one either.

I find it difficult to understand how anyone who politically believes in smaller government thinks government should impose it's will over women and their drs who are far better informed and equipped to figure out the nuances anyway.

And I think it that even if you want to make a stand to reduce abortions based on lack of knowledge about what it is or the resources that you might have if you did not abort (and therefore supported financially and practically those who otherwise felt they couldn't), there will always be abortions, just as they existed long before Roe v. Wade.

I also think that men have a lot of nerve thinking they know enough about the issue to force women to have children (and still today is IS mostly men arguing for and making those laws).

Edited by rpn
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2 hours ago, smac97 said:

I have a dear friend, a member of the Church, who I think lately has become more ardently "pro-choice."  I listened to the points she made, and then did some further study and thinking and reasoning about the issue.  The more I do, the more "pro-life" I become.

Life begins and conception, a complete genome is identifiable. The more you study the issue of abortion, and procedures physicians do to human life,  the more disgusted you should be with it. 

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2 hours ago, smac97 said:

I have a dear friend, a member of the Church, who I think lately has become more ardently "pro-choice."  I listened to the points she made, and then did some further study and thinking and reasoning about the issue.  The more I do, the more "pro-life" I become.

The Church's position on abortion is both clear (see here, here and here) and yet also nuanced (see here).

Thoughts?

Thanks,

-Smac

 

For the secular people, the atheists and all those who take God completely out of the equation, the physical. biological aspects of life begin at fertilization. Well, those aspects of it begin the same for everybody, religious or not. For the religious the belief is that life begins when an embryo is quickened by the spirit, and even in that there are disputes because God has not revealed that information to us.

Then come the moral questions, Secular moralism is societal based and relative, subject to change with societal values, which has been demonstrated very dramatically recently. And I will leave it there.

Glenn

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13 minutes ago, rpn said:

I find it difficult to understand how anyone who politically believes in smaller government thinks government should impose it's will over women and their drs who are far better informed and equipped to figure out the nuances anyway.

And I think it that even if you want to make a stand to reduce abortions based on lack of knowledge about what it is or the resources that you might have if you did not abort (and therefore supported financially and practically those who otherwise felt they couldn't), there will always be abortions, just as they existed long before Roe v. Wade.

I also think that men have a lot of nerve thinking they know enough about the issue to force women to have children (and still today is IS mostly men arguing for and making those laws).

So, do you advocate for abortion on demand for any reason, at any stage of pregnancy?

Glenn

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4 minutes ago, Dan McClellan said:

"Life" is itself a conceptual category that is not isometric across cultural or linguistic boundaries, so the answer is embedded within our cognitive ecologies. There is no purely objective approach, and even this paper (which does not appear to have been peer-reviewed or published) is relying on opinions, but there are approaches that are more and less transparent about their values, presuppositions, and dogmas. When it comes to abortion, when does a "person" begin is far more salient than when "life" begins, as life has different phases, stages, and values that resist the kind of essentialism to which these arguments always tends to accrete.

I believe that the author of the survey was trying to narrow the argument down to only biological definitions so as to avoid social and cultural constructs.

Glenn

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, rpn said:

The only thing clear about the church's position is that it will not take disciplinary action against a mother who aborts a child because of rape, incest, or if she will die if she keeps it, or the baby cannot be delivered or live after birth.   That is NOT support of abortion in any case, nor absolution of the person who decides for one either.

I find it difficult to understand how anyone who politically believes in smaller government thinks government should impose it's will over women and their drs who are far better informed and equipped to figure out the nuances anyway.

I think the key issue is the humanity of the unborn child.  If the child is a human being, then it has rights.  If it has rights (including, notably, the right to live), then those rights deserve protection.

The "Police Power" under the U.S. Constitution refers to "the capacity of the states to regulate behavior and enforce order within their territory for the betterment of the health, safety, morals, and general welfare of their inhabitants."

More here (from the same link):

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The authority for use of police power under American Constitutional law has its roots in English and European common law traditions. Even more fundamentally, use of police power draws on two (Latin) principles, sic utere tuo ut alienum non laedas ("use that which is yours so as not to injure others"), and salus populi suprema lex esto ("the welfare of the people shall be the supreme law"), to justify restriction of individual liberties in order to protect the general welfare.

Assuming the humanity of the child, the elective killing of the child would, in most cases, be implicated under both of these common law principles.

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And I think it that even if you want to make a stand to reduce abortions based on lack of knowledge about what it is or the resources that you might have if you did not abort (and therefore supported financially and practically those who otherwise felt they couldn't), there will always be abortions, just as they existed long before Roe v. Wade.

Yes.  There will also always be rape and other forms of sexual abuse.  And physical abuse as well.  And theft.  And so on.

Just because we cannot rectify these problematic behaviors completely does not mean we should not try to rectify them at all.

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I also think that men have a lot of nerve thinking they know enough about the issue to force women to have children (and still today is IS mostly men arguing for and making those laws).

I've never understood this line of reasoning.  Have you ever served in the Armed Forces?  If not, are you deprived of any right to a say in out government's use of the military, defense budgets, etc.?

I have never been arrested.  Does that mean I have no right to speak on issues of criminal law?

I have a friend who has never had children.  Does that mean he has no right to speak on issues pertaining to public education?

And FWIW, about half of women identify as "pro-life."  Are they also deprived of any right to speak on the issue of abortion?  Or is this just a straightforward you-are-male-therefore-you-have-no-voice-therefore-shut-up kind of thing?

Thanks,

-Smac

Edited by smac97
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Read some Hume on the  is/ought distinction

Moral questions are not scientific questions and vice versa.

They are separate language games.

Mixing the two simply make for confusion.

The decision to call that a living human being is totally a moral decision.

Of course that is my moral position too. But you can't deduce it from science.

It's the same logical contradiction that one finds by thinking that one can prove the spiritual truth of the Book of Mormon by archaeology. 

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Is–ought_problem

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1 hour ago, Dan McClellan said:

When it comes to abortion, when does a "person" begin is far more salient than when "life" begins, as life has different phases, stages, and values that resist the kind of essentialism to which these arguments always tends to accrete.

I'm not sure I agree with this.  We as a society don't allow Person A to kill Person B based on Person A's subjective valuation of Person B's life, regardless of what phase/stage/value it has.

Thanks,

-Smac

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, smac97 said:

The biologists who supported life as beginning at conception claimed that he misinterpreted their answers.

This is rather crucial. 

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The study asked 2,899 Americans about the abortion debate, 58 percent of them female. These Americans identified as pro-choice (63 percent), liberal (63 percent), and Democratic (67 percent). 

So he only surveyed people who belonged in one or more of these groups?

Edited by Calm
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2 hours ago, Dan McClellan said:

"Life" is itself a conceptual category that is not isometric across cultural or linguistic boundaries, so the answer is embedded within our cognitive ecologies. There is no purely objective approach, and even this paper (which does not appear to have been peer-reviewed or published) is relying on opinions (not even biologists understand all the semantic complexities involved), but there are approaches that are more and less transparent about their values, presuppositions, and dogmas. 

Agree.

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When it comes to abortion, when does a "person" begin is far more salient than when "life" begins, as life has different phases, stages, and values that resist the kind of essentialism to which these arguments always tends to accrete.

This though just repeats the same problem- how to turn scientific evidence into a moral issue.  It just kicks it into a different level but essentially brings up the same issues in making a decision

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43 minutes ago, Dan McClellan said:

Immediate family members are granted the authority to make end-of-life decisions in certain circumstances.

Every Advance Directive relies on this assumption.

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44 minutes ago, Dan McClellan said:

Immediate family members are granted the authority to make end-of-life decisions in certain circumstances.

Those situations are all restricted to specific circumstances. It is never, "Geez, grandma is getting old and it is so inconvenient to take care of her; I say let's bump her off."  The authority to pull the plug is very narrowly granted.

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It's not a scientific question at all, because the answer is already known. I specifically remember this talk President Nelson gave back in 1985 when he said:
"It is not a question of when “meaningful life” begins or when the spirit “quickens” the body. In the biological sciences, it is known that life begins when two germ cells unite to become one cell, bringing together twenty-three chromosomes from both the father and from the mother. These chromosomes contain thousands of genes. In a marvelous process involving a combination of genetic coding by which all the basic human characteristics of the unborn person are established, a new DNA complex is formed. A continuum of growth results in a new human being. The onset of life is not a debatable issue, but a fact of science."  Reverence for Life

Therefore, with regards to abortion, since we don't know when the spirit enters the body, it is a moral question.

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3 minutes ago, smac97 said:

Yes.  But end-of-life decisions are quite a bit different from the abortion debate.  End-of-life decisions are, by the very meaning of the phrase, about the decisions made at the end of a person's life.  Such decisions are not about taking affirmative steps to kill the individual, but rather about withholding measures designed to prolong life.  

Moreover, the individual may have left instructions regarding his preferences for "end-of-life decisions."  That individual had a choice, a voice in the process.  In contrast, aborted babies have no voice, no ability to declare their preferences.

Consider all of the reasons women give for having abortions.  Per the Guttmacher Institute (affiliated with Planned Parenthood):

Untitled-Copy.jpg

How many of these would be a justifiable basis for Person A making an "end-of-life decision" for Person B?  For an elderly person?  Or a teenager?  Or a toddler?  

Thanks,

-Smac

I see this game being played all the time. The appeal to the vague and largely meaningless "life" is made because there is no meaningful sense in which an embryo or early stage fetus is a person. None. Abortion is wrong, they say, because IT"S LIFE! and it's wrong to murder a life. But then when it comes to those on life-support, who have clearly have more reasons to be viewed as persons and a living body, all of the sudden the absolute demands concerning life become less absolute.

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7 minutes ago, the narrator said:

I see this game being played all the time.

It's not a game.  It's a discussion.  A reasoned discussion.  About a serious and important topic.

7 minutes ago, the narrator said:

The appeal to the vague and largely meaningless "life" is made because there is no meaningful sense in which an embryo or early stage fetus is a person. None.

Two questions:

First, could you explain the reasoning behind your assertion?  It's not self-evidently true, so I'd like to understand the rationale you have in mind.

Second, at what point does "an embryo or early stage fetus" achieve personhood, then?  I am genuinely curious as to your perspective on this issue.

7 minutes ago, the narrator said:

Abortion is wrong, they say, because IT"S LIFE! and it's wrong to murder a life. 

I don't understand.  You seem to be disagreeing with this declaration.  I get that.  But you are not addressing it on the merits.  You are only sneering at it.  Again, what is the reasoning for your position in opposition to the above statement?

7 minutes ago, the narrator said:

But then when it comes to those on life-support, who have clearly have more reasons to be viewed as persons and a living body, all of the sudden the absolute demands concerning life become less absolute.

Again, I don't understand what your point is here.  If Person B is on life support, can Person A unilaterally "pull the plug" for any reason, or no reason at all?  If not, then what reasons exist as would allow Person A to "pull the plug?"

Thanks,

-Smac

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3 hours ago, Glenn101 said:

So, do you advocate for abortion on demand for any reason, at any stage of pregnancy?

Glenn

No.   I think a reasonable compromise is  that after 24 or 26 weeks, it should be illegal except for rape, incest, and health of the mother and child's ability to life until birth.   I just don't think that there should be any criminal or civil penalty or forced outing of her for shaming,  for the woman who is involved in an "illegal" abortion.   I would not oppose criminal or civil penalties to drs who perform such procedures, though not those the dr supervises.   And I support a requirement to treat all aborted material reverently and NOT allow sale of it.

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23 minutes ago, smac97 said:

First, could you explain the reasoning behind your assertion?  It's not self-evidently true, so I'd like to understand the rationale you have in mind.

The rationale is the lack of a rationale for meaningfully calling an embryo a person--that is without forcefully retconning the term to include embryos for reasons other than the abortion debate. By that I mean the only time anyone really attempts to claim that an embryo is a person is when they are doing so as part of anti-abortion argument.

29 minutes ago, smac97 said:

Second, at what point does "an embryo or early stage fetus" achieve personhood, then?  I am genuinely curious as to your perspective on this issue.

There isn't any particular point besides the neonatal baby taking its first breath, I guess. (Which is, according to Genesis, is when the spirit enters the body.) I'm certainly open to the possibility of the prenatal fetus being viewed as a person while recognizing that it not legally such when it cannot possibly have full rights of a person when that would conflict with the already recognized full rights of an adult person.

Personhood is a complex notion that involves multiple cultural factors. Any sort of metaphysics that imply there is a precise point when a fetus becomes a persons is just silly.

35 minutes ago, smac97 said:

You seem to be disagreeing with this declaration.  I get that.  But you are not addressing it on the merits.  You are only sneering at it.  Again, what is the reasoning for your position in opposition to the above statement?

Because those who make the "LIFE!" pro-life argument routinely betray (or acknowledge the insufficiency of ) the rationale when it comes to ending other lives--such as with persons on life support, capital punishment, war, etc.

 

37 minutes ago, smac97 said:

If Person B is on life support, can Person A unilaterally "pull the plug" for any reason, or no reason at all?  If not, then what reasons exist as would allow Person A to "pull the plug?"

The recognition that a person is not mere cellular activity.

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I knew one lady who went to her doctor and said she wanted an abortion.

The doctor asked "How far along are you?"

The lady replied "He's 17 years old now". 

 

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