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Saturday, September 03, 2005

Comments

Amelya

As much as I appreciate people's individual opinion, what happens in my vagina is not up for discussion. Before you worry about what attaches to what wall of my organs there are many babies, infants and children who needs your time, attention and money. I have loads of living organisms in my body and will not accept anyone telling me what to do with them. Your religion or ethical belief is just that, your own. There are many adults and children dying and being killed and you stand by because the poor or people from another country are not your concern. Then why is my vagina and uterus your concern? Anyone I have met who has done an abortion has done it, has not done it because of a man, but because of them. I refuse to give up my rights, the rights over my organs, my future, my decisions over people who think there is an invisible being in the sky. Whatever you belief is, I am okay with you doing and living your own life, but for you to preach to me about what happens in my life to my vagina is actually quite ridiculous. No matter how many straw man arguments you send about sacred life, and human life being a life as soon semen and egg meet which means that the "baby" doesn't even have a face or heart, is ridiculous, these arguments do not change the fact that in the end, you are trying to tell everyone else what to do with their organs.

Julie

I fail to see why a woman who doesn't want to be pregnant should be urged to go to term simply so a childless couple can play "mommy and daddy". There are too many kids waiting to be adopted right now, and they may never find loving parents because they are no longer infants.

Dana

What problems does abortion solve that adoption can't? Can't afford a child-adoption. Not ready to be a mom-adoption. Don't want to be a single parent-adoption. Have college plans or other goals-adoption.

Tracia

I would like to commend those who have so eloquently presented the pro-life position on this website. It is very unfortunate that one would even have to argue that pulling a child apart limb by limb is inhumane and evil, but that is obviously the state of our world today. Great job!!

Kim

Lou, I just wanted to commend you on your site and the stories you post here. Very moving. Thank you.

(It is not likely that I'll respond to any Pro-Lifers)

Cheers Kim.

Liberty

Actually, to clarify, there is a difference between the abortion pill and the morning after pill. Plan B, the morning after pill, also known as "emergency contraception," does not abort a fertilized egg; rather, it prevents the egg from being fertilized. RU486, the abortion pill, aborts whatever is in the uterus.

The difference being, if you were already pregnant and didn't know it, and took Plan B, your baby would be ok. That's a pretty big difference, isn't it?

Incidentally I think it's great for people to be discussing this, whether or not they agree. If we STOP discussing, we sure won't get anywhere.

I think most people here missed the entire issue of how difficult it would be (if not impossible) for this young woman to care for her special needs child while enduring another difficult pregnancy. She does have a responsibility first and foremost to provide care for her living child, doesn't she?

Jivin J

Hi DP,
I agree that the individuals points are getting to long. Can you admit that zygotes aren't ever aborted? Just to make something clear - I don't think your view of personhood is racist. I think it (like all personhood criteria that eliminate one group of human beings) is arbitrary and I see no reason to accept one individual's view of "personhood" over another's. I think the term "person" when used philosophically has almost always been used by one group of human beings to discriminate against another group of human beings. Most pro-choice individuals I encounter have drawn their realm of personhood based almost solely on not including the unborn (at least up to a certain stage) in that realm. I find it troubling when someone looks for a way to eliminate one group of people based on a prior belief. That's why I try not to use the word "person" when I'm discussing the unborn or any other human being (though I do fail at times).

If children don't gain your criteria for personhood until 30-35 weeks, should it then be legal to kill infants that are born premature? Every day in this country there are children that are born before they've gained what you consider "personhood," are they not persons? Do they deserve less respect that other animals like apes? By your standards it would not be inherently immoral to intentionally kill a premature infant at 28 weeks. Do you see that as troubling? Princeton philosopher Peter Singer believes that children don't gain self-awareness, etc. until 3 months after birth and therefore doesn't see a problem with parents killing them.

I believe that all human beings should be granted basic rights based on the fact that they are human. I see human beings as higher forms of organisms that have inherent worth (based on the type of thing they are) not instrumental worth (based on the various things they can do). That's why I think a severely mentally disabled individual is more valuable than a cat, ape, or dog even though the animal might have many more instrumental abilities.

The abstract you've provided is interesting. It's just an abstract so it is difficult to decipher if their methods and conclusions are correct. Did you notice how the authors come to their conclusion "tentatively?" (I'd also mention that during large portions of the 20th century, it was common belief among doctors that newborns didn't feel pain) But I don't see how consciousness or having conscious experiences makes a human being (who before consciousness supposedly wasn't valuable) suddenly turn into something worthy of legal protection. I had my wisdom teeth removed last year. They knocked me out. I was completely unconscious and had no conscious experiences for around an hour. In that time did I cease to be a person solely because I didn't have conscious experiences?

Paige

A fetus can feel and react to stimulus well before the 30 or 35th week.Saying that a baby can't feel pain until then is yet another marketing tool for the abortion industry.When I aborted my baby at 33 weeks, George Tiller (the abortionist who performed my procedure) told me that the baby felt no pain.I believed that lie at the time because I was 13 years old and I bought into all of the "pro-choice" rhetoric.A fetus or zygote or embryo cannot live independantly, but he or she is still a person and still worthy of the basic right to a life.

DP

Jiven: Although I think it would be amusing to continue debating point by point, the posts are really getting long, so I'm going to try to back up to the basic question: What is it about a person that makes it inherently immoral to kill, exploit, or hurt him/her/it? In my opinion, the problem is that people don't want to be hurt, exploited, etc. In order for that to be true, a person must be an entity capable of understanding what is happening to it. The current best guess about when this happens in human fetuses is at about 30-35 weeks post-conception. (See http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=pubmed&dopt=Abstract&list_uids=11653234&query_hl=2, for example.) Before that time, it seems to me, that the only person with an interest in the outcome of the pregnancy is the woman who is pregant. She can definitely think, feel, and is clearly self-aware.

Your definition of a person, as far as I understand it, seems to me both too broad and too narrow. On the one hand, you confer personhood on a single celled organism with no neural tissue. On the other, you are reluctant to consider the possibility that entities that do not have the sacred 46 chromosomes might have some claim to personhood. You say that my view is like that of a racist, but really, can't you see the similarity between your rolling your eyes and saying "apes can't be people--they're APES" (actually, H sapiens are one subgroup of the great apes, but never mind that now) and someone saying "blacks can't be people, they're blacks"? I'm sure you didn't mean it like that, but the similarity is disturbing. Some non-human apes are self-aware and can demonstrate that self-awareness. They can also use tools and have a culture that varies with region and over time. Doesn't that sound just a bit familiar? Alternately, if you can't get past the admittedly great differences in IQ between the average non-human ape and the average human, consider other possibilities that may or may not be remote. Would a computer that could pass the Turing test be a person in your eyes or just a machine that can be killed (ie turned off and thrown out) at will? Would a non-human alien of clearly human-level intelligence be a person?

Jivin J

DP,
So you don't honestly believe that sperm are organisms? Why is that? Is it because they aren't directing their own development? Or is it because they aren't developing?

If you want some evidence - here are some quotes from embryology textbooks. Do you have any evidence from embryology textbooks which says that the unborn aren't organisms or aren't human beings? You also seem to be going between the biological term "human being" and the philosophical term "person" or thinking that when I say "human being" you think that means your definition of "person." This discussion would be easier if you could admit the unborn are human organisms and then attempted to argue they aren't "persons."

"The development of a human being begins with fertilization, a process by which two highly specialized cells, the spermatozoon from the male and the oocyte from the female, unite to give rise to a new organism, the zygote."

[Langman, Jan. Medical Embryology. 3rd edition. Baltimore: Williams and Wilkins, 1975, p. 3]

-"Zygote. This cell, formed by the union of an ovum and a sperm (Gr. zygtos, yoked together), represents the beginning of a human being."

[Moore, Keith L. and Persaud, T.V.N. Before We Are Born: Essentials of Embryology and Birth Defects. 4th edition. Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders Company, 1993, p. 1]

Embryo: An organism in the earliest stage of development; in a man, from the time of conception to the end of the second month in the uterus." (Dox, Ida G. et al. The Harper Collins Illustrated Medical Dictionary. New York: Harper Perennial, 1993, p. 146.

-"Fertilization is a sequence of events that begins with the contact of a sperm (spermatozoon) with a secondary oocyte (ovum) and ends with the fusion of their pronuclei (the haploid nuclei of the sperm and ovum) and the mingling of their chromosomes to form a new cell. This fertilized ovum, known as a zygote, is a large diploid cell that is the beginning, or primordium, of a human being."

[Moore, Keith L. Essentials of Human Embryology. Toronto: B.C. Decker Inc, 1988, p.2]

The national review article was written by philosophers who are well versed in biological facts - your question/assertion is a philosophical one. The difference as clearly stated in the article (I hope you read it) is that one thing (the somatic cell) is currently a part of another organism while the other thing (the unborn child) is currently a whole organism unto themselves.

Just because the unborn need nourishment from their mother that doesn't mean they aren't directing their own development. One is not opposed to other. Newborn infants require large amounts of care to survive, yet you'd still admit they are directing their develop, are they not?

Free the apes? Really? Most of the time I don't get people to admit they thinks apes should be released from zoos. Do you think they should be allowed to walk the streets, allowed other rights like you and I? When you go to the zoo, do you look at the ape cages and say, "Those bastards, let these people go!!"

Your definition of personhood is wholly arbritrary and it is also changing. You've provided no reason to accept that the ability to "think and think about themselves" over any other criteria (you simply restated your criteria kind of) - when you first stated your definition you mention consciousness and self-awareness -. Do you really think newborns can think and think about themselves more than the average dog? I could just as easily assert that "black human beings aren't persons because their skin is darker than mine." Why does consciousness/self awareness or thinking about themselves make one a "person?"

Regarding twinning, you seem to be asking the wrong question (experts in embryology aren't even sure why twinning occurs so how would I). But if you can't refrain from asking me to explain something experts have trouble with - I'd pose the same question to you regarding birth - how does one human being suddenly become two by a simple 9 inch journey down the birth canal?

You also didn't answer this - "I'm guessing that you don't believe that the inability to twin makes the unborn into human beings, correct? If so, then why are you trying to prove that the ability to twin makes the unborn into something that isn't a human being?"

So now personhood criteria is EEG readings and not consciousness? Can a newborn infant recognize itself in a mirror? If not, then why should they be considered "persons?" Or maybe they shouldn't? One of my cats can shake on demand (usually for tuna or cat treats), can go to the bathroom in a certain location, and knows where to get his food and water among other things. Do you honestly think a newborn human (who can't shake on demand, craps his pants left and right, and has no clue how to get food) has more current physical and mental capabilities than my cat?

By the time an embryo reaches the uterus for implantation, he or she would be composed of around 100 or so cells and would not be a zygote (a one-celled organism) nor a "fertilized egg" - plus there aren't many objective studies which indicates emergency contraception affects the lining of the uterus - Planned Parenthood even cites a study that suggests progestin-only ECs don't affect uterine lining. So yes, I'm completely correct in saying that no zygotes are ever aborted. So why do you keep using that term when we're discussing abortion??

I didn't say the unborn was an independent thing (it is a different organism that is currently attached to its mother). I said that it was directing its own development. The placenta supplies nutrition and oxygen, but the unborn still direct their own development. Your whole argument here is a false dilemma or is it a false premise? You've provided no evidence that providing food and oxygen is equivalent to directing development.

But the brain still is there is it not? It hasn't matured to high level of functioning but it still exists? I could make the same comparison regarding computers to newborn infants. The lack of a fully developed brain, doesn't mean the brain doesn't exist.

DP

"Why aren't sperm and egg organisms? Biology tells us that they are part of a larger organism just like my hair is my hair and not another organism."

By what criteria are sperm and eggs part of a larger organism but fertilized eggs not? Neither unfertilized gametes nor fertilized gametes have the same DNA as their host, neither is needed for the overall function of the organism. Again, what's the difference? Don't bother with the "biology tells us" argument: it's an appeal to authority, the same as "the bible tells us". If you have some actual data based on biological experiments that demonstrate gametes to acquire some characteristic that makes them "people" at fertilization, by all means present it, however.

"You don't really believe that sperm are organisms, do you?"

Actually, no. I don't believe a fertilized egg is a person either. But you do, and I haven't heard a coherent explanation from you as to why.

"Regarding skin cells - you're confusing potential with actual. Using cloning, certain cells on my body could be placed in a nucleus-free egg and then zapped and may start developing as a cloned human being. A human embryo is already a current and actual human being."

A fertilized egg may, if it is lucky, be implanted and, if it receives proper stimulation from the uterus, begin development. It is far from "directing its own development": without continuous support and stimulation from the uterine environment it will not develop. A skin cell (actually, a cell from the intestinal lining would be better: less differentiated, but be that as it may) needs only one little extra step to help it. So, what's the difference, besides essentially prejudice? Incidently, the National Review is not a peer reviewed medical journal and therefore I'm not particularly impressed by articles published there as evidence in the field of human biology.

"If I lose my consciousness after drinking too many rum and cokes, do I lose my personhood?"

Only if you drink enough to become brain dead. If you drink too much and pass out your EEG will continue to be quite active, even in the cortical area.

"If apes are people, do you think they should be released from zoos?"

All things considered, I'd say yes. Not all apes have demonstrated self-awareness, by the way, but do you really want to be responsible for keeping someone in slavery?

"My cats appear to be much more intelligent than your average newborn human. Are they persons while a newborn isn't?"

"Appear" is the right word. Humans begin to demonstrate a sense of self (ie recognize themselves in the mirror) at a fairly young age. Animals, other than a few other primates, generally don't. This suggests that only humans and a few other primates have self-awareness. (On the other hand, while passing the rouge test is proof of self-awareness, failing is not proof positive of no self-awareness. Be nice to your cats. You never know...)

"The real question is - why should anyone accept your arbitrary definition of personhood over the arbitrary definition of someone who says that...women aren't persons?"

Ooh, you mean the "pro-life" definition: women aren't people, they're incubators. (Sorry, cheap shot, but irresistible in context.) My definition is not arbitrary. Women, blacks, gays, non-christians, and other "non-persons" can all think and think about themselves. Embryos can't. Any more than an unfertilized egg can or skin cell can. Given the right environment, any of the above may develop into something that can, but until then, why should one be considered a person, the other not?

"Regarding twinning. You seem be asking the exact same question as before."

So I did. That's because you didn't answer it.

"From what I've read regarding twinning - no one seems to be exactly sure why twinning takes place. I see no reason to say that a zygote or early embryo is two human beings until twinning takes place."

And you still didn't. Gee, one would almost think you didn't have an answer. Once again, how does the "one person" of a single celled egg become the two people that twins clearly are?

"Regarding brain death - the organs are functioning independently - and the human organism is no longer integrating their bodily systems."

This is still not true. Brain dead bodies only need a little help--MUCH less than a fertilized egg needs, to maintain themselves: a respirator, maybe a little pressor support, a feeding tube. Nothing nearly as all-inclusive as the uterine environment. The heart is still beating, the kidneys are still filtering blood (thanks to receiving it from the heart), the GI tract is still digesting any food given it, etc. All in order. Just no person, no "I", left to give meaning to the charade.

"The human embryo is fully integrating its own bodily systems - it currently requires its mother to provide it with a variety of things but it is directing its own development."

You do notice that the second half of that sentence contradicts the first half, don't you?

"...the placenta, part of which is genetically from the child."

Partly. It is actually a bizarre organ with both maternal and fetal components. Through it the fetus receives oxygen, glucose, etc--all supplied by the maternal circulation. But it needs more than that. It also needs proper hormonal support, a fluid bath, protection from environmental teratogens, etc. It is hardly an independent being. Sorry.

"A zygote without a brain is a human being while an unfertilized egg is not a human being."

Again, you are failing to give any definition of a person that includes fertilized eggs, but does not include unfertilized eggs and the brain dead which is not based on simple prejudice.

"...no zygotes are ever aborted..."

Ever heard of the morning after pill? The "snowflake babies"? Neither of these is technically abortion, but they are issues in which a fertilized egg is considered more important than an actual living, breathing, thinking woman.

"A human embryo has a brain before six weeks of development. By 30 days after conception, all three primary parts of the brain are present."

The first stationary neurons develop during the eighth week. Axons and dendrites take a bit longer. Saying the brain is developed by 30 days because the basic layers can be identified is like claiming that your computer is built because a diagram outlining where the chips are going to go has been made--even though the chips are not yet produced much less connected.

Jivin J

DP,
Why aren't sperm and egg organisms? Biology tells us that they are part of a larger organism just like my hair is my hair and not another organism. You're arguing against basic scientific facts here. You don't really believe that sperm are organisms, do you? The field of embryology has shown us that at conception, the life of a new human being has begun. Conception represents the time when a new organism appears and begins to directs its own development.

Actually, human cloning is not illegal at all in many states. Regarding skin cells - you're confusing potential with actual. Using cloning, certain cells on my body could be placed in a nucleus-free egg and then zapped and may start developing as a cloned human being. A human embryo is already a current and actual human being. For a better answer to your question, you might be interested in reading this article by Robert George and Patrick Lee in response to Ronald Bailey (who basically asks the same question as you did)

http://www.nationalreview.com/comment/comment-george073001.shtml

I don't think your definition of personhood works very well. If I lose my consciousness after drinking too many rum and cokes, do I lose my personhood? If apes are people, do you think they should be released from zoos? If they are persons, then why are they caged? My cats appear to be much more intelligent than your average newborn human. Are they persons while a newborn isn't?

The real question is - why should anyone accept your arbitrary definition of personhood over the arbitrary definition of someone who says that black human beings aren't persons or women aren't persons?

Regarding twinning. You seem be asking the exact same question as before. From what I've read regarding twinning - no one seems to be exactly sure why twinning takes place. I see no reason to say that a zygote or early embryo is two human beings until twinning takes place.

Plus, every abortion occurs after twinning is no longer possible. I'm guessing that you don't believe that the inability to twin makes the unborn into human beings, correct? If so, then why are you trying to prove that the ability to twin makes the unborn into something that isn't a human being?

Regarding brain death - the organs are functioning independently - and the human organism is no longer integrating their bodily systems. Just like any organism who is killed but for a while their blood will continue to flow. Different parts of the body may function independently for a little while, that doesn't mean the human is alive.

The human embryo is fully integrating its own bodily systems - it currently requires its mother to provide it with a variety of things but it is directing its own development. A human ova or sperm is not. Actually, a human embryo does take in oxygen and food thru the placenta, part of which is genetically from the child. A newborn child can also not feed itself. Are they eliminated from your realm of personhood?

A zygote without a brain is a human being while an unfertilized egg is not a human being. Why do you always refer to the unborn as zygotes and fertilized eggs when no zygotes are ever aborted and I'm guessing you're in favor of legal abortion for at least thru the first 3 (maybe 6) months of pregnancy? Why not defend your actual position that you think it should be legal to kill a human embryo/fetus up to this time?

You're wrong about the six week abortion. A human embryo has a brain before six weeks of development. By 30 days after conception, all three primary parts of the brain are present.

DP

Jiven: "...Human eggs are not organisms. Neither are sperm."

Why not? Admittedly a sperm alone is pretty unimpressive, but an unfertilized egg needs only a tiny stimulus (ie a sperm) in order to become a fertilized egg, which you have declared to be a complete person. So, why should a fertilized egg but not an unfertilized egg be considered a person?

"On the other hand, human embryos are whole human beings unto themselves. They happen to be located inside a woman and depend on her but that doesn't mean they aren't organisms or aren't human beings."

Again, why, compared with unfertilized eggs or somatic cells? A somatic cell can, under the right circumstances, produce a full person. Human cloning for reproductive purposes is illegal, but illegal is not the same as impossible. So every cell in your body could, under the right circumstances, become a baby just as a fertilized egg could, under the right cirucmstances, become a baby. So why isn't each cell a person?

"What do you mean by the term "person?""

Well, that's the underlying question, isn't it? I consider an entity with self-awareness, conciousness, and the ability to think a person. Note that in my view, the entity in question need not be a H sapiens. Some non-human apes can pass the rouge test, which is considered a basic test of self-awareness. I consider them people, although, of course, not necessarily capable of everything the average H sapiens is. So what? I'm not capable of forming the theory of general relativity, yet I have it on good authority that I'm a person. I don't know of any solid evidence of self-awareness in other species, but, out of a natural conservatism, I try to avoid exploiting other animals. Just in case. However, the chances of single celled organisms having conciousness is just too low for me to worry about. So I don't worry about abortion from the point of view of the fetus until it develops enough brain to make conciousness at least possible.

"From what I know twinning and why it occurs is somewhat of a mystery. I see no reason to believe that since two human beings emerged from a single fertilized egg that it follows that they would only be one "person.""

So, how and when did the one person that was an egg become two? Any zygote can split into twins--or quadruplets, etc. Should each fertilized egg be considered then not one person but two or more?

"Someone who is brain dead has lost their ability to integrate their bodily systems."

Not exactly. They need a little help, specifically, a respirator because they don't have a brain to control their breathing, but no intervention as complicated as, say, a uterus and placenta. The heart and most other organ systems can keep functioning eerily well...the reason organ donation is possible is because most bodily systems can, in fact, function somewhat independently.

"The amazing thing about early embryos is that they don't need a brain to integrate their bodily systems."

Not really. They need a very complex support system in order to continue to live. An embryo can not take in its own food or oxygen or eliminate its own waste. All these functions are cared for by the host until it has grown adequately.

"There is a large difference between "never again" and "not yet.""

This, I think, is a better argument, but one with a fatal weakness. A zygote doesn't have a brain yet. Neither does an unfertilized egg. So, what is the ethical difference between, say, my not having a child when I was 16 because I had a 6-week abortion and my not having a child at 16 because I was abstinent until college? The potential child was never born and never developed a brain in either case, yet one is, according to the pro-life lobby, laudable, the other sinful.

DP

Jiven: "...Human eggs are not organisms. Neither are sperm."

Why not? Admittedly a sperm alone is pretty unimpressive, but an unfertilized egg needs only a tiny stimulus (ie a sperm) in order to become a fertilized egg, which you have declared to be a complete person. So, why should a fertilized egg but not an unfertilized egg be considered a person?

"On the other hand, human embryos are whole human beings unto themselves. They happen to be located inside a woman and depend on her but that doesn't mean they aren't organisms or aren't human beings."

Again, why, compared with unfertilized eggs or somatic cells? A somatic cell can, under the right circumstances, produce a full person. Human cloning for reproductive purposes is illegal, but illegal is not the same as impossible. So every cell in your body could, under the right circumstances, become a baby just as a fertilized egg could, under the right cirucmstances, become a baby. So why isn't each cell a person?

"What do you mean by the term "person?""

Well, that's the underlying question, isn't it? I consider an entity with self-awareness, conciousness, and the ability to think a person. Note that in my view, the entity in question need not be a H sapiens. Some non-human apes can pass the rouge test, which is considered a basic test of self-awareness. I consider them people, although, of course, not necessarily capable of everything the average H sapiens is. So what? I'm not capable of forming the theory of general relativity, yet I have it on good authority that I'm a person. I don't know of any solid evidence of self-awareness in other species, but, out of a natural conservatism, I try to avoid exploiting other animals. Just in case. However, the chances of single celled organisms having conciousness is just too low for me to worry about. So I don't worry about abortion from the point of view of the fetus until it develops enough brain to make conciousness at least possible.

"From what I know twinning and why it occurs is somewhat of a mystery. I see no reason to believe that since two human beings emerged from a single fertilized egg that it follows that they would only be one "person.""

So, how and when did the one person that was an egg become two? Any zygote can split into twins--or quadruplets, etc. Should each fertilized egg be considered then not one person but two or more?

"Someone who is brain dead has lost their ability to integrate their bodily systems."

Not exactly. They need a little help, specifically, a respirator because they don't have a brain to control their breathing, but no intervention as complicated as, say, a uterus and placenta. The heart and most other organ systems can keep functioning eerily well...the reason organ donation is possible is because most bodily systems can, in fact, function somewhat independently.

"The amazing thing about early embryos is that they don't need a brain to integrate their bodily systems."

Not really. They need a very complex support system in order to continue to live. An embryo can not take in its own food or oxygen or eliminate its own waste. All these functions are cared for by the host until it has grown adequately.

"There is a large difference between "never again" and "not yet.""

This, I think, is a better argument, but one with a fatal weakness. A zygote doesn't have a brain yet. Neither does an unfertilized egg. So, what is the ethical difference between, say, my not having a child when I was 16 because I had a 6-week abortion and my not having a child at 16 because I was abstinent until college? The potential child was never born and never developed a brain in either case, yet one is, according to the pro-life lobby, laudable, the other sinful.

Soren K

"i think it pales in comparison to what an aborted baby feels as he or she is being torn from inside of their mother."

Uhm Paige.

The findings are that the fetus is not able to feel pain before the third trimester?

/Soren

Paige

why not give your child every opportunity to live? i am pregnant right now & if my dr. told me that my baby had even a .00001 chance of living, i would still give birth to her and at least give her the chance to live.

La Lubu

Paige, you say that giving "nine months" of a woman's life is "nothing"? Perhaps we didn't read the same account. This woman gave birth to her first child after only six months. There is a damn good chance that she wouldn't be able to carry to term again; a damn good chance the the very same thing could happen, with the very same results. I'm sure knowledge of that played into her decision.

Paige

butterfingers,
i never said anything about anyone not being capable of making any decision, but no matter what my situation, i think it pales in comparison to what an aborted baby feels as he or she is being torn from inside of their mother.9 months of my life is nothing to give someone else the chance to live.and PREGNANCY ISN"T NATURAL??????that has to be the most asinine statement i've ever read.human beings ensure their survival through sex and then obviously pregnancy..ABORTION is not natural nor is it the "norm", if it were then the human race would cease to exist.

Jivin J

DP,
Thanks for your questions.

1. You're confusing parts and wholes. Human eggs are not organisms. Neither are sperm. They are parts of organisms so they themselves cannot be members of the species Homo sapiens. Because something can be described as human (adjective) such as my skin, my hair, etc. doesn't mean that it can be described as a human being (noun). On the other hand, human embryos are whole human beings unto themselves. They happen to be located inside a woman and depend on her but that doesn't mean they aren't organisms or aren't human beings. You should also note that I was responding to Ol' Cranky who believes the unborn are organisms but hasn't said what type of organism.

2. What do you mean by the term "person?" Pro-choice people that I discuss abortion with often have different meanings for that term. From what I know twinning and why it occurs is somewhat of a mystery. I see no reason to believe that since two human beings emerged from a single fertilized egg that it follows that they would only be one "person."

3. Do you know what the definition of brain death is? The definition of brain death and what it means is often mistated and misunderstood so I'll share it here. The Uniform Death Act states, "Determination of Death. An individual who has sustained either (1) irreversible cessation of circulatory and respiratory functions, or (2) irreversible cessation of all functions of the entire brain, including the brain stem, is dead. A determination of death must be made in accordance with accepted medical standards."

Someone who is brain dead has lost their ability to integrate their bodily systems. The amazing thing about early embryos is that they don't need a brain to integrate their bodily systems. There is a large difference between "never again" and "not yet."

I don't believe that organ donation from an individual who is brain dead to be murder because that human being is already dead. They've lost their ability to be an integrated whole.

For more information on brain death and how it relates to defining the beginning of life, you might be interested in reading the article below by neurobiologist Maureen Condic - http://www.firstthings.com/ftissues/ft0305/articles/condic.html

DP

Jivin J: You seem interested in the question of when a human life begins. Perhaps you could answer a few questions about the issue:

1.In answer to your rhetorical question, fertilized eggs (of human parents) are of the genus Homo, species sapiens. So are unfertilized eggs and sperm, somatic (non-reproductive) cells, cancer cells, and cells growing in vitro in culture medium. Are all of these also separate humans? Is chemotherapy murder? What about appendectomy? Is cell culture slavery? If not, what is different about a fertilized egg as opposed to any other entitiy that makes it more human.

2. Monozygotic (identical) twins derive from a single fertilized egg. Are they, therefore, only one person? If not how did the one person of the fertilized egg turn into two people?

3. When is a person dead? The standard definition is brain death, but this clearly won't satisfy you, since it would consider at least all embryos prior to the formation of brain cells to be not living people. Is a person alive until the last cell in their body dies? Is organ donation murder?

I have other questions, but this post is already overlong and rather complicated so I'll leave it at that.

Jivin J

Ol Cranky,
Yes, we did have this debate before so I find it odd that you are incorrectly repeating that unborn children aren't human beings and not providing a drop of evidence for that assertion and instead calling it a religious opinion.

Again, what type of organism is it if it isn't a human being? I see that you've now added "independent" to your phrasing? Why is that? Are there other types of organisms with human parents that aren't human beings?

Again, what is the genus and species of the unborn organism? Since when does science assert that an organism with human parents has to be living independently to be a human being? Sounds more like philosophichal mumbo-jumbo to me.

I never argued that a toddler and a fetus were the same. That's a strawman. They differ in size, level of development, environment, and degree of dependency. I've asked questions about your false and confused claim that the unborn are organisms yet not human beings.

If slavery is a black and white issue to you, I suggest you don't own a slave. I'd also suggest you work on decreasing the demand for slavery. If stealing is a black and white issue to you, I suggest you don't steal. I'd also suggest you work on decreasing the demand for stealing instead of trying to make stealing illegal.

Your links regarding adoption refer to adoption from foster care not special needs infants who've never been in foster care. You're comparing apples and oranges and have yet to provide any evidence that a woman who is carrying a special needs child (say Down Syndrome) wouldn't be able to find adoptive parents for this child.

JenniferA

I believe that some of you are missing the point of her post. This young woman has a special needs child. She is pregnant again and is having an abortion. She is not having this abortion bc. she is worried that the fetus in utero is imperfect. She is having an abortion because there is no way in hell she can raise two children with no help from her oh-so-loving-and-holier-than-thou community. Get over yourselves.

Butterfingers

That's lovely..do you ever mention how many women regret their "choice" years after the fact? Murdering your own child goes against every natural instinct a woman has.When you abort, you interrupt the natural process.You clean out a woman's bank account, then send her home with an empty womb and have the nerve to say you are "helping" her.Give me a break.

No, Paige, YOU give me a break. Give me a break and assume I'm an intelligent adult capable of making my own decisions. There are enough women out there who have abortions and don't feel a speck of regret. I DON'T believe that you "murder" a child when you have an abortion, I don't believe that it's "interrupting a natural process" (statistically, more fertilized eggs are rejected by the uterus then are implanted. That means that ABORTION is natural and pregnancy isn't). Without that belief, there won't be much heartache to accompany my decision to terminate a pregnancy that I do not want for whatever reason (which is non of your concern, btw. Stay out of my uterus and out of my morals.)

So yeah - give me a break.

Paige

nothingmuch,
but it does go against every natural instinct a woman has.abortion is the biggest way men subjugate women.all abortion does is kill the baby and allow men to walk away from any responsibilities they may have to take.
the only difference between back alley mills and "professional" clinics is that "professional" clinics hang out a sign and take credit cards.and i will never accept the "heartache" of a woman who ends a "wanted" pregnanct due to some type of abnormality.if the pregnancy was so wanted in the first place, she's stay out of an abortion clinic.there is no excuse for killing a child, even if he or she is not as "perfect" as we think she be.

Paige

nothingmuch,
but it does goes against every natural instinct a woman has.abortion is the biggest way men subjugate women.all abortion does is kill the baby and allow men to walk away from any responsibilities they may have to take.
the only difference between back alley mills and "professional" clinics is that "professional" clinics hang out a sign and take credit cards.and i will never accept the "heartache" of a woman who ends a "wanted" pregnanct due to some type of abnormality.if the pregnancy was so wanted in the first place, she's stay out of an abortion clinic.there is no excuse for killing a child, even if he or she is not as "perfect" as we think she be.

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