I'm an atheist. I believe in reproductive rights for women. I believe a woman should be able to abort a pregnancy no questions asked. Why should I have to also believe the nonsense that "life begins at birth"? It seems to me that a human being is created as soon as a sperm fertilizes an egg. The DNA of a human being exists from that point onward. Are we so under the thumbs of the religious right that we can't say, "Yeah, life begins at conception. So what? The woman still has control."?
There is no way I could of abandoned my girlfriend. There was two involved in this situation and I wasn't turning my back on her. We discussed the situation with our families (I was sixteen , she was seventeen) and made the decision. It's strange how some people don't want to take responsibility for their actions and in turn place the blame on someone who is trying to be helpful.
The experience was a life changer for me and forced me to make a commitment that it never happen again. While perhaps unfounded, I still possess feelings of guilt about what transpired. On a positive note we remain friends to this day, some 38 years later.
"Well technically, babies are just clusters of cells for a time. So are tumors... We have no problem removing tumors. Hell, life shouldn't be considered began until birth."
So you would see no problem with the late term abortion of an eight month old fetus? Perhaps you have already had the opportunity to feel the faint kicks of an unborn through the mother's stomach or someday you may. At which time you might very well rethink your preposterous comment.
There is a world of difference between an early stage embryo and a fetus of 8 gestational months. It is preposterous that you would ever conflate the two.
I don't think abortion is a good choice, but I do believe it very often is the best choice. People who abort tend to do so out of responsibility to the child. If there is no viable option, then the child must be prevented.
Here are the options:
1.) Have an unwanted child. The child grows up unloved, low probability of a good, happy life.
2.) Have a child you can't afford. High probability of severely impoverished living conditions. Increased chance of criminality. Happy healthy life unlikely.
3.) Offer for closed adoption. Risk of child going to insane fundamentalist x-tian family, or adopted child collectors, while perfectly viable candidates for parenthood are turned away on the grounds that they are homosexual. Ideologically unacceptable before the enforcment of the "traditional family" foolishness is removed.
In the end, If a woman would be placing the child in a bad situation, and does not have a decent candidate for an open adoption, such as a trusted friend or family member, parental duty would dictate that the only responsible course would be to terminate.
What is human? What distinguishes us from other animals? Is it our higher cognitive function? Is it our DNA? Obviously our capacity for reason does not start at fertilization. Is it ethical to terminate before sapience is achieved? If it is, will it be ethical to wipe the memory of a computer that could be come sentient, in order to prevent it from doing so? This issue goes well beyond the current forum.
I believe we should disallow abortion once neurons start to develop. I base this on the Idea that it is the brain which makes us human.
Bottom line - and this transcends abortion - this is a valid ethical dispute. Both sides of the abortion debate tend to dismiss that. The issue is does unique DNA make a person or is viability also a factor? I personally feel that both are factors. A single cell can not live outside the mother's body. Or, more precisely, it is not a being that can ultimately participate in society. I feel viability - not live birth - is the ethical cut off. While you are an atheist, the Bible - esp. the OT - demonstrates the existence of the view that the ability to exist independently was a consideration. Exodus 21:22-23 seems to argue that a child is not human until achieving viability (in utero). Whereas Leviticus 27:6 & Numbers 3:15-16 seem to imply that a child is fully human until a month after live birth. In all 3 cases, the issue is indirectly addressed. Point being. the ability to function independently has long been a consideration in the debate over life.
First off, by definition a sperm cell is alive, it has direction and motility, if we're talking about killing life then, in a sense, men are committing mass murder every time they have an orgasm. Second, I myself am pro life and pro choice, but as a man it doesn't concern me as I don't think I have to worry about becoming pregnant anytime soon, but I am for a woman's right to choose, as she is the one who has to bear the burden not only of the pregnancy itself but in the majority of the time spent in raising her progeny, so my point is that men should mind their own business and keep out of it, and their only concern should be in controlling the application of their sperm in the first place, if laws are to be made it should be by women for women because it is a child bearers issue alone. But on the issue of when a fetus becomes a person I believe that a parasite is a parasite until it has acheived the ability to survive once detached from it's host.
Also, in my opinion, the "Miracle of Birth" is a misnomer, because to be a "Miracle" doesn't it have to be a very rare event? Birth happens millions of times a day, throughout all species of mammals, so where is the Miracle in that? It's a common experience, which I think would exclude it from the description of being a "Miracle."
just sayin : )
@Rick I don't think it's my view that requires special proof. I know of no reputable biological scientists holding that "life begins at birth." It would seem that any scientist maintaining that would have to adopt the absurd view that an alligator isn't alive until it pokes its nose out of its shell or that a tomato plant isn't alive until it bursts through the surface of the soil. It's the contrary to common sense view that requires special proof, not the common sense view.
I know of no reputable biologist who holds that life began any later than several billion years ago.
Avoiding the challenge would seem to validate my position.