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."?

Tags: abortion, conception, feminism

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Well, an embryo does not have the ability to sustain itself for a lifetime. If it is removed from its life support system (the womb), it will die. Much as we could attach a severed body part to a machine to maintain its blood flow, warmth, nutrients, etc. The finger would continue to 'live', but would not be able to sustain itself without external support.

But isn't an embryo a "stage in the life cycle" and is therefor alive? What is the status of an unborn alligator, then, or a tomato sprout which hasn't quite broken through to sunlight yet? Dead?

I think you need to define what you mean by 'alive'. A sperm cell is alive, an egg is alive, they merge to form a new cell which is also alive. Life has been non-stop for billions of years.

You're absolutely right. It's false to claim that even a pre-embryonic sperm and egg aren't "alive." The difference is that once a sperm fertilizes an egg, the life of an individual being begins.

And that is the point where the discussion needs to take place. At what point does a group of cells make the shift from something that is alive to a sentient being. If a fertilized egg fails to implant into the womb, we don't consider that to be the death of an individual.

It sure is. It's just a nameless individual we'll never get to know. Genetically, it's an individual. The sentience discussion may have bearing on personhood, but not on whether the embryo is alive.

You have a strange definition of individual, if you are only considering genetic data. Identical twins are genetically identical, yet I doubt you would claim that they are not two seperate individuals.

Reproductive freedom is being made to sound like some sort of demonic rite.  There is big trouble brewing in the US.  These Republican Teabaggers could demolish all the years of struggle and pain that women have invested in the right to their own bodies.  If there is any rational thought in these politics it is not to protect life it is to justify their own immorality by blaming it on God.  This does not make them righteous it makes them evil.  Voters of this ilk do not think, they blindly follow.  They are preyed upon by obscenely wealthy Evangilical Fundamentalist and the shield that allows these self-righteous politicos to hide behind.

Life is a label we put on consciousness to be able to feel good about ourselves.  In the long run of things, we are mere specks of dust floating in space that had just the right influence on our chemistry to spawn evolution and countless species to thrive on our planet.  Ultimately this is a choice that should be left to the women.  NOBODY should be able to tell people what to do with their bodies, especially the government.

Babies aren't self sustaining any more than an unborn fetus.  In fact, most people aren't self sustaining until they are well into their teens, some earlier, some later.


Just thought I'd point that out.  :D

Maybe life begins when one gets one's first job. :)

People of all ages are dependent. Independence can't be an essential ingredient of life. Parasites are dependent but alive, after all.

This is true that parasites are alive.


But babies and young children really wouldn't survive without another person helping them.  I was really just putting that out there because someone earlier said something about a person being self sustaining at birth.


I'm really mixed on the abortion issue....I hate the idea of it, because it does seem that there is life in the womb, but I do realize that each situation is unique and there are very good reasons for having them.


I guess where I stand is, I don't judge a person if they have an abortion.  But it makes me sad nonetheless.  Both for the woman and the unborn.  Only because it's my understanding that many women suffer from depression and guilt and other issues after the fact...but if a woman has an abortion and doesn't suffer from it, then that's fine I guess, and I'm glad she doesn't.


My own mother had an abortion about 10 years ago, because she found she had kidney cancer and had to have a kidney removed.  The baby wouldn't have survived anyway, so she had it aborted.  I know it haunts her to this day, even though it's something she needed to do.  And she isn't a Christian.  But it's been tough for her.


But I know that many women have abortions and are fine.  However, many are not.  It's a very complicated issue.




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Posted by Quincy Maxwell on July 20, 2014 at 9:37pm 28 Comments

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