So I was having an online discussion with my younger brother a little more than a week ago about abortion. Being a devout and pro-life Catholic he held the opinion that life starts at conception, that it a fertilized egg is human and should be treated as human because it is a unique life different than the host parent. I have also been reading bio-ethics and many different places on the debate and they all seem to revolve around trying to justify scientifically what I can best describe as trying to answer the question, "when is an embryo tantamount to a human being?" 

     Of course, that one question gave way to the larger question, "What makes us human?" Where do we define the limits of humanity? Is it strictly in a biological sense as in form, shape, and structure? Is it in potential in the case of infants? Is it in behavior; could someone act in a way that they are no longer considered, if even for a moment, a human? Is it in ability whether physical or mental? Is humanity a transitive property; in other words, is it a label that can be taken away or does it last regardless once it has been gained? Are their varying degrees of humanity where a person could be considered "more human" than someone else?

I am very curious to hear all of your thoughts and ideas!

Tags: humanity

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Agreed.

To me it seems that the fears, lusts, rage, bigotry, gudgementalism, racism etc can be categorized as giving into our instincts, our territoriality and fear of what is foreign to us. To me I think the human is what overcomes these instincts, when the human understands that those things come from our evolutionary past and understand them, our instincts seem to lose power over us. That is the human in my eyes. The constant reassurance that people fall into (religion) is a comfort net for those who do not understand our instinct that needs that reassurance. But it's also our instincts that give us empathy, our drive to repopulate, to ensure our species survival, our love and compassion for others, all of which evolved within us and that part of our instincts as well as overcoming the bitter portion of it, to me; lies our humanity.

Sorry for the comma splices, I'm using a virtual keyboard haha.

You seem to assume that bigotry, racism, gudgementalism(?), and other character flaws can be blamed on instincts. Which instincts are we talking about?

Tribalism, power in groups, fear of that which is not us and Those that do not follow our ideologies. Examples of this is all over our history.

Just a thought, that these feelings come from our past and that we still struggle with them.u

An embryo doesn't have a brain therefore is not self-concious, our brain is what makes us functional human beings. An embryo can't experience pain because the area of the brain that is in charge of processing pain is not yet developed. A nervous system with a non-existent brain equals to nothing.

An embryo doesn't eat, excrete neither breath by itselft. Is thanks to the mother's organs that it can exist. You may call it a parasite if you wish.

Nine months of constant nausea and hunger at the same time while needing to pee every 5 minutes. Mood swings from extreme anger to plain depression. Breast, hip and stomach pain. 30 pounds plus. Acne, hair loss. Gums bleeding. Swoallen feet.Water retention. High blood pressure. Low body temperature. Bunch of money wasted in doctor visits, clothes that fit, vitamins and pills...
And the worst nightmare giving birth. All of that sacrifice for someone you don't even love or wanted to begin with. And the many years to come pretending you actually like them, giving them your salary and time and living a mediocre life with crashed dreams. And the father? Yeah he is living his life to the fullest. 

If it's a woman call to be a mother she will enjoy it regardless, but if she doesn't want that embryo let her take it out before it's too late and we have another loser living off our tax money.

Isn't it already illegal for one person to take over the body of another?  If some person grabbed me for the purpose of sharing blood and using my kidneys, lungs etc., I'd think I'd have a right to terminate the relationship immediately - even with deadly force.

ONECAE- that one was a great analogy. An unwanted embryo is nothing different than a parasite. Just because it has human DNA doesn't make it legal for it to drain a woman!

Only if you grant that a fetus is a person. Do you? If you don't then the analogy goes...POOF!!!

What I've described wasn't meant to be an analogy.  The fetus is using the mother's body for the purpose of sharing blood, using the kidneys, lungs and other vital organs.  This is a biological fact, under the definition that mother and fetus are separate people.  The fetus is governed by law and needs the consent of the mother to use the mother's body in that way - just as any other person would need such consent.

In some of the Polynesian Islands, it was believed in past centuries that their god placed babies in the wombs of their mothers - fatherhood was unknown, because it was not understood that sex had any relationship to pregnancy.

Hopefully, that view has since changed. Some might say - and cases in America have gone all the way to the Supreme Court with less foundation - that a woman with full knowledge of the biological possibilities of sexual intercourse, gives implied consent to the creation of a fetus, by the inaction of failing to prevent its creation.

OK Cara, time to bare the fangs and attack --

Just to be clear, are you implying that the state has the right or even obligation to manage procreation in the case of females who become pregnant? If so, why not throw men in prison who have sex without condoms? Why should men be left off the hook?

Okay, so for your non-analogy to work, we need to view the fetus as a rational being who can form the intent to "(use) the mother's body for the purpose of sharing" blah, blah, blah. That doesn't even pass the giggle test.

I think we can also all agree that whatever a fetus is, it isn't a parasite, to anticipate another way of viewing it.

Pregnancy is almost the epitome of a natural state of affairs.

For me the problem is that I don't think we want to grant the state the right to tell women they can't do with their body what is, in their judgment, the best thing to do with their body.

Do we want the state ordering men to get vasectomies?

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