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!
@Unseen - wish I had time to stay and play, but I'm late to something - I've always had some degree of respect for your debating skills, but no matter how color blind you may be, even you should be able to tell the difference between apples and oranges. Hint: they're shaped differently --
What? Vasectomies are the apples and fetuses are the oranges? I just think if the state has the right to regulate female reproduction, it ipso facto has the same right when it comes to men. Obviously, WHAT it manages is going to be different, but the point is, does the state have the right? Your answer please...
@Unseen - A tubal ligation is an orange - a vasectomy is an orange - see how that works?
A degree in philosophy, you say? And that qualifies you for --?
I'm forced to repeat myself: "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?"
Women are paying taxes so that policymakers locally or in Washington can meddle in their medical and sex lives? Why shouldn't the state vasectomize men who go around fathering children willy nilly? All the more so if you are forcing women to take these pregnancies to term.
RE: "If so, why not throw men in prison who have sex without condoms?" and, "Why shouldn't the state vasectomize men who go around fathering children willy nilly?"
In line with continuing to compare oranges with oranges and apples with apples, please produce a list of women who have been jailed for having sex without birth control and those who have been subjected to tubal ligations for going around and bearing children willy, millie van, or any other nilly --
Oh, and don't try to kid a kidder - you LOVE repeating yourself, ad nauseam --
That's true Blaine, to the shame of this country - it was an effort on the part of White Supremacists to create their own little eugenics program.
"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."
Yes, that's what I'm saying. If the fetus isn't a human person, then the laws concerning human persons don't apply. If the fetus is a human person, then by law, it needs the consent of the mother to do what it does. Without such consent, the mother can unilaterally terminate the relationship.
If the fetus is not a person, then the whole debate goes poof along with the analogy.
Unfortunately, "what makes an entity a 'person'?" is an even harder meaning to sort out than "what makes an entity a human?"
John - Might I suggest you read, "Woman in the Mist," the biography of Dian Fossey, by Farley Mowat? You may come away with the belief that some great apes are more human than some of us.