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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@Blaine Leavitt

@archaeopteryx LIST

Between 1929 and 1974, North Carolina alone forcibly sterilized about 7,600 people whom the state deemed "feeble-minded" or otherwise undesirable. Many were poor black women.
People as young as 10 were sterilized, in some cases for not getting along with schoolmates, or for being promiscuous. Although officials obtained consent from patients or their guardians, many did not understand what they were signing.
One of the most outspoken victims, Elaine Riddick of Atlanta, has said she was raped and then sterilized after giving birth to a son when she was 14.
Native Americans, as well as Afro-American women, were sterilized against their will in many states, often without their knowledge, while they were in a hospital for other reasons. Some sterilizations also took place in prisons and other penal institutions, targeting criminality, but they were in the relative minority. In the end, over 65,000 individuals were sterilized in 33 states under state compulsory sterilization programs in the United States.

Very similar outrages were carried out against Native Australian girls in Australia into the 21st century. I don't know if it has stopped entirely, but it went on much longer than anything like it went on in the U.S.

RE: the Australian eugenics problem, yes, that was (but no longer is) true. A friend from Australia spoke of this to me quite some time ago.

The fact that you have typed, "List" above, leads me to believe you consider this to be the list I asked for of, "women who have been jailed for having sex without birth control and those who have been subjected to tubal ligations for...bearing children...."

You're trying to equate a racially related eugenics program, designed by a bunch of White Supremacists, as being the list I mentioned - the issue in the cases you and Blaine cited had to do with preventing the continuation of a race, not as a punishment for sexual behavior.

Once again, you decline to stay on point.

I didn't type LIST. It was an artifact either picked up in or added by mistake to my block copy. I know not where it came from.

Actually, the Australian program wasn't designed to prevent the continuation of the race (which would be genocide), but to force integration into the majority of Australian society, with the loss of their culture, which is not genocide (not that it's a great thing, though).

I believe you when you say that - still, you can understand why I believed that to have been the case.

RE the rest, my Australian friend might have a different point of view.


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

Can you give up your evasive obsession with produce for a little while in order to tell me whether the state (local or national) has the right to interfere with a man's AND woman's reproductive life, or just the ladies?

I'm just thinking that, considering that constipation tends to produce an extremely negative attitude on the part of those who suffer from it, that possibly if YOU were to become a little more obsessed with fruit - at least to the point of being able to distinguish apples from oranges - and even went so far as to actually eat some from time to time - well, let's just say, I've heard that eating fruit alleviates constipation. I'm just sayin' --

OK --

We have Unseen saying this:

"Life begins at conception (which is my position) or it begins at birth."

And Unseen saying this:

"The question is whether the government should be able to forbid her from terminating a pregnancy.
As far as I'm concerned, if a woman wants to have abortions as a form of entertainment, I don't give a flying sh**."

So what can one gather from your two positions? The only thing I can discern is that you have no problem at all with contending that Human life begins at conception, but your concern with having any governmental interference in the matter is so strong, that it entirely overrides any concern you may have had about the prospect of protecting that unique, little human life.

Or that, though admitting that even at conception, the embryo is in fact a Human life, your indifference is such that - how did you so eloquently phrase it again? Oh yes, "I don't give a flying sh**."

I'll just bet that that's that Philosophy degree at work again, isn't it?

Does that pretty much sum it up? Or would you like to elaborate on any of your finer points?

I doubt Japan would have such laws.  I think they have been experiencing the reverse issue that birth rates are too low.  Many modern nations require a large taxable base to support their elderly populations.  It creates quite the top heavy burden if birth rates decline too much, and while my understanding of Japanese culture isn't that great, I don't think they're super keen on fleshing out their ranks with immigrants.

China implemented its one-child policy around thirty years ago.  At a glance it appears as if it should work, but realistically, the major complications with such a policy will echo through generations.

China implemented its one-child policy around thirty years ago.  At a glance it appears as if it should work, but realistically, the major complications with such a policy will echo through generations.

I understand that they don't enforce 1-child so much in the rural areas, as the rural areas already lose a lot of young people to the urban areas. (I'm worried about their policy succeeding, with practically an unending supply of cheap labor.)


I was living in China about 25 years ago. The one child thing was definitely more an urban thing. And at the time, about 80 percent of the population was rural.

Sounds more like China than Japan. Unfortunately, a lot of people seem to confuse the two.

But Michael, wouldn't that be like telling women like Octo-mom what she can and can'd do with her body? Unseen wouldn't like that --

Dennis Miller: "Hey, it's a vagina, not a clown car."

Seriously, something is amiss up there in that skull of hers. She is some sort of obsessive/compulsive with a strong tinge of exhibitionism.


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