Atheist Experience #848 HD + Aftershow: Brain Dead Is Dead

A particularly interesting episode of The Atheist Experience: the great debate is over what kind of rights people have once they're dead. There is a lot of discussion over a couple recent medical cases: one in which parents are keeping their brain-dead daughter on life support, and another in which a brain-dead woman is being kept alive as an incubator for her unborn fetus.

Comment by A. T. Heist on February 10, 2014 at 1:22pm

I will admit here that I am somewhat pro-life.  Whereas I completely believe in women's rights over their own bodies, I am concerned that abortion can be used as birth control.  But I fully admit that there are emotional issues wrapped up in the larger issue of abortion.  In the video posted above, though, the hosts stated the pro-choice case better than I've ever heard it: "Everyone has a right to life, but not at the expense of someone else's life."  They pointed out that, if a 2-yr-old depended on an organ transplant from his mother, we should not force the mother to donate that organ.  In the same sense, we should not force a mother to donate her uterus, merely to keep a fetus alive.  The fetus does not have more rights than the 2-yr-old.

Comment by A. T. Heist on February 10, 2014 at 1:29pm

Let me clarify my "pro-life" statement a bit.  As I mentioned above, I believe there are emotional issues concerning pregnancy, and whether or not abortion is an option.  All I know, is when my wife first got pregnant several years ago, when the doctor said that we could terminate the pregnancy, my emotional reaction (and that of my wife) was "No, we don't want to do that."  (As it turned out, that pregnancy ended in miscarriage, so it didn't end up being an issue.)  I would prefer it if there was some responsibility demanded of adults who have sexual intercourse which results in pregnancy.  All that being said, neither I nor anyone else has the right to tell a woman what she can do with her own uterus.  And I certainly support the legality of abortion, as the alternative is too horrible to contemplate.  As a male, I will never be able to empathize fully with a woman who has an unwanted pregnancy.  We weren't too excited about either of our daughters when they were first conceived, but we are very happy they are here now.  

Comment by captain kingsway on February 10, 2014 at 4:18pm

The answer could not be clear cut as the brain is dead but abortion must be legal in any case.

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