Eye for an Eye: The Bible, Abortion and Bullshit.

And now we listen to that popular tune: Abortion and the Bible. Great combo, huh? Handling this topic, I run the risk of pissing nearly everyone off, right and left, liberal and conservative, sensible and insane. Oh well! I’ve never been unwilling to be a dick if the situation really called for it. Truly, I created this blog to not only explain what I think but to actually clarify it to myself.  Nothing forces one to think about an idea like writing about it.  But I also want to generate some serious discussion here so don’t be shy about what you think. Negative or positive, I want to hear it in detail and depth!

Exodus 21/22-24.

“If men struggle with each other and strike a woman with child so that she gives birth prematurely, yet there is no injury, he shall surely be fined as the woman’s husband may demand of him, and he shall pay as the judges decide. But if there is any further injury, then you shall appoint as a penalty life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise.”

In all my life, I never actually knew what this verse said. Basically, it’s this: If in a struggle you harm a pregnant women or her fetus then you will suffer a similar fate. That’s it! I had always thought that this retribution was meant for any injury to anyone, but it is obvious with all the preceding passages that this is not really so. It seems only a protection for pregnancy. Actually if you read it carefully, it seems more of a protection for the husband because he is the one to make any demand for compensation. Now Christians may say that she is still the one covered, but ask yourselves this. If the man doing the knocking down is the husband, does she still have the protection? My cynical bastard of a heart doubts it. It really does.

Abortion is inevitably a contentious topic in our pro-choice and anti-choice world. It is the 800 pound gorilla in the room that everyone will talk about, but seldom outside of well trod paths. The left has their clearly defined mantras and the right… is bat-shit insane, I mean, has theirs too.  We as a society need to step outside these boundaries, and taking an untravelled path bothers me not a whit. More people need to.

Look at the verse again. This passage would seem to place a value on the fetus, and for the Christians this gives them yet another divine rational for their stances, however extreme. To them this is clearly a divine prohibition against abortion, a prohibition backed by the death penalty readily explaining the murders of several family planning doctors around the country in the last twenty years. Let me be clear here. I don’t now and never will give two shits about what Zeus, Apollo, Shiva, Thor, Baal, Garfield the cat, Archie Andrews, or any other fictional character thinks of abortion or any other topic. Casper the Friendly Ghost’s opinion on global warming or economic collapse or abortion is less than useless, as is Yahweh the Unfriendly God’s. Fiction is fiction.

That said, I believe it is a mistake to give a fetus no value whatsoever. It is wrong for the pro-choice side of the issue to be reluctant to grant these on the basis of the slippery slope argument. We are screwing up here. Bear with me please. Fetuses who are wanted or who are going to be born need to have rights and protections. A pregnant woman bringing a child to term cannot have the right to drink or do drugs at will for this can certainly negatively affect her child, a future citizen. On the other hand, men cannot get away with hitting or abusing women and causing abortions then only being charged with simple assault.

Historically, pro-choice has gotten by part of this issue by the declaration that the rights of the fetus and the right of the mother are synonymous. The mother has full authority to decide the fate of the child. To a large extent, I have to agree. The woman being the most affected by any choice made, must be the arbiter of her own life and any life she chooses to bring in the world. But the choice not to terminate the pregnancy must be one of great responsibility. Once the mother decides to carry that child into the world, she must also bear the burden of taking care of herself thus taking care of her child, a future sentient being. Any person thrown unasked into this world must have as a basic protection the right to come in with as clean a slate as possible, and this right must be carefully enshrined in our culture and law. If you have ever seen the terrible results of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome or infant meth addiction, you’ll know how horrifying this issue can be. These cases — cases where a fully developed child not can result but will result — must be viewed differently. An unwanted fetus is just that, a mere collection of cells, but one that will soon to be a person has to have protections under our law.  It is foolish to demand that every fetus be born, but it’s essential to demand that every fetus that will be born be given every protection possible.

Some of the rationale for this is our human right to put value into the things we choose, but a larger part is society’s responsibility to future human beings who will one day live independent lives in this world. The case where they will live in this world is vastly more important than if they will not.  Abortion isn’t the important issue here.  Caring for the multitudes who are brought into this beautiful world is.

In addition, it is the right of the mother to put great value on a fetus in an effort to bring it to term. One of the great things about superstition-free humanity is that we can deem as worthy the things we choose. Although I am a firm believer of a biologically and naturally selected morality, I also believe that we value many things because we make a choice, a choice of what to treasure.  This is the true potential of humanity, not blind faith in a bronze-age work of fiction.  The beauty about atheism is that we are not shackled to a cold hard God who tortures people for violations of arcane laws or slays sentient beings because of sexual preference. Theists fear this liberation assuming as correct their religion’s gloomy view of humankind. That is humans without God will rapidly devolve into savagery. History shows me that the opposite is more often true. This freedom terrifies them, but I find it quite liberating. I and society as a whole says what is moral behavior and what is not. Regardless of what many think, this is what we have always done. It’s just that in the past, for good or ill, we have limited ethical authority to a class of priests. But no longer. Now there is no need to reckon back to savage laws written before concepts such as democracy and equality were invented. We as society choose to place value in a fetus that will eventually become a fellow member, but only then. Without that choice and without that future a fetus is nothing more that a few cells.

It comes down to this. If children are to be born and assume their burden of existence, then every care must be taken for their well being. Life is difficult enough without having the deck stacked against them. But if they are not to be born, they are not to be, end of story. Whether we are going to have a healthy functional human being at the end or just dead matter isn’t the issue. Either is more acceptable than having a neglected, abused and dysfunctional person damaged from a lack of love or care or caution.

Intentions and results are everything. Fertilization and conception are nothing. A fetus’s importance or value lies in its outcome not in its origin.

    • Clare
    • November 4th, 2010

    “I run the risk of pissing nearly everyone off”

    Sorry to disappoint but I rather agree with what you said. I’m most definitely pro-choice. My body, my choice. But I wholeheartedly agree with what I hope is your point :) If you choose to take the pregnancy to term then the health of the foetus (and later, the child) is important and should be protected. If you choose to abort (for whatever reason) then so be it, the potential human isn’t realised.

  1. No disagreement here. I feel cheated now, after being told you’d piss people off. Find me someone to shout at! Now!

    • I could give you my mother’s email. She’d do some yelling. But Some people are so set on not stepping onto the slippery slope that they are unwilling to grant any rights to the unborn. I have to disagree. This post allowed me to clarify my own thoughts on the subject and, of course, spread them a bit, and it all still fits within the parameter of my Bible study. Nothing can make my thoughts come together better than trying to get them into writing.

      Maybe someone will show up later Daz. I’ll eventually pull in some raving theist.

      • she’s just not up to the task, she absolutely does not want to go thuogrh with it. Her saying “no” means that the patient will die (be destroyed.) You may think this woman is an awful person, but it would nevertheless be immoral to compel her to do it. No doctor would agree to force her, because it would violate his code of ethics and this is for a comatose patient that is fully developed! Why does this woman (though our scenario could just as easily apply to a man) have the right to refuse to endure discomfort for the patient to live? Because, gut wrenching as it must be to experience this scenario (or a real life unwanted pregnancy,) she is a fully alive, fully functional person in a way that the patient is not. He *could* become so one day, but she IS one right now; and his potential (again that troubling word) cannot trump her rights and freedoms because her freedom is (look out, I’m going constitutional!) an INALIENABLE RIGHT. You cannot morally revoke her freedoms and rights for the sake of the other human being. Even organ donations (from the dead!) are not mandatory, even though it could save many lives. A doctor cannot remove an organ from a DEAD BODY to save the life of a LIVING HUMAN BEING patient unless the dead guy gave permission before he kicked! It’s just not right to force someone – even to give up organs they’re too dead to use – to save a life. The heart that could save a indisputably human being gets put in a box and buried, because we don’t have the *right* to take it by force (or force of law.) Maybe one day they’ll change that law & make it mandatory, but they’ll never force a living person to donate an organ. (and we don’t even agree that a blastocyst IS a human being in the first place) Perhaps your argument about becoming a human being via “ the natural order of things” is your criteria. Man, the natural order of things is so played out. If the western world followed the natural order of things, my wife would have died two years ago from cancer. I wouldn’t know anything about it because I would’ve died when I was 8, thanks to a burst appendix. This internet that lets me to debate with my cherished friends over the ocean; unnatural. Psychology, philosophy, metallurgy and the clothes on our backs come on. One of my teeth is actually an implant, I will likely need a hearing aid one day. I’ll take an artificial heart if it’ll save me in fact I’m prepared to become a full-blown cyborg if it let’s me live this wonderful life in this exciting world a bit longer! The natural order of things, while respected, is not always good or right (or bad or wrong.)Tsunamis are natural, but we don’t lie down and die for them. We sure as heck don’t criminalize people for wanting to resist them.Of course this blog is about how elements of our advancement has, in fact, damaged nature, and we need to take that seriously. I am in deep agreement with that. I’m certainly not saying ,”Natural, bad. Unnatural, good.” I’m saying that it is a bogus principal on which to define something as right or wrong. As you say, “The cells from my nose will not become a human being if left alone to the natural order of things.” But in the hands of a genetic scientist they *can* become babies, and that *absolutely* *is* *valid* (as valid as a blastocyst) because scientists go beyond the natural order of things to save my life and my wife and my kids and yours. Bottom line: The Natural order of things does not make any substantive differentiation between the 150-cell blastocyst and 150 nose cells, because we do not live according to that order. Not in the world we live in today, thank goodness.

      • An intelligent point of view, well expressed! Thanks!

      • If you’re looking to buy these articles make it way easier.

  2. Whether we are going to have a healthy functional human being at the end or just dead matter isn’t the issue. Either is more acceptable than having a neglected, abused and dysfunctional person damaged from a lack of love or care or caution.

    You have this tendency to take the vague, unformulated things I think, and coalesce them into a few sentences that state them clearly. Thank you.

    • Bob Pendell
    • November 4th, 2010

    Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

    Ya know, this post follows the usual path of assuming that whatever the Christianoid churches say that the Bible says is, in fact, what the Bible says and then criticizing what the Bible says without bothering to ask whether these pious cretins have ever understood the book they so vehemently tout. Simple answer, they don’t. Their understanding of their holy book is about on a par of the understanding of the culture of Bangladesh by those who have never been there.

    To me, it is less a question of whether the Bible is true than it is a question of whether what we’ve been told about it is accurate. We’ve all heard it many times over from the bobble-heads, “Abortion is murder. The Bible says so.” Quite a trick that. The Bible manages to say that abortion is murder without once using the word “abortion” or any term that could be accurately translated that way. The real question on this issue is not is a fetus living tissue, but rather, “When does human life begin/” And the clearest answer to that question in the Bible is found in Gen.2:7: “And the Lord God formed [the] man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and [the] man became a living soul.” To me, simple soul that I am, that seems crystal clear. There are two actions attributed to God here: 1) forming the body of [the] man and 2) bestowing the breath of life–and only then did the man become a living soul. I note that it does not say that God formed the body and the man became a living soul and then God gave him the breath of life. Not at all. Even a moron should be able to read that verse and conclude that, according to the Bible, human life begins at birth with the first breath. This suggests that the Christianoids are somewhat less intelligent than the average moron–with apologies to any genuine morons out there for the comparison.

    In the case cited above, the mystery deepens, since this verse says nothing about an abortion, but about an accidental miscarriage caused by human violence. The men are said to “strive”, which means they are fighting each other. They hurt a woman with child so that her fruit departs from her (usually taken to mean she has a miscarriage), but no harm follows. Harm to whom? If the child is unharmed then it is not even a miscarriage, but a premature delivery. Mother and baby are well and unharmed, but the culprit is to pay a fine to the husband. Why the fine, if no harm was done. And if harm to the mother is the intended meaning, but the child is miscarried and dead on arrival, then why only a fine if the fetus is already a full individual human being in the womb. In that case, shouldn’t it be eye for eye,. . .life for life?

    If the child is dead then the penalty should be more serious than a fine paid to the husband. And if the child is born alive and healthy, but a bit premature, then why is there a penalty at all? It seems that the accused should be within his rights to present the husband with a bill for obstetrical services, doesn’t it? The case makes no sense when cited as a prohibition on abortion, since it clearly does not speak of an abortion at all, but a miscarriage at most and the penalty is too severe for a simple premature delivery and not severe enough for a case of murder. Yet the fetus people quote this one constantly as though it actually applies to a case of abortion, which it doesn’t at all, based on the text itself.

    It seems clear to me that this putative God has far greater concern with the life and welfare of the living woman than with the contents of her womb no matter how many idiots quote this verse and others like it, misinterpret it to their hearts’ content and then pretend that their ignorance of the book they try to force on everyone else really proves their case.

    It matters little whether anyone believes in God or not, what matters is rather that the Christianoids have failed to prove their point from the very book they tout as the infallible and divinely ordained truth. And all the other verses they cite to prove their point suffer from the same lack of clear interpretation by the very fools who insist that the book must be understood with literal accuracy–so long as they can twist the words to support their own prejudices.

    If their is a God watching us and keeping score, theee bastards have damned themselves already with their lack of compassion, their hatred of women and their contempt for what their God has tried to tell them.

    With love under will,

    Bob, Adastra,
    The Wizzard of Jacksonville

  3. KK–how could such a reasonable, forthright statement make anybody’s blood boil? No, it’s things like this over at Unreasonable Faith that make my blood boil.

    I am waiting (relatively) patiently for the day when people of faith sit down, compare notes, and actually discover that
    1) the term “miscarriage” is really just a polite way of saying “spontaneous abortion”, and
    2) since their various interpretations of what the bible “says” do not, in fact, agree, and…
    3) since the god who so zealously protects the unborn against abortion (except when he does it himself via “miscarriage”) is the same god who ordered the execution of the Egyptian firstborns, and the Caananites, and the Amalkites, and…well, anyway, He appears to have a serious case of Ethical Hiccups, so maybe…
    4) it would be better not to use the bible as a guide to ethical behavior. Or, really, any behavior. So I guess…
    5)…all we really can do is use our own ability to reason through problems, and pull together all the facts we have at our command (like, wow!, we can put a videocamera right there in the womb to see what’s going on!), to find a balanced solution that *works”.

    *sigh*
    I’m still waiting…
    p.s.–why are so many of the pro-lifers the same people who are also against properly teaching contraception? Do they think humans reproduce linearly? Sorry right-to-lifers, but when geometric reproduction meets vaccination and antibiotics, something’s got to give.
    p.p.s.–What is wrong with RU486 (the “morning after” pill)?

  4. Amy, I can’t get the link for unreasonable faith to work. Email me and I’ll fix it.

    It’d be great to have the whole human race reason through all our problems, but after a long study of history, I’ve pretty much concluded that in order to get that to work you’d have to make the human race something more than human. Think about it. It’s our Fuktardiness that really defines us. Our lapses into pure reason seem the exception rather than the rule.

    And in answer to your second to the last question, It’s because sex is dirty… Unless it’s blessed by God… Then it’s OK… even with 13-year-olds… even with unwilling ones… WTF?

    And in answer to the last question see previous answer. Sex is still dirty.

    • Really? A fertilized egg is a human being?A three-day-old human embyro is a collection of 150 cells called a blastocyst. There are, for the sake of comparison, more than 100,000 cells in the brain of a fly. The human embyros that they used to use for stem cell research do not have brains, or even neurons. Consequently, there is no reason to believe they can suffer their destruction in any way at all. If you are concerned about suffering in this universe, killing a fly should present you with greater moral difficulties than killing a human blastocyst. Again it seems to me that there is a serious comparison failure here. The idea that a microscopic blob of cells is the same as your son or my mother even in terms of rights is very hard to take seriously.Perhaps you think that the crucial difference between a fly and a human blastocyst is to befound in the latter’s potential to become a fully developed human being. But almost every cellin your body is a potential human being, given our recent advances in genetic engineering.Every time you scratch your nose, you have committed a Holocaust of potential humanbeings. This is a fact. The argument from a cell’s potential gets you absolutely nowhere.I have an even harder time taking seriously the idea of electing someone who would create laws (reflecting such a distorted view) equating anyone’s rights with those of a fertilized egg; in this case those human beings would necessarily be women. (I know you’ve already mentioned in your previous comment that it is a women’s issue as well. I thank you for that.)Like you, I find it disappointing that sometimes some people take such a serious and dramatic action as abortion so lightly. But I think that only a very very small minority of people have abortions (or any surgical procedures) just because it is convenient. I find it much easier to believe that most women/couples consider abortion with gut-wrenching seriousness. A law like the ones proposed by the GOP platform (though there are pro-choice republicans out there) illegalizes all abortion. It makes no sense to make criminals of people who would make moral and ethical use of this procedure just to stop a few pea brains who might do so lightly. Even if we resent such an activity. What would be ideal is if morality and ethics leaders reinforced the idea that abortion should only be considered with the deepest of gravity and seriousness, but not that it is necessarily a criminal violation of human rights.

  5. Interesting comparison with an article Sprinklings posted…

    http://sprinklingsofalice.blogspot.com/2010/11/im-not-emotional-type.html

    So sex-education is ‘sexualising children’ but apparently questioning the sexuality of a five-year-old isn’t. Go figure! Can anyone recall hearing of a five-year-old *having* a sexual identity? I certainly can’t, and I’d seriously worry about the predilections of someone who’d project one onto them.

    • That was a good story. Of course, I had to comment on my own take thus.

      “As a mother in the Midwest you should know that bigotry and homophobia are everywhere. As with the religion that spawned it, you can’t get away from it. It is pervasive. Sorry, I wish things had gone differently, but living in North Dakota myself and seeing how people overreact here in this environment of fear the Evangelicals have stirred up, I would have been pleasantly surprised had it gone differently.

      That said, the true crime here is that this was apparently said in plain view and hearing of not only your son but the rest of the children. It’s bad enough to confront you but to do it where the rest of the children can take their cues from these self-righteous b—hes is unpardonable.

      At the risk of offending some here, I must add that the homophobia is only a symptom of the rotting religion at its core. Until this is addressed the hatred and fear of the different will never pass. Fundamental Christianity — spread fear and hate in the name of Jesus

      The small amusement I get out of this is that my mother, the most right wing evangelical on the planet, used to dress my brother and I in wigs, dresses and makeup for our Halloweens. I guess it must have been an innocent time.”

  6. P.S. Did you see the number of comments? 24768. At first I thought that was the views. Wow! and it’s increasing by about 10 to 20 a minute. Too cool that this many people support her.

    • clare
    • November 7th, 2010

    Oh the scoobie doo thing. I read it with my jaw on the floor. He’s five for pete’s sake. I like the ‘girl wearing a batman outfit’ statement. Sadly true that it wouldn’t have been commented on. What a cool mum she is :)

  7. A lucid view of reality, that is truly welcome. Many don’t consider an unwanted child as worthy of consideration as a reason for abortion, buf in reality it may be the most important. Thanks for taking the time. Banning abortion will not stop it, but it will raise the number of maternal deaths from septicemia, hemorrhage and kidney failure. Europe has the most liberal abortion policy in the word, yet, they have less abortions than those with the strictest abortion laws including the United States. I’m glad I stumbled past.

      • yokohamamama
      • March 27th, 2011

      Stumble in often, Ramon! Reasonable voices are always welcome:-)) I’m not at all surprised that Europe has fewer abortions–they have much better sex ed (no ridiculous “abstinence only” set-ups, just sensible education for safe sex).

    • Benjamin (SonOfTheRightHand)
    • August 6th, 2011

    Hello. I know I’m a year late but I was brought to your blog by stumbleupon and was enraptured by KK’s unique Bible study. Kudos.

    In any case, please allow me to break blog etiquette and comment on an old entry. I only do so because I feel I have a unique perspective to add.

    I was a “born again” Christian since early childhood, but in my 3rd year of medical school I critically examined my faith and admitted to myself that I put Christianity in a special bubble. I popped the bubble.

    The freedom of thought was exhilarating, and with it came new ideas about life, death, politics, family, friendships, etc. Perhaps other former Christians turned atheist are able to relate. I mention all of he above because abortion was something I felt somewhat strongly about. I had never considered the pro-choice side prior to my deconversion.

    Now able to examine the issue from a humanist/naturalist perspective, I was not sure what to think without the intellectual crutch of religion. I mentioned medical school because it was around this time that I began my OB/Gyn rotation. Nothing has aided my thinking more than assisting surgeries on ectopic pregnancies. I have held more than one dead fetus in my gloved hand.

    The emotional aspect of abortion lingers as a result of the religious fervency in my past. However, it is clear to me now that every woman should have the right to decide whether or not she carries a pregnancy to the third trimester. This is a medically important event, because a large percentages of all pregnancies will not survive into the third trimester, but once there, the survival rate increases dramatically.

    For the Christian it is easy to say life begins at conception, they believe in a spirit. For the naturalist it is an inaccurate question. However, the dichotomy of rights for the wanted fetus versus nonrights for the ones destined for termination is difficult for me to consider without feeling that I am slipping down a slope. I would therefore suggest that the milestone be the same for what is a legal abortion.

    And now I will allow myself one gripe: Those who would deny curative surgery to a woman dying from an obstetric emergency are frustratingly delusional.

    • Just like to applaud “frustratingly delusional” as one of the most tactful understatements I’ve ever seen. Other than that, I’ll just go with “what Nancy said.” below.

    • Ben, you just comment on whatever you like. I love your bubble analogy. I’ll have to borrow that sometime.

      I too have felt this slope, but eventually allowed myself to slide down it a ways. I find it interesting that the emotional conviction that abortion is murder was stronger and far outlived a similar conviction about God. It started its decline after realizing that the typical Christian views on abortion, war and the death penalty are contradictory. The part of the liberal philosophy I part with is that I believe there are a few specific instances where the human race as a whole is better off without certain individuals and the certain conflicts need to be fought. Deciding which is which in both cases can also be frustratingly delusional. They’re decisions that must be made within human timeframes but have eternal consequences. My view on abortion came into alignment with the rest by coming together in the middle.

    • Nancy B
    • August 9th, 2011

    “The freedom of thought was exhilarating”

    I can relate :) It was exhilarating for me too. I never believed in the bible, but I believed there was “something out there.” Once I realized that there wasn’t, it was wonderful. Eliminating the crutches that religion gives us like life after death, or an invisible friend that helps me with my problems isn’t as scary as the christians think it is – quite the opposite, it enabled me to appreciate and enjoy this life like never before, and gave me a deep sense of personal responsibility. I have found it way easier to believe in reality than in magic.

    “However, the dichotomy of rights for the wanted fetus versus nonrights for the ones destined for termination is difficult for me to consider without feeling that I am slipping down a slope. I would therefore suggest that the milestone be the same for what is a legal abortion.”

    I would be careful here – different people have their own milestones for what they want to be legal and illegal. My milestones might be different than yours, but you should not be legally required to live according to my personal set of values. Christians try to make others live according to their religion and that’s wrong – people should make these decisions for themselves.

    “And now I will allow myself one gripe: Those who would deny curative surgery to a woman dying from an obstetric emergency are frustratingly delusional.”

    They’re crazy, aren’t they? It baffles me that they think that a cluster of cells without a brain or nervous system has a soul, but at the same time they have no problems putting at risk the life of a woman who does have a brain and a nervous system, as well as family, friends, a career, etc.

    Their idea of “pro-life” is bizarre. How can they be pro-life but be against health care? How can they say they love children while fighting to take money away from WIC? And their support of the death penalty is well known.

    • Their idea of “pro-life” is bizarre. How can they be pro-life but be against health care?

      This is the one that most floors me. They’ll argue that every fetus has the rights of a fully functioning person on humanitarian grounds without regard to cost but deny coverage to real and true fully functional people because the math just won’t allow the same profit margins. I will never understand.

      Nice comment BTW Nancy.

    • October 16, 2012 at 7:49 pm“A fertilized egg doesn’t have arms or legs that I’m used to sneieg on humans. It doesn’t have organs like eyes or a brain that are things I attribute to humans. The point is that there are definitely remarkable differences between developed humans and a fertilized egg, yet these differences make no difference in calling the fertilized egg a human. So why is a fertilized egg a human?”I’m tempted to nitpick here. I’ll just say, as mentioned above, the arms and legs have less to do with it, but there are certain organs and nerve types that I do feel come to play in the morality of life rights. Jeremy’s point here is, nevertheless clear. Why, despite the remarkable differences would a fertilized egg be called a person?Jeremy says: October 17, 2012 at 3:35 am Dave has offered some candidate definitions:“Most people agree that what makes us human is our ability to reason and to have complex emotions. This sets us above other life forms as we can learn and grow on our journey.”“Self-awareness, free moral agency, speech and symbolic cognition, conscience and the imagination”’I just want to point out that these – as stated in the earlier post where this comes from – came from people who wrote about it on the web. They are not meant to reflect my own opinion, but to give some sort of models from which we might built our own definition of “person-hood.”Jeremy says: October 17, 2012 at 3:35 am“If a line is to be drawn, it ought to be drawn conservatively, that is on the early side.”I have mixed feelings (yes, Jeremy, this is morality chirping up here) about this, but I’ll agree grudgingly that the right to life is important enough to “err on the part of caution,” even when held against the freedoms of a fully developed person (in this case a woman.)Jeremy says: October 17, 2012 at 3:35 am“I reject viability as a coherent criteria for determining person-hood. It is not the ability to breath which makes us human.”I must agree with this as well. We are not insects or reptiles that allow their young to go off and thrive or die without any help from us. Even healthy newborns cannot survive without intervention/help from better developed humans.Jeremy says: October 17, 2012 at 3:35 am“Also a morality based on technology seems fragile. What if new incubators come out that make it viable for a 4 month old fetus to live outside the womb?”On this I completely disagree. Even the briefest glimpse at history shows that technology impacts human/cultural morality and moral definitions. Let me know if you’d like an example or two. The fact that technology continues to change develop! does not make it a *fragile* basis of morality. It only means that our morality must be reexamined from time to time as our abilities change and grow. We do this anyway. The supreme court, for example must change laws as the times change. Some of our moral definitions, for better or worse, have become moving targets as technological developments change what we can understand and morally or immorally do. This does not make it fragile! It makes it variable and adaptive!Jeremy says: October 17, 2012 at 3:35 am“I submit that the earliest onset of human thought in the fetus should be the criteria. This actually happens after the 24th week so the time framing of Roe vs. Wade should hold in order to draw the line conservatively.”I’m willing to be even more conservative! I’d be willing to base it on the ability of the fetus to perceive what would be done to it. Naturally, I don’t mean the existentialist idea that it is being removed or anything that conceptual. I mean, the ability to feel pain at the process of abortion. This requires nerve endings and a brain of some minimal development (full development is not required, of course) that can process the information the nerves would send. If we are making the fetus suffer pain, then we are doing morally questionable. I don’t require thought beyond that. I would like to believe that we can at least agree that causing pain to others – regardless of where they stand in development – is a basic and fundamental moral matter. I would consider an organism that can suffer pain at the procedure worthy of protection.third and last will be more response including final answers

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