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Abortion and Human Personhood

rockwater
Posts: 273
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7/30/2013 2:38:22 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
I am not here to discuss what the laws should be regarding abortion or whether or not, regardless of the personhood or non-personhood of the fetus, a mother has a right to remove that fetus from her body at any time. I am only interested in discussing what the definition of a human person is, whether or not all human persons have the same right to life, and whether or not the government can define human personhood with respect to embryos and fetuses when many people are bound to disagree with whatever definition is made. I am not trying to advance a particular pro-life or pro-choice argument or something in between here.

If some embryos or fetuses are human lives (in terms of having a human genome) but not human persons, what right to life do they have? Is it greater, the same, or less than the right of other animals to life? (I would like to separate this from the consideration of the mother's right to remove a fetus from her body, so assume that a fetus can exist in some kind of artificial womb and its right to life can then be discussed).

When a person dies, their corpse is no longer a human person, but it still has to be legally treated with a certain amount of respect. Does an embryo or fetus have a right to a certain amount of respect in its treatment that is different from the respect accorded other animals in their treatment?

Bases for human personhood that I can think of are viability with no technological assistance, viability with technological assistance, brain activity, the ability to feel pain, the inability to split into two embryos or merge with another embryo (which is acquired at gastrulation), or mere existence as a separate life form from either of its parents. Can you suggest any others?
wiploc
Posts: 1,485
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7/30/2013 4:20:48 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 7/30/2013 2:38:22 PM, rockwater wrote:
I am only interested in discussing what the definition of a human person is, whether or not all human persons have the same right to life,

No.

and whether or not the government can define human personhood with respect to embryos and fetuses when many people are bound to disagree with whatever definition is made.

Sure. For that matter, it can define pi as equal to three.

If some embryos or fetuses are human lives (in terms of having a human genome) but not human persons, what right to life do they have?

None.

Is it greater, the same, or less than the right of other animals to life?

Less than E.T. Less than HAL. Less than an adult German shepherd. Less than anything that can better opine, anticipate, fear, care.

When a person dies, their corpse is no longer a human person, but it still has to be legally treated with a certain amount of respect. Does an embryo or fetus have a right to a certain amount of respect in its treatment that is different from the respect accorded other animals in their treatment?

Neither the corpse nor the embrio has rights. You can't have rights without consciousness, awareness, opinion, personality.

We do have laws protecting corpses, but they are for the benefit of the living. One could argue that embryos should be protected for the same reason.

Bases for human personhood that I can think of are viability with no technological assistance, viability with technological assistance,

Those have nothing to do with it.

brain activity, the ability to feel pain,

These are more like it.

the inability to split into two embryos or merge with another embryo (which is acquired at gastrulation), or mere existence as a separate life form from either of its parents.

These aren't relevant.

Can you suggest any others?

What made Frosty, HAL, and E.T. people?
the_croftmeister
Posts: 678
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7/30/2013 5:38:47 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 7/30/2013 4:20:48 PM, wiploc wrote:
At 7/30/2013 2:38:22 PM, rockwater wrote:
I am only interested in discussing what the definition of a human person is, whether or not all human persons have the same right to life,

No.

and whether or not the government can define human personhood with respect to embryos and fetuses when many people are bound to disagree with whatever definition is made.

Sure. For that matter, it can define pi as equal to three.

If some embryos or fetuses are human lives (in terms of having a human genome) but not human persons, what right to life do they have?

None.
What precisely do you mean by that? They have no right to life whatsoever as in I should be able to kill it provided I 'own' it with no repercussions? I doubt many people would agree with you on that one.

Is it greater, the same, or less than the right of other animals to life?

Less than E.T. Less than HAL. Less than an adult German shepherd. Less than anything that can better opine, anticipate, fear, care.
This I'll agree with but likely for different reasons.

When a person dies, their corpse is no longer a human person, but it still has to be legally treated with a certain amount of respect. Does an embryo or fetus have a right to a certain amount of respect in its treatment that is different from the respect accorded other animals in their treatment?

Neither the corpse nor the embrio has rights. You can't have rights without consciousness, awareness, opinion, personality.
I agree with the former but disagree with the latter (unless you intended it to be definitional) we can give rights to anything we want, they are a human construct.

We do have laws protecting corpses, but they are for the benefit of the living. One could argue that embryos should be protected for the same reason.
The reason we make them is not important, if they create something that looks like a right then surely they have a right... Quack.

Bases for human personhood that I can think of are viability with no technological assistance, viability with technological assistance,

Those have nothing to do with it.
Why?

brain activity, the ability to feel pain,

These are more like it.
Sure, but why?

the inability to split into two embryos or merge with another embryo (which is acquired at gastrulation), or mere existence as a separate life form from either of its parents.

These aren't relevant.
Again, why? I happen to think they could be very useful markers.

Can you suggest any others?

What made Frosty, HAL, and E.T. people?
That is the question, what in your opinion did?

As to the OP, my opinion is quite straightforward. An entity is a person if others treat it like a person (including itself). The value we place on human life is derived from the value that individual emotional and intellectual attachments place on it (how far you are willing to go to protect the object of your attachment). Embryo's would become a person at the moment someone was willing to treat it like a person. Since we have a situation where there is only one law making body in this regard (though I suppose you could consider ethics boards of hospitals and such as being involved) this body has to make a decision based on what factors indicate a value creating bond has been formed. These include but are not limited to: looking like a person, reaction to stimuli, consciousness. The absorbing/dividing phase is an interesting one because this is definitely the point at which we can distinctly say that this is a separate organism from the parent (and other foetuses that might be present). Does this make sense?
wiploc
Posts: 1,485
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7/30/2013 6:40:51 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 7/30/2013 5:38:47 PM, the_croftmeister wrote:
At 7/30/2013 4:20:48 PM, wiploc wrote:
At 7/30/2013 2:38:22 PM, rockwater wrote:
If some embryos or fetuses are human lives (in terms of having a human genome) but not human persons, what right to life do they have?

None.
What precisely do you mean by that?

Precisely none.

They have no right to life whatsoever as in I should be able to kill it provided I 'own' it with no repercussions? I doubt many people would agree with you on that one.

Okay.

we can give rights to anything we want, they are a human construct.

Could you give rights to a rock?

We do have laws protecting corpses, but they are for the benefit of the living. One could argue that embryos should be protected for the same reason.
The reason we make them is not important, if they create something that looks like a right then surely they have a right... Quack.

The rights are not those of the corpse. The corpse cannot decide whether to take offense, or to forgive a transgression. A corpse has no preferences about being handled with respect. You can pretend that rocks and corpses have rights if you want, but that won't give them actual rights that they could never imagine exercising.

Bases for human personhood that I can think of are viability with no technological assistance, viability with technological assistance,

Those have nothing to do with it.
Why?

Why? Because it doesn't have anything to do with personhood. Personhood has to do with whether you are a person. Steven Hawking is a person even if he isn't viable. A dying woman is a person even though she isn't viable. A flu virus is not a person even though it is viable. Viability and personhood are different subjects, unrelated.

brain activity, the ability to feel pain,

These are more like it.
Sure, but why?

Because you can't be a person without brain activity.

the inability to split into two embryos or merge with another embryo (which is acquired at gastrulation), or mere existence as a separate life form from either of its parents.

These aren't relevant.
Again, why? I happen to think they could be very useful markers.

Markers of what? How are they related to the question at hand?

Can you suggest any others?

What made Frosty, HAL, and E.T. people?
That is the question, what in your opinion did?

They had opinions, attitudes, desires, fears, anticipations. They were people.

As to the OP, my opinion is quite straightforward. An entity is a person if others treat it like a person (including itself).

That's not useful at all. You really could have a rock with rights according to that definition. The crazier people are, the more things will have rights.

Does it work the other way too? If you are willing to treat something as a non-person, it therefore becomes a non-person? If not, how do you account for the difference ?

The value we place on human life is derived from the value that individual emotional and intellectual attachments place on it (how far you are willing to go to protect the object of your attachment). Embryo's would become a person at the moment someone was willing to treat it like a person.

So the people who oppose contraception are right? Sperm cells are people because they say so?

... These include but are not limited to: looking like a person,

So HAL wasn't a person? Elephant man had reduced personhood? I don't see what looks can have to do with it.

reaction to stimuli, consciousness.

Bingo!

The absorbing/dividing phase is an interesting one because this is definitely the point at which we can distinctly say that this is a separate organism from the parent (and other foetuses that might be present). Does this make sense?

Not to me. It seems an arbitrary line drawn to accomplish no benefit.
the_croftmeister
Posts: 678
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7/30/2013 7:03:14 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 7/30/2013 6:40:51 PM, wiploc wrote:
At 7/30/2013 5:38:47 PM, the_croftmeister wrote:
At 7/30/2013 4:20:48 PM, wiploc wrote:
At 7/30/2013 2:38:22 PM, rockwater wrote:
If some embryos or fetuses are human lives (in terms of having a human genome) but not human persons, what right to life do they have?

None.
What precisely do you mean by that?

Precisely none.

They have no right to life whatsoever as in I should be able to kill it provided I 'own' it with no repercussions? I doubt many people would agree with you on that one.

Okay.
Is that what you are saying or not?

we can give rights to anything we want, they are a human construct.

Could you give rights to a rock?
Yes

We do have laws protecting corpses, but they are for the benefit of the living. One could argue that embryos should be protected for the same reason.
The reason we make them is not important, if they create something that looks like a right then surely they have a right... Quack.

The rights are not those of the corpse. The corpse cannot decide whether to take offense, or to forgive a transgression. A corpse has no preferences about being handled with respect. You can pretend that rocks and corpses have rights if you want, but that won't give them actual rights that they could never imagine exercising.
Rights are not exercised by an individual, they are exercised 'for' an individual. They are only recognised because society recognises them for you. You can push to get society to recognise a particular right, but you aren't really exercising it. The decision to take offense or forgive have nothing to do with rights. Otherwise you would be arguing that children have no rights because they can't exercise them.

Bases for human personhood that I can think of are viability with no technological assistance, viability with technological assistance,

Those have nothing to do with it.
Why?

Why? Because it doesn't have anything to do with personhood. Personhood has to do with whether you are a person. Steven Hawking is a person even if he isn't viable. A dying woman is a person even though she isn't viable. A flu virus is not a person even though it is viable. Viability and personhood are different subjects, unrelated.
Fair enough, I think this actually makes personhood independent of life (which I don't see as an unreasonable thing).

brain activity, the ability to feel pain,

These are more like it.
Sure, but why?

Because you can't be a person without brain activity.
Again, why? You can't be a conscious human without brain activity certainly. Is this your definition?

the inability to split into two embryos or merge with another embryo (which is acquired at gastrulation), or mere existence as a separate life form from either of its parents.

These aren't relevant.
Again, why? I happen to think they could be very useful markers.

Markers of what? How are they related to the question at hand?
Because a person is an indivisible entity. They have a clear identity that is separate from other persons. That certainly can't happen before this point.

Can you suggest any others?

What made Frosty, HAL, and E.T. people?
That is the question, what in your opinion did?

They had opinions, attitudes, desires, fears, anticipations. They were people.
Is this your definition or an argument? Because you haven't submitted a definition that would justify this argument.


As to the OP, my opinion is quite straightforward. An entity is a person if others treat it like a person (including itself).

That's not useful at all. You really could have a rock with rights according to that definition. The crazier people are, the more things will have rights.
No, because society has to be willing to defend these rights. Which was the point of the rights discussion above. A thing does not get a right because I say it does, it gets a right because a group who are able to enforce that right say that it does.

Does it work the other way too? If you are willing to treat something as a non-person, it therefore becomes a non-person? If not, how do you account for the difference ?
Yes, provided the non-person themselves treated themself as a non-person (which on my definition is impossible, the human brain always thinks of itself as a person, that is part of what consciousness is).

The value we place on human life is derived from the value that individual emotional and intellectual attachments place on it (how far you are willing to go to protect the object of your attachment). Embryo's would become a person at the moment someone was willing to treat it like a person.

So the people who oppose contraception are right? Sperm cells are people because they say so?
If they cared enough to be able to enforce it on the rest of the population. I doubt they could. In fact, it is wholly impractical, let alone the fact that the rest of society mostly disagrees. They aren't right, because these are moral discussions and I don't subscribe to there being right and wrong answers here.

... These include but are not limited to: looking like a person,

So HAL wasn't a person? Elephant man had reduced personhood? I don't see what looks can have to do with it.
I explicitly stated not limited to. Not having one of these characteristics doesn't immediately qualify you for non-personhood.

reaction to stimuli, consciousness.

Bingo!

The absorbing/dividing phase is an interesting one because this is definitely the point at which we can distinctly say that this is a separate organism from the parent (and other foetuses that might be present). Does this make sense?

Not to me. It seems an arbitrary line drawn to accomplish no benefit.
Well could you explain the 'benefit' of drawing the line you have drawn?
Df0512
Posts: 966
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7/30/2013 7:09:47 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 7/30/2013 2:38:22 PM, rockwater wrote:
I am not here to discuss what the laws should be regarding abortion or whether or not, regardless of the personhood or non-personhood of the fetus, a mother has a right to remove that fetus from her body at any time. I am only interested in discussing what the definition of a human person is, whether or not all human persons have the same right to life, and whether or not the government can define human personhood with respect to embryos and fetuses when many people are bound to disagree with whatever definition is made. I am not trying to advance a particular pro-life or pro-choice argument or something in between here.

If some embryos or fetuses are human lives (in terms of having a human genome) but not human persons, what right to life do they have? Is it greater, the same, or less than the right of other animals to life? (I would like to separate this from the consideration of the mother's right to remove a fetus from her body, so assume that a fetus can exist in some kind of artificial womb and its right to life can then be discussed).

When a person dies, their corpse is no longer a human person, but it still has to be legally treated with a certain amount of respect. Does an embryo or fetus have a right to a certain amount of respect in its treatment that is different from the respect accorded other animals in their treatment?

Bases for human personhood that I can think of are viability with no technological assistance, viability with technological assistance, brain activity, the ability to feel pain, the inability to split into two embryos or merge with another embryo (which is acquired at gastrulation), or mere existence as a separate life form from either of its parents. Can you suggest any others?

I don't see what "inbetween" argument you are advancing but this certainly looks to support your pro-choice stance in which you have already given. I mean you even compared a fetus to a corpse. Certainly you can see the value of a seed vs a dead flower. This s a common argument heard from pro-choicers. Although maybe not as articulated as yours. Essentially attempting to devalue an embryo or fetus to support killing it. Even your definition of personhood seem to revolve around traits embryos and fetuses do not posses. Well IMHO human life, personhood or whatever you want to call it start from the second you or your spouse are expecting.
the_croftmeister
Posts: 678
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7/30/2013 7:18:08 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 7/30/2013 7:09:47 PM, Df0512 wrote:
I don't see what "inbetween" argument you are advancing but this certainly looks to support your pro-choice stance in which you have already given. I mean you even compared a fetus to a corpse. Certainly you can see the value of a seed vs a dead flower. This s a common argument heard from pro-choicers. Although maybe not as articulated as yours. Essentially attempting to devalue an embryo or fetus to support killing it. Even your definition of personhood seem to revolve around traits embryos and fetuses do not posses. Well IMHO human life, personhood or whatever you want to call it start from the second you or your spouse are expecting.
Way to completely ignore his stated intentions for this thread. He didn't advance any argument, perhaps we could take him at his word and engage at the level he asked?
Df0512
Posts: 966
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7/30/2013 7:29:15 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 7/30/2013 7:18:08 PM, the_croftmeister wrote:
At 7/30/2013 7:09:47 PM, Df0512 wrote:
I don't see what "inbetween" argument you are advancing but this certainly looks to support your pro-choice stance in which you have already given. I mean you even compared a fetus to a corpse. Certainly you can see the value of a seed vs a dead flower. This is a common argument heard from pro-choicers. Although maybe not as articulated as yours. Essentially attempting to devalue an embryo or fetus to support killing it. Even your definition of personhood seem to revolve around traits embryos and fetuses do not posses. Well IMHO human life, personhood or whatever you want to call it start from the second you or your spouse are expecting.
Way to completely ignore his stated intentions for this thread. He didn't advance any argument, perhaps we could take him at his word and engage at the level he asked?

Did I? I didn't mention anything about abortion laws. Which is what he asked us not to talk about. In fact I addressed the intended topic directly. Although not every little point like some do. The topic is full of bias. Maybe he wasn't intending to support pro-choice but the arguments certainly do. What else could I have replied with but my opinion.
the_croftmeister
Posts: 678
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7/30/2013 7:41:33 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 7/30/2013 7:29:15 PM, Df0512 wrote:
At 7/30/2013 7:18:08 PM, the_croftmeister wrote:
At 7/30/2013 7:09:47 PM, Df0512 wrote:
I don't see what "inbetween" argument you are advancing but this certainly looks to support your pro-choice stance in which you have already given. I mean you even compared a fetus to a corpse. Certainly you can see the value of a seed vs a dead flower. This is a common argument heard from pro-choicers. Although maybe not as articulated as yours. Essentially attempting to devalue an embryo or fetus to support killing it. Even your definition of personhood seem to revolve around traits embryos and fetuses do not posses. Well IMHO human life, personhood or whatever you want to call it start from the second you or your spouse are expecting.
Way to completely ignore his stated intentions for this thread. He didn't advance any argument, perhaps we could take him at his word and engage at the level he asked?

Did I? I didn't mention anything about abortion laws. Which is what he asked us not to talk about. In fact I addressed the intended topic directly. Although not every little point like some do. The topic is full of bias. Maybe he wasn't intending to support pro-choice but the arguments certainly do. What else could I have replied with but my opinion.

Well, if you think that, fair enough. I honestly didn't see any arguments in there. But if you interpreted his questions as rhetorical I can see how it might come across that way. He's coming from a pro-choice perspective, of course there will be bias. The questions he is asking will obviously be the ones that are relevant to his point of view, how else is he supposed to form a bridge between his knowledge and that of the pro-life crowd?
Df0512
Posts: 966
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7/30/2013 9:20:09 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 7/30/2013 7:41:33 PM, the_croftmeister wrote:
At 7/30/2013 7:29:15 PM, Df0512 wrote:
At 7/30/2013 7:18:08 PM, the_croftmeister wrote:
At 7/30/2013 7:09:47 PM, Df0512 wrote:
I don't see what "inbetween" argument you are advancing but this certainly looks to support your pro-choice stance in which you have already given. I mean you even compared a fetus to a corpse. Certainly you can see the value of a seed vs a dead flower. This is a common argument heard from pro-choicers. Although maybe not as articulated as yours. Essentially attempting to devalue an embryo or fetus to support killing it. Even your definition of personhood seem to revolve around traits embryos and fetuses do not posses. Well IMHO human life, personhood or whatever you want to call it start from the second you or your spouse are expecting.
Way to completely ignore his stated intentions for this thread. He didn't advance any argument, perhaps we could take him at his word and engage at the level he asked?

Did I? I didn't mention anything about abortion laws. Which is what he asked us not to talk about. In fact I addressed the intended topic directly. Although not every little point like some do. The topic is full of bias. Maybe he wasn't intending to support pro-choice but the arguments certainly do. What else could I have replied with but my opinion.

Well, if you think that, fair enough. I honestly didn't see any arguments in there. But if you interpreted his questions as rhetorical I can see how it might come across that way. He's coming from a pro-choice perspective, of course there will be bias. The questions he is asking will obviously be the ones that are relevant to his point of view, how else is he supposed to form a bridge between his knowledge and that of the pro-life crowd?

True, but it sounded as if he wasn't intending to come from a pro-life prospective. We would just be arguing pro-choice and pro-life but dancing around it at the same time.
Sidewalker
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7/31/2013 5:57:53 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 7/30/2013 2:38:22 PM, rockwater wrote:
I am not here to discuss what the laws should be regarding abortion or whether or not, regardless of the personhood or non-personhood of the fetus, a mother has a right to remove that fetus from her body at any time. I am only interested in discussing what the definition of a human person is, whether or not all human persons have the same right to life, and whether or not the government can define human personhood with respect to embryos and fetuses when many people are bound to disagree with whatever definition is made. I am not trying to advance a particular pro-life or pro-choice argument or something in between here.

If some embryos or fetuses are human lives (in terms of having a human genome) but not human persons, what right to life do they have? Is it greater, the same, or less than the right of other animals to life? (I would like to separate this from the consideration of the mother's right to remove a fetus from her body, so assume that a fetus can exist in some kind of artificial womb and its right to life can then be discussed).

When a person dies, their corpse is no longer a human person, but it still has to be legally treated with a certain amount of respect. Does an embryo or fetus have a right to a certain amount of respect in its treatment that is different from the respect accorded other animals in their treatment?

Bases for human personhood that I can think of are viability with no technological assistance, viability with technological assistance, brain activity, the ability to feel pain, the inability to split into two embryos or merge with another embryo (which is acquired at gastrulation), or mere existence as a separate life form from either of its parents. Can you suggest any others?

If you didn't want it to be about abortion, then why is the title "Abortion and Human Personhood"?
"It is one of the commonest of mistakes to consider that the limit of our power of perception is also the limit of all there is to perceive." " C. W. Leadbeater
rockwater
Posts: 273
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7/31/2013 10:45:40 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
Df - I think that the argument that human personhood and all the legal rights thereof begin at conception is definitely germane to this thread. It was one of the possible bases of personhood that I listed (existence as a human life separate from either parent).

Some people (not me) think that all discussion about the personhood or rights of an embryo or fetus are irrelevant because they claim a woman has an absolute right to remove any other living thing from her own body. I suggested thinking about a fetus in an artificial womb in order to not make this discussion about abortion rights. If technology allowed embryos to develop to viability outside of a woman's body, what would the discussion about the embryo/fetus's rights look like then? That is what I am trying to discuss.

As for my personal opinion, I think all human life beginning at conception has some amount of rights, but I am not sure if those rights are equal to that of all other human lives. I base my opinion on the importance of brain activity, but I know yet this leads to tough questions about situations like children born without a brain that I don't know how to answer. I also think that animals have perhaps more rights than the law currently gives them. As for the rights of embryos with no nervous system or brain activity - I am not sure whether it is less, equal to, or greater than the rights of animals with complex behavioral capabilities like chimpanzees and dolphins. I think, though, that human exceptionalism in terms of rights has compelling arguments (since we have very little idea what is really going in terms of consciousness in the brains of other animals).

Nervous system activity begins relatively early in pregnancy, but some time after conception and implantation. I apologize if I offended anyone with the comparison to a corpse - there is a key difference between a living human body and a dead one, considerations of human personhood aside. I do think though, that if we define the end of life based on neural activity, that it might have something to do with when life as a human person begins.

I am open to discussion about human personhood that precedes neural activity, and I may even agree with them, but I do not know what secular argument can be made for it based on premises that most people would agree with.

I am willing to let my opinions change based on scientific evidence or on ethical reasoning that I have yet to take into account.

Let's not get bogged down in a fight over abortion rights. I think that human personhood is a somewhat different topic and worth discussing.
wiploc
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7/31/2013 10:57:02 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 7/31/2013 7:12:03 AM, wordy wrote:
I've noticed that everyone who is for abortion is already born.~

I've noticed that everyone who is for abstinence or other forms of contraception is already conceived.
Df0512
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7/31/2013 11:35:53 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 7/31/2013 10:45:40 AM, rockwater wrote:
Df - I think that the argument that human personhood and all the legal rights thereof begin at conception is definitely germane to this thread. It was one of the possible bases of personhood that I listed (existence as a human life separate from either parent).

Some people (not me) think that all discussion about the personhood or rights of an embryo or fetus are irrelevant because they claim a woman has an absolute right to remove any other living thing from her own body. I suggested thinking about a fetus in an artificial womb in order to not make this discussion about abortion rights. If technology allowed embryos to develop to viability outside of a woman's body, what would the discussion about the embryo/fetus's rights look like then? That is what I am trying to discuss.

As for my personal opinion, I think all human life beginning at conception has some amount of rights, but I am not sure if those rights are equal to that of all other human lives. I base my opinion on the importance of brain activity, but I know yet this leads to tough questions about situations like children born without a brain that I don't know how to answer. I also think that animals have perhaps more rights than the law currently gives them. As for the rights of embryos with no nervous system or brain activity - I am not sure whether it is less, equal to, or greater than the rights of animals with complex behavioral capabilities like chimpanzees and dolphins. I think, though, that human exceptionalism in terms of rights has compelling arguments (since we have very little idea what is really going in terms of consciousness in the brains of other animals).

Nervous system activity begins relatively early in pregnancy, but some time after conception and implantation. I apologize if I offended anyone with the comparison to a corpse - there is a key difference between a living human body and a dead one, considerations of human personhood aside. I do think though, that if we define the end of life based on neural activity, that it might have something to do with when life as a human person begins.

I am open to discussion about human personhood that precedes neural activity, and I may even agree with them, but I do not know what secular argument can be made for it based on premises that most people would agree with.

I am willing to let my opinions change based on scientific evidence or on ethical reasoning that I have yet to take into account.

Let's not get bogged down in a fight over abortion rights. I think that human personhood is a somewhat different topic and worth discussing.

Thank you Rockwater. Many on this site would not have responded as admirable as you. You have my respecct. If that means anything these days.

I think all life deserves rights. Animals and all. That being said, nothing but a human can ever be born from a woman. So to me, the stage an embryo is at doesn"t really matter. If left alone, the embryo or fetus will grow into a fully functioning human. If aborted it will be nothing. However; an embryo an a artificial womb however, ehh who knows. By the time we find out how to successfully grow a human embryo artificially who knows what other things we will be capable of. The possibilities are just too great. Growing a human embryo outside of the natural realm of human capability (physically) may qualify that life as something else entirely. To me the life created would be something else. I"d say, that decision should be left to a committee of some sort. A committee made up of scientist and other qualified professionals. I"d be satisfied with what ever they decided. Quite interesting actually.