When does "life" begin?

When Does "Life" Begin?

  • Conception

  • Three Months

  • Six Months

  • Nine Months

  • Birth

  • Afterbirth (in the sense that it is sometime after birth)


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rmcrobertson

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1. I see that we are as yet incapable of producing any actual post in which I called anyone who wasn't Mussolini a "fascist," big or small, "f." That's your fantasy, not mine.

2. I see that we remain more interested in getting someone's, "goat," than in discussing issues.

3. Since I believe that the proofs and the weighing of evidences should be left to the parties immediately involved, there's no burden upon my side of the argument to produce any scientific evidence whatsoever.

4. It remains interesting that the idea of women's choice is immediately linked to infanticide, and to the general notion that women will behave irresponsibly and immorally. It remains interesting that the discourse emplaces men as the repositories of moral choice.

5. If, "human life," begins at conception, and anything that prevents human life is immoral, then any and all contraception or, "morning after," pill must preforce be immoral.

6. I can document a long history of right-wingers and Bible thumpers shooting doctors and nurses, blowing up clinics, harassing women, etc. I should like to see a comparable list for pro-choicers.

7. What I actually wrote was that men seem to be made anxious by women's choice, and do not seem willing to trust women to make moral and adult decisions.
 

Flatlander

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sgtmac_46 said:
Good answer on the viability question, although I would propose this counter: A child is reliant upon his mother for several years, and cannot live without assistance from it's mother or a surrogate, does that mean the child has less rights than the caregiver?
Oooh, nice riposte. Perhaps the answer lies in the fact that options become available. What I mean is that, whilst still in the womb and unviable outside of it, the fetus is necessarily reliant upon the mother. Once viable outside, any capable and willing person may fulfill the duty of surrogate. Given that we have no shortage of people willing to fulfill that duty, there are options presented, thus affording the baby the right to whichever option is deemed to be sufficient. Perhaps.
sgtmac_46 said:
Good answer. Though, I must reject the argument that because you are not a woman, you can't answer this moral question. I've never been a dictator or lived under one, but I don't have to in order to make a moral decision about dictators.
I agree, but only insofar as it is my right to make my own moral judgements. Each to their own when it comes to moral choices, as far as I'm concerned.
 

Tgace

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The "right to make my own moral judgements" argument begins and ends with the issue of where another human life begins and is subject to that decision.
 
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rmcrobertson

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1. I expect, then, to read no more posts asserting an absolute right to employ deadly force in self-defense, and asserting that no one who was not there when the decision had to be made has any right to criticize.

2. Actually, in law a minor child always has fewer, and far more-circumscribed, rights than any adult.

3. If we're still talking about abortion, the distinction to be made is that between a pretty-obvious case of human life (a five-year-old, say) and a pretty-obscure case of something that may or may not be taken as fully human.
 

arnisador

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There's a form of the Heap Paradox going on here, yes.

Take a five year old. It's a living human. What if it were a day younger? Yes. A day younger than that? Yes, still the same. But if you repeat this logic, at some point you get to the child's great-grandparents--an absurdity.
 

Tgace

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Is the child any different 1 hr prior to birth than it is 1 hr after?

Of course if we are going to equate abortion with lethal force encounters as "moral decisions" then we must be conceding that the fetus is a "human life" eh?
 

Tgace

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arnisador said:
There's a form of the Heap Paradox going on here, yes.

Take a five year old. It's a living human. What if it were a day younger? Yes. A day younger than that? Yes, still the same. But if you repeat this logic, at some point you get to the child's great-grandparents--an absurdity.
How is that possible? It goes back to conception where the "process" (if not life) of the 5 yo's formation began right?

While I would say the "Process" of human life begins at conception, I personaly wouldnt equate a 5 hr old ball of cells with a 2nd trimester fetus that has all the physical traits of a human being. I can understand some other persons stance otherwise, but Im not really against pre 1st trimester abortion and issues like stem cell research. Again I can understand the arguments against them but thats just where I fall on the issue.
 

arnisador

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Tgace said:
Is the child any different 1 hr prior to birth than it is 1 hr after?
Well, the chord has been cut, meaning it's no longer so dependent on the mother--anyone can care for the child then, and (leaving aside breastfeeding) it doesn't make demands on the woman's body as before. It changes the "her body, her choice" part of the abortion argument, certainly (not that anyone would support abortions an hour before birth, obviously).
 

Tgace

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arnisador said:
(not that anyone would support abortions an hour before birth, obviously).
And why is that, if it has no (apparent) right to life? Because at some point it becomes distastefull..which begs the question of why is that?

Ill ask the question again (few people want to answer it it seems). If a person were to kick that mother 1 hr prior to the fetus' birth is it murder or just assault on the mother?
 

sgtmac_46

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rmcrobertson said:
1. I expect, then, to read no more posts asserting an absolute right to employ deadly force in self-defense, and asserting that no one who was not there when the decision had to be made has any right to criticize.
Well, as in principles of law regarding self-defense, we are delving in to the question of what is and is not permissible. Unless you are suggesting that we should only make laws about things that have personally happened to us already.

rmcrobertson said:
2. Actually, in law a minor child always has fewer, and far more-circumscribed, rights than any adult.
Of course they do, the question is at what point do children become merely property, disposed of at the whim of their owner.

rmcrobertson said:
3. If we're still talking about abortion, the distinction to be made is that between a pretty-obvious case of human life (a five-year-old, say) and a pretty-obscure case of something that may or may not be taken as fully human.
The question is at what point does a fetus become a child. Do you have an answer?
 
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rmcrobertson

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Again the issue is one of choice, and the freedom of the individual to make choices--sorry to have brought up one of the basic tenets of democracy, and to suggest that women were as capable of men of making these choices wisely, based on their own perfectly-reasonable beliefs.

I brought up the issue of using deadly force because of the fact that several of the posters on this thread have elsewehere insisted upon the right of individuals and police officers to defend themselves using deadly force when necessary, and further insisted that this right (and, in the case of police officers, duty) should not be second-guessed by outsiders, especially those with a political agenda. I'm simply saying that women's decisions about reproduction should not be second-guessed by outsiders, especially those with a political and/or religious agenda.

My response to the demand for an impossible answer--exactly when, "a fetus," becomes, "a child--" is precisely what it has been all along: that because this cannot be settled on any objective basis but remains a philosophical and possibly religious question, the State (particularly a State that, as at present, is clearly dominated by political conservatives and Protestant fundamentalists) should be leaving this decision to the individuals directly involved.

A simpler question is this: why can't people simply leave the decision where it belongs, and trust their fellow citizens to make moral and intelligent choices?

My answer is that it's partly because control of reproduction is directly tied to men's power, both in terms of their literal physical control of women, and their sense of their own identity in the world. In this regard, men who want to remove this choice from women are the same all over the world: they suspect, quite rightly, that allowing full reproductive rights for women would radically change the way the world works. And they are...concerned, quite rightly, that their own identities and power would change at the same time.

I certainly understand that it is, for some, a simple matter of, "murdering babies." But a) it strikes me as odd that the same folks who worry over this are often completely unconcerned with the way kids gets killed and damaged all the time by this society, let alone in the world (the Catholic Church, increasingly, sees this rather differently) and b) the claim remains based on religious beliefs that deserve respect, but not hegemony.
 

arnisador

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Tgace said:
Ill ask the question again (few people want to answer it it seems). If a person were to kick that mother 1 hr prior to the fetus' birth is it murder or just assault on the mother?
It was answered thousands of years ago by the Greeks in a much more general form. Try this one: Suppose the age of consent in your state is set at 17 years. If you have sex with a girl an hour before she turns 17, you're a rapist; if you wait an hour, you're not.

Substitute drinking alcohol and being 21 years old if desired.
 
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raedyn

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I find it interesting that this debate is full of a bunch of men going back and forth on a topic that will never affect them personally as deeply & profoundly as it affects women*. The few times that women have popped in to make comments, the men in the discussion have completely ignored their contributions. Nice to know that you all value womens opinions on a (primarily) women's health topic. :rolleyes:

*I know that men are affected by it, and that they care about the topic, but it just isn't as intense and intimate for men as it is for women. Argue that if you want, but as much as my husband was involved in my pregnancy - as much as he could be! - it was still MY body. And until men can have uteruses, this will continue to be the reality.
 

Tgace

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"Nice to know that you all value womens opinions on a (primarily) women's health topic."

What if you believe its a "human life" topic? No offense meant but it sounds like.."Its not your busniess so shut up." Is there any issue where men can say that to women?
 
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raedyn

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Tgace said:
What if you believe its a "human life" topic? No offense meant but it sounds like.."Its not your busniess so shut up." Is there any issue where men can say that to women?
That's not what I said, and that's not what I meant.
Read my post again.
 
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rmcrobertson

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Sorry, but you need to include me out of the, "you all." I was specific, and repeatedly agreed.
 
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raedyn

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Tgace, I don't wish that men would "shut up" about the issue. But I did think it was interesting that in all these pages and pages of men talking about the issue, there was little in any attention paid to the contributions of the women on the thread.

I see your point about it being a human life topic. But go back and read my lengthy post in this thread (page 4, I think). What about the points I raised? It's not just about the fetus's potential human life. In my mind, it's also about the living breathing woman's life, and the permanent consequences this will have for her. I've seen a lot of comments arguing about the life which may or may not ever be born (about 15-20% of pregnancies end in miscarriage source) but little to no attention is being paid to the life of the woman. What about her life? her mental health? her quality of life? To me, that's just as important as the life that she is growing.
 

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When you have been enlightened by something or someone, when you discover some sort of enlightment or purpose in your life.
 

Tgace

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Regarding gender and this issue. Most polls I have found state there are more pro-life women than men....

http://www.washtimes.com/national/20030701-115636-9509r.htm
http://www.heartheissues.com/americanson-prochoiceprolife-g.html

Are Women More Pro-life?


There is little difference between men and women when it comes to attitudes toward abortion. At least that has been the prevailing view, although some researchers have found men to be slightly more pro-choice and women a shade more pro-life. Is there a difference in attitudes? If so, what explains it? Bradley R. Hertel and Mark C. Russell of Virginia Polytechnic Institute set out to answer these questions in Sociological Inquiry.

Hertel and Russell rehearse the common assumptions of those who examine this matter. Women should be more pro-choice because abortion is a "womens issue." This is countered by the assertion that women should be more pro-life because of their "special role in procreation...The greater nurturing role of women may encourage them to be prolife."

The authors used data from the combined General Social Surveys for 1972 through 1994; the aggregate sample was greater than 25,000. They found that within each of three categories of marital status (single, married, widowed), "men are more supportive of abortion rights under non-extreme circumstances [no endangered health, deformities, or rape] than women." Single men were far and away the most supportive. Women, conversely, were more prolife, and widowed women the most prolife of all. African-Americans are the most prolife racial group; whites are the most prochoice.

"[R]eligious identity was by far the strongest predictor of both prochoice and prolife" attitudes. Intra-Christian denominational differences were relatively slight; the greatest difference was found between Christians and non-Christians (Jews and those who claim no religious affiliation). "Thus," write the authors, "although cleavage among Christians has received a great deal of attention in both the popular and scholarly literature on the abortion debate, the divide appears to be much larger between Christians and non-Christians."

A previous group of researchers speculated that workforce participation explained the gender gap in abortion attitudes: "Women were significantly less supportive of abortion...this relationship is entirely due to less support among housewives." Hertel and Russell concur. When they controlled for differences in workforce participation, the gender gap disappeared. "[W]e came to conclude," they write, that sex differences "on abortion attitudes can only be accounted for by differences in work experiences...[W]hen work is controlled, married women are at least slightly more inclined to approve of abortion under both non-extreme and extreme conditions."

(Source: Bradley R. Hertel and Mark C. Russell, "Examining the Absence of a Gender Effect on Abortion Attitudes: Is There Really No Difference?" Sociological Inquiry, Vol. 69, No. 3 [August 1999]: 364-381.)
One would think that men, wanting out of unwanted fatherhood, child support etc. (as crass as it sounds) would fall on the more "pro-choice" side wouldnt you?
 

Tgace

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raedyn said:
Tgace, I don't wish that men would "shut up" about the issue. But I did think it was interesting that in all these pages and pages of men talking about the issue, there was little in any attention paid to the contributions of the women on the thread.
I think that if someone wants their "point known", they will make their point known. You believe that some female points were ignored, I believe its more because they werent participating enough. Note that I am talking to you because you are making a consistent contribution.

Ignoring or arguing with Robert doesn't stop him and he makes his points known and doesn't "expect" anybody to pay him attention. And while we obviously have our differences I have to say I respect him for that.
 

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