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Hi Peter,


The right of that germinated egg, as it is a human being, should be granted the same rights as other human beings, the mother among them. No, the unborn does not take precedence OVER the mother, but should be treated with the same respect and dignity.


Well that's the rub, isn't it Is a seed a human being? I don't believe it is. Nor do I believe that every seed is guaranteed a life. Pregnant women often miscarry and abort without outside intervention. And historically, a woman wanting an abortion is not, generally, treated with 'respect and dignity'; she is demonized and viewed as being 'unnatural'.


One person's right to live takes precedence over someone else's right to many other things.


Yes, it does. I just don't think the rights of a potential person should invalidate the rights of a realized person.


Jane, I know you maintain that nobody knows for sure when life begins, but to support abortion is to say that you, for one, know beyond a shadow of a doubt that it does not begin before birth.


You lost me on this one. How did you infer that? As far as I'm concerned life might exist before conception, let alone birth! A baby grows inside a womb. If a woman does not want to act as an incubator for that growth then I think she has the right to reject it. It is her body. If you want to characterize that as callous, cruel and murderous, that's your choice. My objection to 'pro-life' advocates is their insistence on demanding a woman use her body as they deem fit. It is not their body. Why should a complete stranger have control over how a woman treats her own body?


Yes, that's true, but wouldn't you agree that the law must at least limit personal freedom in cases where that freedom could infringe on someone else's fundamental human rights? Jane, I keep returning to the parallel with slavery for this reason. Anti slavery laws are necessary to prevent one person from forcing another person into slavery merely because he desires to, and is stronger.


Peter, isn't that exactly what you are trying to do? Force a woman to act as an incubator for a life; whether she wants to or not? Isn't that a form of slavery?


The government takes that choice away from the would-be slaver, by force if necessary, to protect the would-be slave, who we recognize as a human being deserving of the same rights as any other person


The same argument Is a seed a person? You say yes, I say, not quite. Not while it depends on the mother's body for it's existance. It is still part of the mother's body.


Yeah, it could happen, but so what? I'm not trying to be flippant, I just don't get your point there.


That is the point! It could happen. It could happen because one group could decide abortion is required of every woman whether she likes it or not. Is it really so difficult to understand why a woman would not want to be dictated to with regards to abortion? You understand that a person does not want to be forced into slavery. Is the leap so huge??
Under the current laws a woman can decide, for herself, whether to go through with a pregancy or halt it. She is the one who lives with consequences of that decision. If the law is changed to force women to see through every pregnancy; even if they don't want to, then the gov't is treating them as property not individuals.


[This message has been edited by Jane Griscti (edited August 02, 2001).]
 
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Originally posted by Shama Khan:

I can not imagine women not wanting kids. I do believe it's abnormal not to want kids. I think many do not want kids because the benefits of not having one (having a carefree life where you don't have to be RESPONSIBLE for another being and being able to live your life as planned) outweighs the (so called) disadvantages of having one.


It is such a harsh judgement to say that not wanting to have children is abnormal. I would never say that not wanting to eat meat is abnormal just because I can't fathom never wanting to eat meat myself. Why can't this be as simple as being a personal choice?
I don't want children of my own. Not that I never had desire to have them or that I don't lover children in general. But I strongly believe that one should have children only when one's desire to have them is as strong as one's conviction of one's own ability to be the best parent a child deserves. I have failed to see that ability in myself so I made a decision to not bring a child into this world. However, I do have enough love to give to other children whenever I'm able to. Isn't that good enough? Isn't that better than giving children life then neglect them or make them suffer to the point that their lives may as well not be?
If an adult is wise enough to realize ahead of time that having children will interfere with their other priorities and therefore decide not to have them, then this decision is not a disadvantage to the potential children. I'm surprised that you don't see it that way. What is wrong with a carefree lifestyle if it is not hurting anyone else, especially not at the risk of hurting children? How is it a selfish choice?


[This message has been edited by Ling Wu (edited August 02, 2001).]
 
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Originally posted by Ling Wu:
It is such a harsh judgement to say that not wanting to have children is abnormal


Correction guys, since we were all talking in context of a woman being pregnant. I meant that once a woman is pregnant I find it abnormal that she wouldn't want the baby - and I also said that if she doesn't want to be a mother, she should be responsible enough to carry it to term to give it away.
When I mentioned 'selfishness', that was in relation to aborting a baby rather than carrying it to term.
I was not making generalization - my words were specific to 'a woman being pregnant.'
As to woman being maternal. I didn't say that men are not sharing/caring etc. But I think science has proven that women and men are different. It's rather obvious that our plumbing is rather different - women's physiology includes a uterus to carry a baby and breasts to feed a baby. Now who would deny that. Don't you think our minds/emotions also get affected by the plumbing.
I think that makes sense (well at least to me!) I wouldn't call just women at large abnormal or selfish. Of course, there is a point in life or the whole life where one doesn't want a child. It's an individual decision that all should respect.
Shama

 
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Hello Jane!
Thanks for continuing on with me. Despite our disagreements, and even the fact that I probably annoy you to no end, I truly enjoy having this (mostly ) rational conversation on this subject with someone who has such a different point of view.
Is it really so difficult to understand why a woman would not want to be dictated to with regards to abortion? You understand that a person does not want to be forced into slavery. Is the leap so huge??
Under the current laws a woman can decide, for herself, whether to go through with a pregancy or halt it. She is the one who lives with consequences of that decision. If the law is changed to force women to see through every pregnancy; even if they don't want to, then the gov't is treating them as property not individuals.

When we talk about the slavery analogy, I cast the woman as the slaver (remember this is an analogy; this does not mean I equate pregnant women to slave masters) and the child as the slave, and the government as the government. You cast the government as the slaver and the mother as the slave, but the unborn child has no representation. I think that's how you are able to come to the conclusion you arrive at.
Jane, are you sincerely comfortable with the position that the mother's whim (remember, abortion is legal even for sex selection) is of greater value than the unborn child's life?
"Well that's the rub, isn't it. Is a seed a human being? I don't believe it is. Nor do I believe that every seed is guaranteed a life. ... Is a seed a person? You say yes, I say, not quite. Not while it depends on the mother's body for it's existance. It is still part of the mother's body."
Any time after the origin of a new human life at the moment of conception, the developing person is no longer analagous to a seed, if it ever was. Really, by the nature of the union of a sperm and egg, human life has a very neat beginning. Neither the egg or the sperm left to itself will ever be more than just a sperm or an egg, no matter the conditions. Once they have united, "the zygote is its own entity, genetically distinct from both mother and father. The newly conceived individual possesses all the necessary information for a self-directed development and will proceed to grow in the usual human fashion, given time and nourishment. It is simply untrue that the unborn child is merely 'part of the mother's body.' In addition to being genetically distinct from the time of conception, the unborn possesses separate circulatory, nervous, and edocrine systems." (John Davis, quoted by Alcorn) Unless something happens to stop its development, that human will naturally proceed through the continuum of human life all the way until that person's last day. Dr. Nathanson calls this the "vector of life." Even in 1974, when he was still performing abortions, he wrote:
"Life is an interdependent phenomenon for all of us. It is a continuous spectrum which begins in utero and ends in death -- the bands of the spectrum are designated by words such as fetus, infant, child, adolescent, and adult. We must courageously face the fact -- finally -- that human life of a special order is being taken [in the process of abortion], and since the vast majority of pregnancies are carried successfully to term, abortion must be seen as the interruption of a process which would otherwise have produced a citizen of the world. Denial of this reality is the crassest kind of moral evasion."
So, Jane, like you no doubt expect me to, I will defend that human life, by whatever name it is called (embryo through senior citizen) just the same as I would any other person.
"Pregnant women often miscarry and abort without outside intervention."
To suggest that the high rate of natural miscarriage is justification to kill those who don't miscarry, is to suggest that a high natural mortality rate among a population allows us to justify killing other members of that population. For instance, we could look at big city ghetto, with lots of gang violence, and say "many of these young men will die young left to themselves; what's the harm of us killing a few more?"
"I just don't think the rights of a potential person should invalidate the rights of a realized person."
What, precisely, is the difference between a "potential person" and a "realized person?" It seems that to merely say "birth" would suggest that the answer is arbitrary, and this critical demarcation cannot actually be defined with precision. That's a scary thought, given that it makes all the difference between being granted human rights and not being granted human rights. Is it possible that some of us don't meet the requirements of "personhood" for days, months, or even years after birth?
"You lost me on this one. How did you infer that? As far as I'm concerned life might exist before conception, let alone birth!"
At the time, I was assuming you would not condone the taking of what you perceived to be human life.
"If you want to characterize that as callous, cruel and murderous, that's your choice.
Seriously, Jane, it's not my intent to come across that way. If I thought that would be effective (ie, save lives of babies who would otherwise be aborted) I would do it. But I don't think that's the way to change minds and hearts.
Early feminist Susan B. Anthony, however, did not mince words: "I deplore the horrible crime of child murder. No matter what the motive - love of ease, or a desire the save from suffering the unborn innocent - the woman is awfully guilty who commits the deed."
"Why should a complete stranger have control over how a woman treats her own body?"
For the same reason that a complete stranger should have control over how a woman drives her car. When a woman is pregnant, the way she treats her own body can have life and death implications for the person inside her.
"And historically, a woman wanting an abortion is not, generally, treated with 'respect and dignity'; she is demonized and viewed as being 'unnatural'."
To the extent that this is true, shame on all of us. I don't believe that women really want to kill their unborn children; what they want is to escape from the situation they are in. I absolutely do not mean that as any criticism of women. It's a natural reaction to the trauma of an unwanted pregnancy. I don't ever want to belittle that.
My passion and deep concern is not only for the unborn victims of abortion, but their mothers as well. I think crisis pregnancy centers are one of the most important and effective ways to address the problem (which is why I volunteer for one). By meeting these hurting women, and presenting them non-violent options, we give them something they may not find any other place. So many women hear only the voice that will lead to the death of their unborn child. Many of them have no idea what they are being sold when they pay for an abortion. George Grant, in his book, Grand Illusions: The Legacy of Planned Parenthood, refers to surveys which reveal that "over 90 percent of those encouraged to abort by their Planned Parenthood counselor said 'there was a strong chance' they would have chosen against the abortion if they 'had not been so strongly encouraged to abort.'"
A friend of mine, Elizabeth Verchio, aborted her first child and has never been able to conceive again. Infertility is one of several possible complications from abortion. As a result of her own heartbreaking experience, Elizabeth founded Victims of Choice, an organization which provides post-abortion counseling to women all over the country.
There is no greater tragedy in America than the way abortion on demand has turned women against their own children in circumstances where the real enemy is the lack of love and support for the woman and her child.
"A baby grows inside a womb. If a woman does not want to act as an incubator for that growth then I think she has the right to reject it. It is her body."
Well, the "incubator" part is her body, but the baby's body is not her (the mother's) body.
As for giving the woman the right to reject it... bear with me, I have something of a proposal and I'd just like to hear what you think about this.
Jane, I don't know what you thought about the matter of fetal surgery that I posted last night. My point, of course, is not to talk about modern medicine, but rather to support my case that the unborn is not so unlike the rest of us. The fact is, a child removed from the womb at 20 weeks, with the best of medical care, has a fighting chance to survive. But if a woman is 20 weeks pregnant and doesn't want to be, it is legal to literally cut apart the unanesthetized child and pull it out in pieces, or to inject lethal toxins directly into the fetal heart to ensure death, or even to reach inside, pull out the feet and body, puncture the head and suck out the brain before the head emerges. Yet if all the woman wants is not to be pregnant, and not to have a child, why not just remove the baby intact and give him or her a chance to continue living? That's my question for you tonight.
[This message has been edited by Peter Lyons (edited August 02, 2001).]
[This message has been edited by Peter Lyons (edited August 03, 2001).]
[This message has been edited by Peter Lyons (edited August 03, 2001).]
 
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Originally posted by Peter Lyons:
Despite our disagreements, and even the fact that I probably annoy you to no end, I truly enjoy having this (mostly) rational conversation on this subject with someone who has such a different point of view.


Yes, this is an amazingly polite thread. Probably a unique case for MD! Compare to this: http://www.javaranch.com/ubb/Forum32/HTML/000858.html

Peter, thanks for your postings. I do not agree with you, but now I can understand those who holds your point of view much better. I even sympathize your arguments. Now I should go and try to figure out how can I disagree with your arguments and sympatize them at the same time

 
Jane Griscti
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Hi Peter,


Yet if all the woman wants is not to be pregnant, and not to have a child, why not just remove the baby intact and give him or her a chance to continue living? That's my question for you tonight.


How very odd I was thinking the same thing myself last night; what would be an optimum solution? With all this technology it would be ideal if a woman who did not want to bear a child could have it removed without harm to either herself or the egg.
Perhaps, in the end, our beliefs are not so far apart, just approached from different poles
 
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Just for the record, there are no facts of science. There are inductions and deductions many scientists have gathered and many people accept, but no facts.
 
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This is a very interesting subject. Throughout the posts everyone refers to "life" without really defining what they really view the definition of life is. I am interested in what each person's interpretation of life is.
some definitions taken from http://www.dictionary.com/cgi-bin/dict.pl?term=life
"The property or quality that distinguishes living organisms from dead organisms and inanimate matter, manifested in functions such as metabolism, growth, reproduction, and response to stimuli or adaptation to the environment originating from within the organism. "
"The interval of time between birth and death"
"A spiritual state regarded as a transcending of corporeal death. "
"The union of the soul and body; also, the duration of their union; sometimes, the deathless quality or existence of the soul; as, man is a creature having an immortal life"
I also want to know what you think distinguishes the "life" of a human from the "life" of all other living creatures?
Great debate all,
Jamie
 
Conrad Kirby
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Well, the definition of life the universe and everything is obviously 42 (as calculated by Deep Thought, the most powerful and intelligent computer in the unvierse - at least for a period of time)
 
Mapraputa Is
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Yet if all the woman wants is not to be pregnant, and not to have a child, why not just remove the baby intact and give him or her a chance to continue living?
You, guys, found an effective way to stop abortions. If this is the only alternative to "natural" birth, then I wonder how many woman would agree on this conditions. To live knowing that my child lives ... who knows where and who knows how... That would drive me crazy until end of my days. I believe most woman would prefer to become mothers.
 
Peter Lyons
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Wow... everyone here seems so happy right now I hesitate to even say anything for fear of wrecking it!
As for you Jamie -
Sure, just go ahead and drop in with a stinker of a question like that! Let me sleep on it. My brain hurts.
"To live knowing that my child lives ... who knows where and who knows how... That would drive me crazy until end of my days. I believe most woman would prefer to become mothers.
Mapraputa,
Actually, I'd like to come back to this comment and say even more about it later, because I think it's important, but for the time being it makes me reflect on my own adoption.
Like I mentioned earlier, I am adopted myself. I don't know anything about my birth mother, and I suspect she knows about the same about me (I would think she at least saw me or held me for some brief time before we parted, but that's only speculation.) Having kids of my own, and having seen them born, I know the emotion of that time and it's hard for me to imagine how difficult it must be to carry an "unwanted" child to term, only to give up that child. I'm pretty sure at that moment the child isn't so "unwanted", after all. I have heard people say "Give up my child? I couldn't do that! I would have an abortion." So, for every one like me, there are another 30 who die quietly in the womb. What a tragic misunderstanding!!! I just cannot understand how adoption got such a bad name, and why so many women relate it to abandoning their child. Let me tell you all, what my birth mother did for me is the most unselfish and beautiful thing that a woman could do for a child she knows she is unable to raise. When we had our second son baptized a couple months ago, I had a couple of minutes with the microphone, and I used it to pay tribute to my birth mother, and also to the parents who adopted me. It choked me up. I told the congregation, among other things, "you are looking at four people who would not be standing here today if it weren't for the courage of that one woman."
I'll tell you a related story and run the risk of sounding like one of those fake, sappy, "send this to 10 friends" e-mail letters. Most of you who grew up in the U.S. in the 70's or 80's probably have heard of the nationwide "Casey Casem's top 40 countdown" broadcast. Well, my sister was listening, and to this day she swears he played a "long-distance dedication" from a mother who had given up her child for adoption on August 23, 1969... my birthday... and he was just turning 18, as I was. The song was "Somewhere Out There" by Linda Ronstadt and Aaron Neville. So now, on the rare occasion when I catch that song on the radio, you know I always think of my birth mom. And I love her.
 
Shama Khan
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Thanks for the story. Very uplifting.
Shama
 
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There are a few points I'd like to make.
Jane said:
Under the current laws a woman can decide, for herself, whether to go through with a pregancy or halt it.
If you look at http://www.cbctrust.com/abortion.html#61 under United States (thats where I live -- I can't speak for other people) you can see many interesting things, among them that the freedom to abort was diminishing quickly before Clinton. Now the newer Bush (not disscussed in the web page) is trying to end abortion again. There are laws which make it impractical for someone without a healthy supply of time and money to get an abortion. You have to get several consultations from doctors and stay in the hostpital a certain amount of time so that many are driven away.
For Peter:
Your argument is "Stated simply, human life begins at the moment of conception." For clarity I will refer to a 'person' as someone who has a right to live and a human as an organism of the species homo sapiens.
The question becomes, "Is being a human the only qualification for being a person?" Peter is saying that you are a person even when you are only one cell. I just don't understand this view. I know it is the one adopted by the Church, so maybe that's where he got it. While I'm raising religious issues anyway, I'll note that in Judaism a fetus is not a person until crowning. It has a right to live at that point in time. Before then, a pregnancy can be terminiated without being murder. I agree with this. Hell, the fetus could be said (but I wouldn't say) to be a growth on the mother -- it takes from her food and oxygen and such. As a side note, when you see a cute little body in front of you, it would be much more difficult for a you to terminate its life in good conscience. Since it is impossible to mark a particular moment when a human becomes a person (or a person is ready to drive or drink), the birth moment makes a fine checkpoint.
Another point I'd like to make is about the old saying, "ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny." This is something from the theory of evolution about how the development of fetuses sort of reenacts the evolutionary chain. At one point in development, for example, we have gills. You could say that we are people once we finish that show (but I won't say it).
Even if you are of the human species (and therefore in the eyes of many, infinately better and more important than any other thing non-human), when your age is negative, you're just counting up the seconds until you qualify as a legal (and I belive, moral) person.
[This message has been edited by David Garland (edited August 08, 2001).]
 
Peter Lyons
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Hi Jamie, David, others...
Jamie, I didn't forget your question... I just put it off a long time!
and David, I'll address some of your points as well.
In this forum I have been speaking in defense of human life, particularly to argue that all human life should be treated equally, regardless of age, sex, level of dependence, etc. To avoid slippery subjective definitions, I have tried to stick with a plain biological definition of life, which is well-stated by the first definition you found: "The property or quality that distinguishes living organisms from dead organisms and inanimate matter, manifested in functions such as metabolism, growth, reproduction, and response to stimuli or adaptation to the environment originating from within the organism."
Biologically, human life has a very clear point of beginning. In the words of Dr. LeJeune, professor of genetics at the University of Descartes in Paris: "Each individual has a very neat beginning, at conception. ... after fertilization has taken place a new human being has come into being. [This] is no longer a matter of taste or opinion... [and is] not a metaphysical contention; it is plain experimental evidence." (as quoted by Randy Alcorn)
Some people who defend the viewpoint that abortion is a woman's right will argue in favor of subjective definitions of life. This includes people like yourself, David, who believe that the right to life only rightly belongs to a "person." Unfortunately, while there is tremendous concensus on the matter of when human life begins, there is no such concensus on when a human becomes a "person." Dr. J.C. Willke writes: "Person" is defined in our dictionary in 14 different ways. Yellowstone Park is a person. So is General Motors. So are you. But the Supreme Court of the U.S in 1857 ruled that black people were not persons, and in 1973 that unborn people were not persons." Dr. Nathanson discusses the point at greater length:
"(quoting philosopher Bonnie Steinbok)'Only beings with interests can have claims against moral agents. Interests are compounded out of beliefs, aims, goals, concerns. Biological life alone does not endow a being with interests. Permanently non-sentient non-conscious beings cannot have interests. Without interests, they cannot have moral status.'
(Nathanson writing) There are serious flaws, however, in defining moral status as requiring possession of interests and conscious awareness. The basic flaw is that there is no general agreement on what conscious awareness is. As Alisdair McIntyre might put it: Whose consciousness? Which awareness?
One notion implicit and sometimes explicit in the consciousness theory is that it requires some conscious person to be conscious of another person's consciousness: Practically speaking, only those who possess conscious awareness are qualified to bestow that state on some other being, like a monarch bestowing a knighthood by tapping the supplicant lightly on the shoulder with a sword. As recently as the mid sixties, American blacks were deemed unfit to be received as fully qualified members of country clubs, fraternities, or professional organizations -- they were deemed unfit by those who deemed themselves fit. But who deemed the 'deemers' fit?
...
The pro-life community doesn't get bogged down in esoteric [drivel] on what constitutes personhood and the question of whether conscious awareness is necessary for personhood. The pro-life community states very simply that we are all human beings and that no one quality can be depended upon to confer 'personhood' upon us based on physical or mental attributes or skills. Needless to say not everyone is so generous in the bestowal of the right to life. Philosopher Michael Tooley, for example, has constructed a list of fourteen attributes he believes necessary before the mantle of "personhood" should be bestowed. They are
[1]the capacity to experience pleasure/pain
[2]the capacity for having desires
[3]the capacity to remember past events
[4]the capacity for having expectations with respect to future events
[5]the awareness of passage of time
[6]the property of being a continuing conscious self... constructed in a minimal way, as nothing more than a construct of appropriately related mental states
[7]the property of being a continuing conscious self, construed as a pure ego
[8]the capacity for self-consciousness
[9]the property of having mental states that involve propositional attitudes such as beliefs and desires
[10]the capacity of having thought episodes
[11]the capacity for reasoning
[12]problem solving ability
[13]the capacity for using language
[14]and the ability to interact with others."
I strongly disagree with using subjective definitions to assign relative values to different human lives. I don't want someone else to determine whether or not I should be permitted to live, nor do I trust anyone making that judgement on another human being. Is a profoundly retarded child less worthy of life than some smart computer programmer? Is a 24 week fetus inside its mother less worthy than a preemie born at 24 weeks? I am convinced not.
David, as for your assertion that "in Judaism a fetus is not a person until crowning." Call me a skeptic. I've never heard that before. Can you reference a source? If that's truly the case, I'll have plenty to say about it.
"Gills?" Well, despite appearances, whatever looks like gills is not gills, but even if the fetus has gills at some point, that does not make him or her anything other than human. This whole fish theme reminds me of Mary Tyler Moore, who in testifying before congress on the matter of embryonic stem cell research (guess where I stand on that) stated something like "we're talking about something that looks about as much like a person as a goldfish." In fact, whatever it looks like to Ms. Moore, every one of us looked just like that "goldfish-like" thing at that age. In fact, that is EXACTLY what a human being looks like at that stage of development. My 3-month-old son doesn't look much like his grandpa, either, and if "looking like grandpa" were to become a measure of humanity, who should be permitted to judge whether or not young Thomas makes the cut?
On the matter of my personal religious belief:
I am a Christian and I believe we are created in the image of God. I believe in the sanctity of human life. If, instead, I believed that we are mere biology, not beings with eternal souls, then I guess all that's left is natural law; "survival of the fittest." (something to say on Jamie's animal question here...) Many fish eat each other. Why shouldn't we eat other people? Nobody says "bad fish! you ate that other fish!" or "I wonder if the fish feels guilty about eating that other fish?" or even "isn't it sad fish don't know better than to eat each other?" If we are animals like other animals, what would be wrong with us eating each other or even eating our babies with the same impunity as wild animals? If we really are nothing more than physical, evolved organisms, as opposed to beings created by God, what is the ultimate foundation for any moral code at all? I'm just going to leave it at that. Someone who's an evolutionist and atheist and nonetheless feels like life has a purpose can tell me about it.
I sound kinda fiesty tonight. I intend no disprespect to anyone (David) or their beliefs, and I'm glad to have the opportunity to discuss this issue.
 
David Weitzman
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To Peter:
David, as for your assertion that "in Judaism a fetus is not a person until crowning." Call me a skeptic. I've never heard that before. Can you reference a source? If that's truly the case, I'll have plenty to say about it.
First of all I'd like to note that when I speak of Judaism I mean Reform Judiasm. I don't have enough experience with the other branches to speak for them (but in the United States the vast majority of Jews are reform).
I tried to find that on the internet somewhere, but the religious internet goes to the evangelical religions, so I can't seem to find the words crowning and abortion in the same page meaningfully that represent Judaism. I'm going to ask my rabbi, but until then I'll point you to the UAHC.
If we are animals like other animals, what would be wrong with us eating each other or even eating our babies with the same impunity as wild animals?
Many animals hunt in packs, and I off the top of my head I can't think of any canibalistic one. So too do humans work together to achieve the greater happiness. Knowing that there will be medical care and luxury hotels when you want them is generally considered more useful than eating human flesh.
In fact, that is EXACTLY what a human being looks like at that stage of development
Yes. And just as a chef can't give me unopened eggs and cheese and call it an omlet, a pile of human DNA does not make a person. Sure, if you put the egg on a hot surface it will probably turn into an omlet -- but that does not make it an omlet.
I strongly disagree with using subjective definitions to assign relative values to different human lives
That is why I use a definition -- when you reach age 0. I am not comparing anything here, just making a statement. In fact, I am making all fetuses equal -- you should like that. I am not saying who is worthy of life (that's another day), I am speaking of who has the unalienable right to not be terminated. When you have a birth certificate you gain the rights and responsibilities of citizenship, and not bloody well until.
Some people who defend the viewpoint that abortion is a woman's right will argue in favor of subjective definitions of life. This includes people like yourself, David, who believe that the right to life only rightly belongs to a "person."
I do not dispute the definition of life. A fetus is living tissue. What I dispute is the rights of living tissue. Does my kidney have the right not to be removed if it is infected?
 
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Originally posted by Peter Lyons:
Looks like everyone is kinda burned out on the heavy stuff; I don't blame you. If you're up for it, here's another. http://www.house.gov/judiciary/stanek_071201.htm
The hospital is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.



Disgusting. How anyone could contemplate this is beyond me. I wonder what the psychological trauma to the woman is?
 
Peter Lyons
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"I wonder what the psychological trauma to the woman is?"
...or to the man...
"A nurse coworker told me about an abortion she was involved in where the baby was supposed to have spina bifida but was born with an intact spine. She said that what actually happened was that there was an incompletely formed twin who appeared as a mass on his brother's back during an ultrasound. The nurse told me that the father came into the Soiled Utility Room to see his son, took one look and saw that he had been involved in aborting his completely healthy baby, and turned and left the room without saying a word."
As much as I oppose what that man participated in, I hope he gets the help he needs. How could he NOT need help?
Fatherhood Aborted
 
Peter Lyons
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Goooood Evening Everyone...
I have a few comments to submit to our ongoing conversation -
"the Talmud [describes] the notion that an abortion should be performed only for the sake of the life of the mother, and even as late as the moment before the head of a baby emerges from the birth canal." (from the internet link)
Okay, that's not such an extreme position. All pro-lifers that I know of would allow a concession in the case that the mother's physical life is in grave danger... see post 22 on page 1 for my earlier comments on this. According to Dr. J.C. Willke, who I spoke with in person, a mother's life is very rarely in genuine danger due to her pregnancy, and doctors would be unlikely to make more than 3 or 4 cases a year for a medically necessary abortion. On the other hand, Colorado abortionist Warren Hern has testified "I will certify that any pregnancy is a threat to a woman's life and could cause grievous injury to her health." So really, an exception for the life of the mother is unlikely to diminish the numbers much, despite the fact that genuine cases are exceedingly rare.
Let me address, in particular, partial birth abortion (basically the modern equivalent of aborting the child just before the head crowns, except that the entire body except the head is outside the mother during PBA) In 1987, the American Medical Association supported the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act (ultimately vetoed -twice- by Clinton) calling it "a procedure we all agree is not good medicine." Try to imagine under what circumstances the life of the mother would be in real jeopardy delivering a child, but where her life could be spared by killing the child the moment before the head crowns (becomes visible in the birth canal). Former President Bill Clinton, as he vetoed one of the two partial birth abortion ban sent to him by congress, referred to women whose bodies would be literally torn apart (I couldn't find the quote so I'm not quoting... consider it a paraphrase) if this procedure were not available. WHAT A LIAR! The man was spouting utter nonsense! In what way is delivering a baby with it's brain sucked out easier than delivering a living baby?
(continuing the earlier quoted internet link provided by David)"Reform goes beyond this narrowly defined period and gives sanction to its members (and all others for that matter) to elect to terminate a pregnancy when confronting other circumstances: as a result of rape or incest; when through genetic testing, it is determined that the child to be born will have a disease that will cause death or severe disability, and the parents believe that the impending birth will be an impossible situation for them; and other circumstances.
The Reform perspective on abortion can be described as follows: Abortion is an extremely difficult choice faced by a woman. In all circumstances, it should be her decision whether or not to terminate a pregnancy, backed up by those whom she trusts (physician, therapist, partner, etc.). This decision should not be taken lightly (abortion should never be used for birth control purposes) and can have life-long ramifications. However, any decision should be left up to the woman within whose body the fetus is growing."
(from the internet link)
Given this position statement, I stand solidly opposed to the views put forward by Reformed Judaism, just as I stand opposed to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (the denomination in which I was raised), which supports the practice of abortion, even to the extent that they will let a born child die, as detailed in the testimony I posted in the first message in this thread.
In recent news, the three largest denominations in the U.S; the Roman Catholic Church, the United Methodist Church, and the Southern Baptist Convention, have all come out against embryonic stem cell research. I find that ironic, given that the United Methodist Church (www.umc.org) is pro-abortion except for "birth control" and sex selection. (much the same, apparently, as the Reformed Jews) Nonetheless, I'll stand with them when possible and stand apart from them when I have to.
Let me address one statement from this earlier quote in particular: "Abortion is an extremely difficult choice faced by a woman."
If the unborn child is a human being (and it is), the difficulty of the choice to kill it is of no consequence whatsoever. A woman should be able to have an abortion for all the same reasons that she can legally kill her 5-year-old child. If a mother agonizes and weeps and seeks counseling and prays and talks to her spiritual counselor and husband and then makes the difficult decison that her 5-year-old must die, do we then say "that must have been a really difficult choice - our hearts go out to you?" No, we grieve for the innocent child, and the mother goes to jail! I am not proposing that women who have abortions go to jail (as the mother, under current law, has done nothing illegal), but I'm trying to put the moral significance of the life of the forgotten unborn child back into perspective.
"Many animals hunt in packs, and I off the top of my head I can't think of any canibalistic one. So too do humans work together to achieve the greater happiness. Knowing that there will be medical care and luxury hotels when you want them is generally considered more useful than eating human flesh."
I'm no expert on animals, but I know I've heard of male seahorses eating their young. I've also talked to farmers who say they need to watch the sow pigs - they'll do the same. I've also heard of frenzied sharks devouring an injured shark among themselves. BTW I'm not talking about eating people for pleasure... just for nutrition. Why not? If we're merely animals, do we need to heed anyone's rules?
"humans work together to achieve the greater happiness."
That sounds a lot like Peter Singer. Did you read that post? (3rd from the bottom on page 1) Does that sound "happy" to you? Does killing a fetus or even a young child sound like "working together to achieve greater happiness?" He has earned a name for himself with just that kind of logic. Singer is a professor at Princeton University.
"when you reach age 0 [you have] the unalienable right to not be terminated... when you have a birth certificate you gain the rights and responsibilities of citizenship, and not bloody well until."
Birthdays are a cultural observation, and while we do count age from that moment, we are merely marking an anniversary of a person's visible entry into the world, not the anniversary of the beginning of their life (the precise date of that event is usually up for some speculation). To use birth as a marker of passage from the lack of "personhood" into "personhood" seems very arbitrary. What's so significant about a child's location inside or outside the mother that you would have birth take on such critical (life vs. death) significance?
"a pile of human DNA does not make a person."
No, just as a pile of airplane parts doesn't make an airplane. With an intelligent mind and body to control the process, however, those parts can be assembled into an airplane; something far beyond what any random collection of those same parts would ever amount to. In the same sense, an embryo or fetus is not merely a "pile of human DNA" but rather, an unfathomably complex living human being.
"I am making all fetuses equal -- you should like that."
Please. The fact that all fetuses are universally denied the right to life is despicable. Incidentally, it has not been my contention that fetuses should all be made equal. They already are. Both wanted and unwanted, healthy and handicapped fetuses enjoy all the same rights and privileges in most states -- none at all. I am arguing that fetuses should be treated as your equal and my equal.
"I do not dispute the definition of life. A fetus is living tissue. What I dispute is the rights of living tissue. Does my kidney have the right not to be removed if it is infected?"
Live human tissue is not the same as a live human being. A human being is made up of many living parts, but that doesn't make any one part a human being any more than a part of an airplane is an airplane. However, to remove that one part is to effectively end the life of that human being. That's why Senator Orrin Hatch's statement that "after a long period of study and prayer, I found that [stem] cells are not full human beings" (and therefore can be justifiably used in research) is so blatantly stupid and shamefully ignorant for a man with his position and influence that I wonder if he researched the matter at all. Of course a stem cell is not a human being! That's the same as saying your heart is not a human being! But let me assure you, you will surely die if someone "harvests" your heart, just the same as a living, growing human embryo (a whole human life; a human individual) will surely die if scientists "harvest" his or her stem cells.
Senator Hatch has a pro-life voting history, but now I wonder... why? If not because the embro is a human being deserving of human rights, then why? Why does he make statements trying to "spin" the destruction of embryos in such a way that he would have us believe it is a matter of no moral gravity? Hatch even made the irreverent comment �human life begins in the mother�s womb, not in a petri dish or a refrigerator.� Suggesting, I suppose, that it's only life if it's implanted, and the remainder are for us to consume as we please. Mr. Hatch, you should be ashamed of yourself.
[This message has been edited by Peter Lyons (edited August 09, 2001).]
[This message has been edited by Peter Lyons (edited August 09, 2001).]
 
David Weitzman
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I'd like to start by correcting Peter's misquote of me:
You quoted my "humans work together to achieve the greater happiness."
And responded: That sounds a lot like Peter Singer. Did you read that post? (3rd from the bottom on page 1) Does that sound "happy" to you? Does killing a fetus or even a young child sound like "working together to achieve greater happiness?" He has earned a name for himself with just that kind of logic. Singer is a professor at Princeton University.
When I said that, I was in turn responding you something you said earlier: If we are animals like other animals, what would be wrong with us eating each other or even eating our babies with the same impunity as wild animals?
First of all I'd like to make it clear that we are indeed animals. Just as you like to assure us that science does not deny that stopping the life of a fetus is killing a human, I will make the equally meaningless statement we are animals in the same sense than anything comprised of animal cells is. However this is not constructive debate so I'll stop it at that.
Anyway, in that context I was explaining why we shouldn't eat each other -- because we're all better off if we don't. There are plenty of foods to eat besides humans. If I was stranded on a desert island and my buddie died, I would (try very hard) to eat him, but otherwise I would rather just enjoy his company. "Why not kill someone you don't like then?" you might ask. Again, there are better options, but also because that person has buddies who would then come and eat you. Since you don't want to be eaten, don't eat others -- its the 'golden rule' again.
I will quote your quote of Alcorn's quote of Peter Singer and address my view on it: "When the death of a disabled infant will lead to the birth of another infant with better prospects of a happy life, the total amount of happiness will be greater if the disabled infant is killed. The loss of happy life for the first infant is outweighed by the gain of a happier life for the second. Therefore, if killing the hemophiliac infant has no adverse effect on others, it would, according to the total view, be right to kill him."
I am assuming that by 'infant' Singer refers to a child that has been born. In such a case, you should not kill the infant. If a child has been born and it is unwanted, putting it up for adoption is the best choice. When the world is dangerously crowded it may be necessary to terminate illegaly born infants, but I hope that people won't test the limits of population control measures and make that necessary. On the other hand, if you discover that your future baby would be born without an arm, I think you should terminate the pregnancy. The disabled child will cause a lifetime of unhappiness over that in the parents and children.
I will note, however, that killing a fetus can be benificial even outside the context of a life threat to the mother or a life altering defect in the child. Here is just one example (and it is impossible to forsee all the situations that would benifit from abortion): What if a relationship terminated a short time after after a pregnancy begins for a couple with two children and a father who doesn't want to take care of them and will likely try to escape the payments he owes her? I would not want more children if I found myself a single mother. Adoption would be an option, but the mother would probably be better off with a job instead of an unwanted baby, so she could feed her other two children. What would you say to this mother? What if the mother intended to give it to adoption but fell prey to motherly love and kept it -- another mouth to feed? Abortion is not an issue to be taken lightly or used as birth control, but it should still be an option.
A woman should be able to have an abortion for all the same reasons that she can legally kill her 5-year-old child. [and so on]
You continuously compare the terminating of a pregnancy to the murder of people who have been in the world for a while. Before you are born, you have no connections to other people. Your parents are the only people who have a connection with you, and even that isn't the same as love for a child. If parents are able to get over that connection, than the fetus has nothing to live for. A child in the world, however, has been seen and held and loved by other people, and it in turn gains a connection to society -- you shouldn't break that. You might point out studies that show unborn babies can identify the voice of their mother, but this does not make a connection. I like the toaster I use and prefer it to other ones, but I could make do without it. I cannot feel emotions toward my toaster, or communicate. Connections are formed after birth. For those people without family or friends, there is the connection from a whole society of empathetic and friendly people who follow the golden rule. If I choose any random embryo, can you tell me who cares for it and who it cares for? If it is alone and doesn't even have its own musings or books or whatever to keep it company, it is not living in the sense that we live.
[This message has been edited by David Garland (edited August 10, 2001).]
 
Peter Lyons
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David,
Well, I have to at least compliment you that you make your point clearly. I think I understand your reasoning and perspective, although I don't agree. I'd like to address some of the points you've made.
"this is not constructive debate so I'll stop it at that."
okay... I'll just part with the whole cannibalism argument! ... I probably went too far off on a tangent there!
"If a child has been born and it is unwanted, putting it up for adoption is the best choice."
I think adoption is an excellent choice. Nor would I criticize a woman who raises the child herself.
"When the world is dangerously crowded it may be necessary to terminate illegaly born infants..."
You're correct in that this could happen; China's one-child policy has at times been documented to include infanticide. Necessary? Never. Consider the absurdity of killing an infant because the world is "too full". It would be more sensible to start executing people for minor crimes. You achieve the same end, without doing it at the expense of an innocent life. It would keep adolescents from stealing (and clear out the riff-raff who do) and it makes room for more "decent" people. If that's too cruel, then it's also too cruel to kill an infant who hasn't committed any crime at all.
"if you discover that your future baby would be born without an arm, I think you should terminate the pregnancy. The disabled child will cause a lifetime of unhappiness over that in the parents and children."
I suppose to notice the lack of an arm you would propose using the same technology which caused a couple to choose aborting their child who they thought had spina bifida, but in fact, did not. David, tell me by what authority you pronounce a child born without an arm as better off dead? There are many people born with far greater handicaps than a missing arm who live full, happy, and productive lives, given the chance. Yet, you say they bring such unhappiness to those around them that they should be put to death? Dr. Willke points out that "there has not been a single organization of parents of mentally retarded children that has ever endorsed abortion." Alcorn quotes former surgeon general C. Everett Koop:
"I am frequently told by people who have never had the experience of working with children who are being rehabilitated into our society after the correction of a congenital defect that infants with such defects should be allowed to die, or even 'encouraged' to die, because their lives could obviously be nothing but unhappy and miserable. Yet it has been my constant experience that disability and unhappiness do not necessarily go together. Some of the most unhappy children whom I have known have all of the physical and mental faculties and on the other hand some of the happiest youngsters have borne burdens which I myself would find very difficult to bear."
How can you presume to pre-judge the potential happiness of a life and therein make a life or death decision on behalf of that unborn child? A missing arm? Come on! I think you're way out there on your own with that statement. Have you ever had a broken arm, or seen someone with one? Did you observe them and say to yourself "I'd rather be dead than live like that every day?" I don't mean to ridicule your opinion; but I do wonder if you're not at least overstating it?
By the way, let me return for a minute to address the fact that many couples will abort their baby upon hearing a diagnosis of spina bifida. With aggressive treatment:
75% have normal intelligence
80% walk by school age
90% have control of bowel and bladder by school age
99% of parents are very satisfied with the treatments
(study by Dr. D. McLone and Colleagues of 1000 non-selected spina bifida patients, recorded by Dr. J.C. Willke)
"I would not want more children if I found myself a single mother. Adoption would be an option, but the mother would probably be better off with a job instead of an unwanted baby, so she could feed her other two children. What would you say to this mother?"
I would say "PLEASE let your child live - even if you cannot raise him yourself, there are many couples who will welcome your child as their own." David, I myself probably came from such a pregnancy. I can think of no more selfless (not selfish, selfLESS) decision than for a mother to give up her child for adoption. Yes, most women who carry a pregnancy to term find it extremely difficult to part with the child. You call this "falling prey to motherly love." The word "prey" suggests that the woman's better judgement has fallen victim to the sentimental predator called "motherly love." Is that really how you perceive it?
"...another mouth to feed?"
The difficulty of feeding a child is in no way justification for killing it. You criticize me for "continuously compare[ing] the terminat[ion] of a pregnancy to the murder of people who have been in the world for a while." Well, I, in turn, criticize your position for trivializing human lives; making life or death decisions for what is undisputably a human being (even if not a so-called "person") based on such trivial matters as career or money. (not trivial? well, they sure are pathetically trivial compared to the decision to end a human life.)
"Before you are born, you have no connections to other people. Your parents are the only people who have a connection with you, and even that isn't the same as love for a child."
My own experience and observation suggests that the bond between expectant parents and their unborn child, while it may be mostly one-sided, is very much the same as love for a child. It is not a love born out of a social relationship, but it is love nonetheless. I'm sure that many fathers and mothers, myself included, would, if required, give up their own life in defense of their unborn child(ren). One time in particular that parents' love for their unborn children is particularly apparent is during the tragedy of miscarriage. My wife and I have known several couples who have suffered miscarriages in the course of having children. Two couples we know have lost children half-way through pregnancies. These parents have held their dead children. With one couple, the event was years ago, and somewhere in their home they have a tiny set of footprints on a piece of paper. When they told us about that, it was with a very heavy heart. While the mother wanted to show us the footprints, the father said, "no, they're fine where they are." These are our friends. The conversation left an impression on me. The other couple, friends of ours from church, happily announced they were pregnant with twins at about the same time that my own wife announced she was pregnant with our third child. Around Christmas last year, complications developed, and they delivered two tiny dead babies. David, I understand you did not say "parents don't love their unborn children" but rather just that it's not the same as the love for a born child. Not the same? In some ways, maybe not. But less significant? I don't believe so.
Shama Khan, earlier in this discussion, spoke about her own experience. "...having suffered from two miscarriages, I know what it's like to have an abortion and I carry the pain of losing them but Thank God there's no guilt on my part. Having finally given birth to a healthy girl, I still feel that I have 3 kids, 2 of them just didn't make it. However, I will never forget the silence and iciness I felt overcome my whole being upon realizing that I was alone (in my body). It's the loneliest feeling in the world and many women must suffer from this PLUS the guilt."
As for connections, well, the mother may be the only person with a physical connection to the unborn baby, but there are many other people who share at least some degree of interest in that life beyond just the two parents. There are grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, and in addition to that, the world community as a whole. I don't know anything about your family, but if you were married and your wife were pregnant, I CARE about your unborn child. If your wife, God forbid, had an abortion, and I knew of it, I would be saddened at the loss of that child. In the occasional moments when I really connect with the heart of this passion of mine, I cry for the loss of so many. If a life begins, but is killed before birth, and before anyone ever got to connect with the baby, is the loss of the child less meaningful? I think not.
"If parents are able to get over that connection, than the fetus has nothing to live for."
What about adoption? For all I know (not to say I think it was so), my mother may have hated my guts every day she carried me. Nonetheless, she "got over" whatever affection she had for me enough to give me up for adoption to parents who desperately wanted me. I grew up loved, and today I have a wife and three kids of my own. For an unborn child, who by your estimation, may at one time have had "nothing to live for", I sure think I have a lot to live for now! Even if a child is kept by parents that don't want him and don't love him, the love (or lack of love) from the parents is no way to measure the value of a life, or even to measure how much the unborn child has to live for. Is the life of a child who's parents abuse him less valuable or less worth living than the life of a child who is adored by his parents? I'm guessing you'll say that yes, it is. I am adamant that the value and worthiness of a human life is independent of what any other person thinks about it.
"Connections are formed after birth."
In the words of my own wife, who has carried three children from conception to birth: "baloney." Many women feel very much in touch with the child they are carrying. (witness also Shama's testimony.)
"If I choose any random embryo, can you tell me who cares for it and who it cares for?"
I, for one, care for it. Why else would I invest myself in this? While the embryo itself is not yet capable of caring for me, it is no less capable than I was at the same age. I'm sure glad no one justified terminating me when I was just an embryo, totally dependent on my mother for my very life.
"If it is alone and doesn't even have its own musings or books or whatever to keep it company, it is not living in the sense that we live."
...but it is nonetheless alive, just as you and I were at that same age. People can reasonably say "when I was conceived" because despite what is said to justify abortion, people understand that we all passed through those very early stages of developement when we were not cute or sentient, and our parents probably did not even know we were there yet. But you were there indeed, and if your life were ended at that time, you would not be here today.
Respectfully, (even if I don't always sound respectful! )
Peter Lyons
 
David Weitzman
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First of all, I'd like to thank you for an interesting discussion. I also believe I understand you point of view, though I don't agree with it. I doubt that you could change my mind, and doubt I could change yours. As it is, I am still feeling amiable and think we might as well leave it here (these long posts are hard to keep track of). I'll try not to say anything worthy of rebuke, but I will respond to a few things.
On the life of a disabled person:
I don't claim that the life of a physically or mentally disabled person is not worth living -- I claim that it will be harder to live happily. If I lost an arm I personally would probably go crazy for a few years. Among other things I am a computer geek and a pianist, so it would interfere with what I have already learned to enjoy. For someone born disabled, there is the 'why me' and 'I just want to be normal' problem. One of the threads in the meaningless drivel forum currently starts with a claim of suicide contemplation because of a boring life and no girl. A person who is different enough can't ever really fit in. Aside from fitting in there is also independence at risk. Some people will never be able to live on their own, drive on their own, wipe their own butts. That must be infuriating. I don't doubt that a happy life would be possible, just it would be a lot more difficult to work out.
For an unborn child, who by your estimation, may at one time have had "nothing to live for", I sure think I have a lot to live for now!
That is precisely my point -- interacting with people gives you something to live for. People who have positive ages have something to live for.
I'm sure glad no one justified terminating me when I was just an embryo, totally dependent on my mother for my very life.
I don't think that's a fair point. Everyone who is not suicidal would be happy to have been born. Looking back, I am happy I was not terminated. But if you somehow managed to convey to a fetus that you were going to kill it, would it care? Would it even understand what death is?
Anyway, thank you for sharing your views and insights into this controversial subject.
David Garland
P.S. On a separate note, I found some references on the Jewish views on abortion. I have have a list of 20 quotes on the subject from various sources (mostly Talmud -- which is what modern Judaism is really based on) -- but I don't really want to type them all into the computer. So I'll use some links to supplement.
http://www.rcrc.org/religion/es/section1.html
http://www.rcrc.org/religion/es3/bible1.html
(overlaps a bit with first link, but mentions something useful in Leviticus near end as well)
abortion section in a very odd site
http://www.religioustolerance.org/jud_abor.htm
Has a few more quotes from Talmud
And then just a few quotes:


Bab. Talmud Hulin 58a
The fetus is the thigh of its mother.


On why you may cut a fetus from its dead mother's womb on sabbath. The reason you are allowed to is, according to the Talmud, not self-evident because:


Bab. Talmud Arakhin 7a
... it [the fetus] does not have such original presumption of life



Halakhot G'dolot (not Talmud)
As the Mishna states regarding a one day old infant, that capital punishment is prescribed for murdering it, for a one day old infant but not a fetus.


(I like this quote because I used similar terminology earlier)


Netziv, Ha'amek Sh'eilah to Sheiltot 167, No. 17
It is unclear to the Tosafists that just as a fetus is not a "person" here too it is not categorized as a "person" and we don't set aside the Sabbath (for its sake).

 
Peter Lyons
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Thanks, David, for the friendly debate. It never hurts to learn more about an opposing point of view.
"I doubt that you could change my mind, and doubt I could change yours."
I agree, on both counts! I guess that proves we can agree on something! People obviously have deep convictions on both sides of this issue, and while anyone can change their mind (I used to be on the other side of this one ...albeit not with the passion I have now), it's unlikely that would happen suddenly.
See ya 'round the ranch.
Peter
 
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I've not checked this thread for a long time ... I'm so proud you guys have managed to keep this as a good, friendly and very interesting discussion and have not ended up hurling abuse at eachother. Proves it can be done!
 
Jamie Robertson
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Thanks for the explanation Peter. What I came away with from this topic is that life is more than a clump of cells. It involves some sort of Spirit/Soul/cognitive thinking that accompanies the flesh that differentiates us from all other flesh entities. The point at which the incorporeal consciousness portion of life begins is at best speculation. It just happens somewhere between conception and birth. People can look to beliefs, ancient scriptures and religions to obtain explanations on the matter but no one has convinced me either way. So I'll just go on believing what I believe, everyone else go on believing what you believe. If enough people are convinced that it is right or wrong, then the laws will reflect that. Until then, stay true to what you believe is right. For those of you that choose not to have an opinion on the matter, ignorance is bliss!
Happy trails people
Jamie
 
Peter Lyons
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"no one has convinced me either way."
Yeah, well, nobody can change your mind for you... nobody changed mine for me either. Like I mentioned, I used to be pro-"choice" myself. And, boy, did people ever try to change my mind! And the more they tried, the harder I fought. So, if there's going to be any mind changing going on, it's probably not going to happen in the direct context of a forum where people are focused on defending their point of view, not changing it.
"The point at which the incorporeal consciousness portion of life begins is at best speculation."
And I also agree on this point... nobody can finally know for sure one way or the other. Let me recycle a quote from Bernard Nathanson which I used earlier: "The pro-life community doesn't get bogged down in esoteric [drivel] on what constitutes personhood and the question of whether conscious awareness is necessary for personhood. The pro-life community states very simply that we are all human beings and that no one quality can be depended upon to confer 'personhood' upon us based on physical or mental attributes or skills."
While there's room to debate when a fetus becomes a "person" or when "ensoulment" occurs or when consciousness begins, there is no room at all for disagreement on when we each become biologically human; when we each became the human individual that we remain today. Beyond any doubt, that is at the moment of conception. So, as for me, if I err, I'll err on the side of caution, and will speak out in defense of all human life from conception to natural death.
"...ignorance is bliss."
Ain't that the truth! Or at least... even at its worst, ignorance is... well... ignorance, and I'd imagine there are plenty of things I'm happy to be ignorant of!
"Happy trails..."
...to you too, Jamie.
 
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