I forget which two.
While I hope to work with the editor for a future re-write, here is the original piece for your reading: How about Secularists for Sharia Law?
To be an atheist is to support abortion. She also seriously misheard and misconstrued the point of my green banana analogy! But we do exist. The late atheist author Christopher Hitchenswhen asked in a January debate with Jay Wesley Richards whether he was opposed to abortion and was a member of the pro-life movement, replied: All the discoveries of embryology [and viability] — which have been very considerable in the last generation or so — appear to confirm that opinion, which I think should be innate in everybody.
Abortion, The Complex Issue? Abortion is an emotionally complex issue, stacked with distressing circumstances that elicit our sympathy and compassion, but abortion is not morally complex: If the preborn are not human beings equally worthy of our compassion and support, no justification for abortion is required.
Women should maintain full autonomy over their bodies and make their own decisions about their pregnancies. However, if the preborn are human beings, no justification for abortion is morally adequate, if such a reason cannot justify ending the life of a toddler or any born human in similar circumstances.
Would we dismember a young preschooler if there were indications she might grow up in an abusive home? This highly specialized, totipotent cell marked the beginning of each of us as a unique individual. Conversely, sperm and ovum are differentiated parts of other human organisms, each having their own specified function.
Upon merging, both cease to exist in their current states, and the result is a new and whole entity with unique behavior toward human maturity. Similarly, skin cells contain genetic information that can be inserted into an enucleated ovum and stimulated to create an embryo, but only the embryo possesses this self-directed inherent capacity for all human development.
Defining Personhood The question of personhood leaves the realm of science for that of philosophy and moral ethics.
Science defines what the preborn is, it cannot define our obligations toward her. After all, the preborn is a very different human entity than those we see around us. Should a smaller, less developed, differently located and dependent being be entitled to rights of personhood and life? Perhaps the more significant question is: Are small people less important than bigger or taller people?
Again, if these factors are not relevant in granting or increasing personhood for anyone past the goal post of birth, neither should they matter where the preborn human is concerned. One might fairly argue that we do grant increasing rights with skill and age. However, the right to live and to not be killed is unlike the social permissions granted on the basis of acquired skills and maturity, such as the right to drive or the right to vote.
We are denied the right to drive prior to turning 16; we are not killed and prevented from ever gaining that level of maturity. Similarly, consciousness and self-awareness, often proposed as fair markers for personhood, merely identify stages in human development.
To say that an entity does not yet have consciousness is to nonetheless speak of that entity within which lies the inherent capacity for consciousness, and without which consciousness could never develop.
Whether the life is cut off in the fourth week or the fourteenth, the victim is one of our species, and has been from the start. Just as one would not throw out green bananas along with rotten bananas though both lack current function as food, one cannot dismiss a fetus who has not yet gained a function, alongside a brain-dead person who has permanently lost that function.
To dismiss and terminate a fetus for having not yet achieved a specified level of development is to ignore that a human being at that stage of human development is functioning just as a human being of that age and stage is biologically programmed to function.
It simultaneously makes us into individuals and members of a group, and thus embeds in us rights-bearing protections. First, what is does not necessarily represent what should be. The fact that social conventions of personhood disregard the preborn human is no surprise, and in fact the very matter in dispute.
Second, birth possesses no such magical powers of transformation. At birth a developing human changes location, begins to take in oxygen and nutrients in a new manner, and begins to interact with a greater number of other humans.
But a simple journey through the birth canal does not change the essential nature of the entity in question. In fact, bio-ethicist Peter Singer agrees with the pro-lifer on this point.
We cannot coherently hold it is alright to kill a fetus a week before birth, but as soon as the baby is born everything must be done to keep it alive. Birth is undoubtedly a significant moment in our lives, but it is not our first moment. So what of dependency? Assuredly, a fetus is significantly more dependent on his or her mother than at any other time in his or her life."She just started telling her friends she is pregnant," a source tells PEOPLE of first-time mom-to-be Mindy Kaling, whose baby news went public Monday.
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