A question for those who believe that conception=personhood

As put forth here:

If five embryos isn’t enough to pick them over the young girl, how many would be?

Pro-lifers have an “easy out” here if they want to avoid the core question, by saying that saving the girl prevents suffering, which might be more important. I challenge them not to take that easy out, by imagining some hypothetical where the little girl would be killed without suffering. For example, you see her already passed out but breathing.

There’s another escape clause, which is that a frozen embryo, while being a “person” is still somehow more hypothetical than a child, because many (probably most) implanted embryos don’t make it to term. However, that argument is thwarted by the OP’s question, how many would be enough? If it’s just a matter of probability, then there’s some number of embryos that trumps the little girl.

If it’s not just a matter of probability, then what is it?

I’d save the little girl (or even the old plumber, whatever) before the embryos, but the OP’s question isn’t addressed to me.

Not that I believe conception should be the demarkation point, but does there actually have to be a threshold?

None of us values individual people equally. It’s a fallacy of assumptions to think we do.

Try a different case to illustrate. On one side, we have our favorite pet dog. One we personally raised from a puppy. On the other, we have 100 serial killers a few days away from execution (for purposes of the exercise, suppose there is absolutely no doubt about their guilt).

Do you save your dog or the soon to be executed serial killers?

Do we save the 2 year old or the serial killers?

Do we save the fetuses or the serial killers?

It’s not fundamentally inconsistent to define personhood at conception yet value a fetus more (or less) than other people. We make such comparisons all the time.

A lot of people who think that fetuses are people fixate on the innocence of them. I think the serial killers thing distorts the hypothetical. They’d, in the minds of the fetal personhood advocates, be like babies.

Hi Czarcasm, I’d save the two year old over the embryos.

But I’d also save a two year old over an eighty year old. I’d save a two year old over a terminally ill 30-year old, and I’d save a police officer over a room full of cocaine dealers. We make distinctions between people all the time. In a perfect world we wouldn’t have to, but we don’t live in a perfect world.

Re: I challenge them not to take that easy out, by imagining some hypothetical where the little girl would be killed without suffering. For example, you see her already passed out but breathing.

I’d still say that the embryo, while a person, lacks some of the attributes (likes, dislikes, feelings, etc.) that the two year old has, and that the death of the two year old would be a worse thing than the death of the embryos. Both of them are still bad things, though.

The other thing that separates this from abortion debates is the active/passive distinction, killing vs. letting die.

Sub “embryo” for “fetus” in my last post. But I think the point still stands.

“A question for those who believe that conception=personhood”

You misspelled “gotcha”.

Would you save the 2 year old girl over any number of embryos?

And you mistook a snark for an actual answer to the question.

But I only asked the one hypothetical. If you are of the mindset described in the OP, how would you answer?

The point still stands.

We have an internal calculus that establishes value between people. It doesn’t really matter how the ranking works - only that it does.

If you are in a plane and know that you will crash, do you prioritize the safety of your teenage children or your spouse? Your infant children or your spouse? Your spouse or your elderly parents? Your dog or some lady 3 rows back? That takes the innocence angle out of the equation while still making the point - we make choices to save one person over another that have little to do with our definition of personhood.

My personal belief is to establish personhood at birth (though I admit I see the last trimester as a massive fuzzy area), but I see no inconsistency between the concept that conception=personhood while still valuing certain people over others.

The two year old, probably. But so what? The hypothetical is fundamentally flawed and is a poor attempt at a gotcha.

I’m Catholic so I would never work in a fertility clinic.

Gotcha :slight_smile:

I would save whichever one didn’t grow up to be Hitler.

Regards,
Shodan

Re: Would you save the 2 year old girl over any number of embryos?

Probably, yea. I’m not coming from a philosophical utilitarian perspective here, so the numbers don’t matter to me as much as they might to some. To me the distinction in the kind of personal identity & experience they have makes a qualitative difference.

Re: I’m Catholic so I would never work in a fertility clinic.

Oh, I should add that I agree with this too, though I’m not Catholic.

Thank you. May I assume that if the two year old girl weren’t in the picture you would make every effort to save the embryos?

7.3

What if the two year old is pregnant?

Re: May I assume that if the two year old girl weren’t in the picture you would make every effort to save the embryos?

Are there other people at risk, in the fire, like am I weighing their lives against the embryos?

Nope, no “gotcha” here. I am just assuming that you would make the effort(as would I), to save the embryos if given the chance.