This question has been discussed many times, but I’ve just finished my Ob/Gyn rotation and have not been able to stop thinking about it. (Not to mention that it’s the anniversary week of Roe v. Wade.) When is elective abortion an ok thing?
Right now, a lot of our decision is based on when can we technologically keep a fetus alive outside the uterus, but that seems a specious arguement that will become more complicated as neonatal life support improves. Additional complications include induced meiosis (artificial sperm) from somatic cells as well as cloning. It seems to me that whether it survives in utero or in an incubator, it is, morally the same thing (relative to the fetus). Of course, there are differences to the mother.
When is it a life? Seems like a bad question. It’s always alive. The sperm and egg are alive. The fused product is alive. The blastocyst is alive, etc.
When is it human? When it has 46 chromosomes? Is it based on it’s potential to grow into a baby? Does that mean that embryos in cold storage are just as human?
What about when the stem cell “holy grail” is reached and we learn how to grow any tissue (or even a whole human) from adult stem cells. Are your bone marrow cells morally individual humans?
Some successful cloining techniques are basically taking a body cell and exchanging the cytoplasm with an egg cell’s cytoplasm. Is killing the cell after the cytoplasmic exchange murder, or abortion, or what?
What makes killing a human embryo/fetal bundle of cells in the shape of a ball, or a fish, or a pig (ontologically speaking) better than killing a bundle in the shape of a baby? Is it the complexity? The lack of resemblance to an adult? Is it the ick factor of dismembering a little body?
I should state that I am pro-choice and would probably set the limit much later than a lot of people here, but I don’t know how to decide. I’d like to hear from both pro-choice and pro-life people on when they’d draw the line and more importantly, why.