What's the big deal, folks?

I don’t get why everyone’s getting in such a heat over the “When does human life begin?” answers. Cecil was asked for his opinion based on his thoughts. That’s exactly the answer he gave. He wasn’t asked, “Does a woman have a right to choose?” or “Do you think it’s morally right to have an abortion?” No. He was asked one question- “When does human life begin?”

Understandably it’s a touchy topic. There’s a lot of emotion involved, and people get very wound up about it. But Cecil’s logical answer has absolutely nothing to do with emotion, which is exactly what many people are missing. He mentioned many other common opinions, as well as his own, which was ultimately based on fact. If you don’t like it, that’s too bad. Fact is fact, you can’t change it. The people objecting seem mostly to be driven by unrelated matters. Just because they don’t like his answer, they’re quick to jump on the “he’s a misogynist!” bandwagon, much like many do when someone morally objects to abortion.

I am strongly pro-choice and can understand where the objectors’ opinions are coming from. However, I also understand Cecil’s idea. At first it shocked me too- But as I thought about it, his answer ending up making a lot of sense. The thing is, all these people are so quick to attack the wrong people, for the wrong reasons. Based on everything he’s said, Cecil doesn’t seem the kind to protest outside abortion clinics or actively try and pass laws against abortion. Basically, he seems pretty pro-choice about the whole thing. Attacking him and calling him names because he approached such a delicate topic logically not only isn’t going to do any good, but it also makes you look ignorant.

It’s good to question- Hell, it’s GREAT to question anything you’re told. You shouldn’t take Cecil’s answer to heart if you haven’t really thought about it yet. But in the end, it makes perfect sense- If the ceasing of brain activity marks the end of a life, shouldn’t the start of brain activity mark its beginning? This has absolutely nothing to do with a woman’s right to her body. This has nothing to do with misogyny or freedom or men ruling over women with an iron fist just for the sake of showing power… No. The question was, “When does human life begin?” All other topics addressed are moot, and should at best be considered straw men attempts to destroy his logic-based answer.
If you’ve learned even one lesson from knowledge-seeking sites like this, it should be that just because you don’t like the truth, that doesn’t make it any valid. Emotion has nothing to do with fact. Cecil answered the question asked. If you don’t like the answer, address the question at hand and give a real reason to object, rather than dance around the topic by taking cheap shots with name-calling.

I’m not from the US, so I’m gratefully excused from having to make the decision as to be pro-choice or pro-life. At least, I refuse to decide before I have enough information.

As a health care professional, I’ve always had these two questions that have never been satisfactorily answered (I dunno if Cecil might want to take a crack at them):

  1. Since when does anyone have a right to their own body?
    Sure, ethically u might argue that everyone should, and u might be right too, but how can one argue that this right even exists in most countries? If I have this right to my own body, why can’t I legally pump myself full of drugs every day, in the privacy of my own home? Shouldn’t the right to abortion and the right to abuse drugs go hand in hand? I notice very few people (save the extreme liberals) are for both.

  2. How does a right to your own body give you the right to mess with another body, even if it’s inside you? Personhood or not, the fetus is made from genetic material that is very different from the mother’s. Around 50% in fact, thanks to daddy. This difference sometimes causes serious problems in fact, such as HDN (hemolytic disease of the newborn). The mother might be growing the fetus inside of her, but it’s not “her body” by any definition.

I realise these questions may sound insensitive to many women, but sensitivity is not the issue here. I seriously wish to hear a legitimate, rational response to these questions.

Human life began, as far as I can tell, during the year 2 800 074 (bc) ,according to your most recent best guesses at a cosmic calendar, which is, believe it or not, only a couple orders of magnitude or so away from universal reality.

More directly, the answer is … maybe. You don’t really wanna know the whole truth. It will be disturbing to you, no matter which side you previously supported.

Re: Hap Shaughnessy’s original post:
Maybe i can answer you. After all, i just made an ass of myself on this message board by letting emotions cloud my reason.
Roe Vs. Wade became law in the seventies, and black men were ‘granted’ the vote before women were, and many of us women, especially the bright ones, feel the pain of inequities every day. It’s certainly better than it used to be, but believe me… it’s not over yet. It festers like a great big sore on our collective psyches, and sometimes, in a PTSD-like way, it can happen that the straw man looks very real. Sticks get poked inadvertently into this sort of hornet’s nest all the time, often by well-meaning men who never intended insult, but only forgot to wear their oven mitts. We must remember, emotions are valuable, and have their place, especially those which foster connection. The point is to treat our own emotional reactions like we would our children when they throw a fit…check to see what the problem is, and choose the best course, but since we are all only human, it will always happen that occassionally, emotion will get the better of us, especially with such a touchy subject as this one.

As to Hyper-shadow’s question:
I wonder if we might not ask instead when the very idea of granting people rights came into being, because i’m pretty sure that it was only after such positions of ultimate power (to grant and take away rights) were invented.

I was replying to Canis Major’s “what’s the big deal, folks?” Not Hap Shaughnessy. Pardon.

If you’re right, then how does another body have the right to mess with a body that it is inside? It doesn’t. Get it out!

Welcome to the club. We’d send you the official scroll and membership badge, but stocks have run low due to high demand and both are backordered. :smiley:

Cecil, a man, who doesn’t have to deal with this stuff said a woman should be forced to bare a rapists child and that those of us who disagree with him are responsible for electing Bush.

Wrong on the facts, wrong ethically, wrong practically.

Other than that, no problem.

Except that was not what he said. What he said was that the circumstances of conception have effect on when human life begins. Are you suggesting that children of rape are less human than other children? His position seems to be that if abortion is illegal up to X point, it should be the same no matter the circumstances of conception.


I just came by to say thanks to CanisMajor for saying what I’ve been thinking the entire time. I wasn’t sure if I should say something, as I feel that all post made primarily out of anger should be confined to the Pit, or, even better, left unsaid. YMMV, but I feel that one should get out the anger in a way that doesn’t hurt anyone (even verbally), then figure out what made you mad in the first place. If it’s legitimate, then discuss that, not the anger itself. Anger is a secondary emotion, after all.

12 posts and no one has suggested that a link to the article we are discussing (this is the forum for Cecil’s columns, right?) would be a good idea?

So I feel obligated. It’s in my blood. Here’s the most likely page:

OTOH, maybe this thread should be in IMHO?

EXCELLENT POST BY HYPERSHADOW! 11-23-2008, 04:30 AM Wow, someone who “gets it”. Wonderful! I like the opening post in this thread too, but so far the second one is the best… maybe I should read the rest?

Let me sum up bmoreluv’s posts in general: “Life is so unfair! The world is so unfair! Women are so oppressed and downtrodden! My life sucks! I hate myself, hate the world, hate everyone in it!” That about sums it up. And what addled thinking, as evidenced by this: “I wonder if we might not ask instead when the very idea of granting people rights came into being, because i’m pretty sure that it was only after such positions of ultimate power (to grant and take away rights) were invented.”

I think the concept first was tested when Adam said, “Ya wanna” and Eve took a minute before saying “Uh-huh”. Do you have problems with authority or something? I do…

Look, of course abortion is a touchy subject - it involves ending a life! And, as was pointed out on another thread, THERE IS IN FACT NO MIDDLE GROUND!

Funny, Quepasa totally misrepresents most of what Cecil said: “Cecil, a man, who doesn’t have to deal with this stuff said a woman should be forced to bare a rapists child and that those of us who disagree with him are responsible for electing Bush.” Sorry, you said those things, Cecil didn’t.

The rape issue is particularly prickly, since it is perhaps the one case where it can be justifiably argued a woman got pregnant through no fault of her own, at least in most cases. But it can be equally argued that the new life inside her does not bear any blame for the sins of it’s father and therefore does not deserve to be killed - it in fact should be cherished just like any other developing human. I know, the argument that it will remind the mother of the rape and associated arguments are very emotional - and thus should pretty much be toned down, if not eliminated entirely, if we’re discussing the logic, not the emotion, of the issue.

Kudos to BigT: “one should get out the anger in a way that doesn’t hurt anyone (even verbally), then figure out what made you mad in the first place”

Too bad few here seem able to follow your wise counsel.

There were two pages about this topic, Musicat. You seem to have picked part 2 of 2 and I have a sneaking suspicion this thread came after reading both parts 1 and 2, if not only part 2. Here is the link to part 2:

And here is part 1:

There were responses, both that started whole new threads, and within existing threads, which really belong in the pit… yet some seem to be unable to follow rules. Same people that wind up participating in “unwanted pregnancies”, no doubt.