That evidence existed then? I didn’t think it exists even now. Heck…I tought pinning down an actual definition of what constitutes “life” has been befuddling philosophers for ages (for instance fire eats, breathes and reproduces itself…is it alive?).
If this question really has been settled I’d like to see it if you could provide a link (seriously…and preferably something published in a major peer review journal such as Science or Nature or others of that ilk).
That is possibly true. I have not read the decision you reference. If we look at their reasoning, though:
Clearly the unborn cannot be considered in this case, as they are neither born nor nationalized. Continuing:
Let’s examine the fourteenth amendment:
The first mention is already addressed. The second use is simply of “citizen” and not person, and so that is covered. Now we’re at the Due Process and Equal Protection portions of the XIV. If you find a problem with RvW’s exclusion of fetuses based on XIV, it must be in these sentences, which I indend to return to in a moment. Continuing with the decision, and I am adding the relevent portions of Constitutional text, underlined, and adding bolded emphasis to a portion I find particularly compelling:
Indeed, especially with regards to issues like voting, speech, religion, etc., it is hard to see that anything we normally consider a “right” transferring to a fetus, other than the right to life itself. In the overwhelming majority of cases, personhood deals with citizens (already born), or persons at or becoming a certain age, which of course the unborn fail to qualify for as well. Frankly, I find it very hard to see how we may arbitrarily exclude born people, as you seem to fear is possible under the decision.
The abortion issue has not been about life but personhood, for reasons which, I should imagine, are sensible and clear: by any measure, any arbitrary collection of my cells are 1) alive, 2) human, and 3) indicative of a specific individual. Given enough research into cloning, we might even have 4) capable of becoming a citizen or competent adult (etc.). Surely you wouldn’t have SCOTUS issue a ruling that will arrest me for scratching my arm, or imprison a woman for manslaughter for having a miscarriage due to no fault of her own. Personhood is clearly the standard we must consider.
Moreover, the opinion notes:
Since the opinion recognizes that women do not have an unlimited right here, it seems to me that they are, so far, reaching the appropriate standard, inasmuch as the unborn are not fully recognized people.
I don’t see any concern of viability of the fetus here; rather I see a standard that depends on the relative dangers of abortion vs natural childbirth. There’s one standard: the state can regulate abortion as a compelling interest in protecting the life of the mother inasmuch as abortion can threaten the health of a mother, relative to birthing the child.
Let’s examine the infamous “viability” standard:
This directly addresses your particularly strange fear:
She’s already a person. The state has a compelling interest to protect her life, just as it would anyone else. She should also be afforded free speech, due process of law, and so on and so forth.
So far, RvW seems reasonable, or at least it doesn’t seem intellectually dishonest.
Historically, the majority of “right to lifers” have been kinda weak on the right to life of the already living. Basically, they’d rather trash mama than the kid. They weasel and argue when you try to pin them on it, but that’s where they are.
I don’t know about any links, but I can certainly provide you with some references.
For starters see the preface of “Williams Obstetrics,” which for years was the standard basic text in most medical school OBGYN programs. Also check out “Abortion Questions and Answers,” by Dr. J.C. Wilke. In that particular book there is mention of an international symposium, in 1967, of individuals from religion, medicial science, biological science, Law and philosophy, which was convened for the sole purpose of determining when life begins. The overwhelming conclusion was conception, not birth. If these don’t satisfy, try “The Silent Scream,” by Dr. Bernard Nathanson. Dr. Nathanson, a New York abortionist and head of the OBGYN program at NYU Med School, was president of the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL) at the time Roe passed the court. In fact, he has been charactericized as the true driving force behind getting it pushed through the court.
When the 13 chromosomes of the female and the 13 of the male unite in a womans womb the result is a 26 chromosome “zygote.” There is only one mammal on the planet with that combination: Human beings. So, at that moment a unique human being comes into existence. No serious scientist would ever question this. The Supreme court, though, found a way around this by posing the question: is this human being a “person?” How much more subjective could they have gotten? What mortal man has the right to determine someone else’s “personhood.” I believe we better leave the answer to that one to God. The Supreme Court (five members of it), in my humble opinion, decided to play God when they declared the unborn child to be a “non-person.” and, in doing so, they have put us on a very slippery slope.
Abortion Rights Action
It may be a zygote, but it won’t live if I take it out of my uterus and hand it to you. It’s “life” is tied to mine. It does not possess “life” of it’s own - by any other definition, it’s a parasite until viable.
Granny will live on her own. She can breathe, eat and eliminate. She might need help moving around, but she’s living all on her own. Her body processes are more or less functional OR she has given informed medical consent to doctors to help keep her alive via machines. Your “slippery slope” simply does not apply.
Because there is nothing contained in the law that refers to the unborn as “persons,” does this necessarily mean they aren’t? Does the law say, definitively–with the exception of the Roe decision–that the unborn “are not persons?” When we are talking about whether or not to disenfranchise an entire segement of humanity, should we not have this kind of absolute assurance?
For those of you who scoff at the idea that Roe set a precedent that endangers life outside the womb, what, pray tell, is “partial” birth abortion, but killing “born” children? The only reason they leave the child’s head in while they suck its brains out, is they don’t want to have to look at its anguished face while they’re performing this grisly deed.
If they’re “sucking its brains out” it isn’t “anguished” - it’s dead.
For what it’s worth, I don’t like late pregnancy partial birth abortions performed for reasons other than the mother’s health. The reason I was against the recent ban on them, however, was that the ban did not contain a provision for allowing them to save the life of the mother.But they are still not performed on embryos that can live outside of the uterus or machines. If the pregnancy has progressed to 37 weeks and the fetus is viable without incurring extra critical care costs (that is, it won’t take machines to keep it alive until it’s lungs or brain develop) then abortion isn’t an option, and I’m pretty sure it is illegal.
By your reasoning you could do the very same thing with a one year old child, because–for all intents and pruposes–it’s a parasite too, and therefore, by definition–yours, and apparently the laws–isn’t viable.
No, the body processes of a one year old will continue if he’s separated from me physically. In fact, he’s always separated from me physically. You can feed him, if you want. He will continue to eliminate and grow and demonstrate all metobolic processes. True, he needs someone to fill his bottle for him, but his body will process the food all on its own, turning it into energy to grow. He’s just like Granny - they need some help moving around and holding things, but they are very much living on their own. A zygote will not. It will stop functioning in a matter of moments if you set it on a countertop.
It has the potential to be a unique human being. It is not a human being yet and has no hallmarks of being human beyond its DNA. Your blood cells have that DNA as well and yet you would not cry murder if you were bleeding from a paper cut.
No nervous system so no consciousness. No consciousness in any fashion means no life more meaningful than a blood cell possesses. You could keep a brain-dead person “alive” on life support but to what purpose? Yes there is a shell there that eats, breathes and eliminates but the commonly used term of “vegetable” for those people is appropriate as they really have no more in the way of “life” than a plant does. To my mind a zygote is no better off.
I admit that I personally dislike the notion of tossing away a potential human life. I would be the first to cheer if abortions ceased altogether but only if every pregnancy was a wanted pregnancy and NOT because someone imposed their will on another person forcing them to carry the child. The life of the mother needs to be taken into account and I wholeheartedly feel she is the ONLY person who has the right to say what goes on with her body. Ultimately I think this is what Roe v. Wade was getting at and I agree with the sentiment. I can offer my opinion to a woman of what I think she should do but to impose my will on her is FAR more abhorrent to me than the thought of her terminating a pregnancy (within reason…I agree if she is to terminate it needs to be done in the first trimester only allowing for later abortions if the mother’s life is at serious risk).
JMS@CCT, I have a couple of questions for you.
[ul][li]What’s your take on ending ectopic pregnancies?[/li][li]Would you please tell me more about how this relates to your view on abortion? Is it a different issue from abortion?[/li][li]What is your stance on birth control? [/ul][/li]The reason for the last question is, from what I recall, Operation Rescue’s founder was strongly as opposed to birth control as he was to abortion. I am aware that some people who oppose abortion distinguish among forms of birth control which prevent an egg from being produced, those which prevent an egg from being fertilized, and those which prevent a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterine wall, and if you distinguish among those, I’d be interested in reading your opinions.
I’ll ask my standard question then. Does your belief extend to adults who are only temporarily “brain dead”? I’m referring to patients in unusual (but documented) circumstances where they flat-line–i.e., no brain activity whatsoever–but who subsequently regain consiousness. Some victims of severe hypothermia are examples of this scenario.
While they are “brain dead” and without consciousness have they lost all rights, have they lost even the vestiges of “personhood”? Could you (or the person’s loved ones, if that’s easier) kill such a “person” with impunity, ethically if not legally, in your philosophy? Or does the promise of future consciousness, sentience, self-awareness (pick your noun) assign this individual some form of rights? Certainly prior consciousness assigns no “personhood” or rights for you; you have already indicated so, I think. “You could keep a [permanently] brain-dead person ‘alive’ on life support but to what purpose?”
It seems to me if you’re consistent, then this individual, while in that state, is simply a mass of cells, analogous to the blood flowing from a paper cut and with exactly the same value and rights as a person–which is to say, none at all. Do you agree?
The zygote, according to any respectable science, is an individual human being. That he/she is not separated from the mother physically and dependent upon her body for nutrition does not change this fact.
If demonstration of growth is a criterion for personhood then how do you eliminate the child in the womb from this designation? Are you saying it doesn’t start to grow or develop until it’s outside the womb?
Obviously, you’ve never raised a child or you wouldn’t say a new born “needs some help.” It is totally helpless. All it can do is cry and eliminate.
By the way, ask any woman who has carried a child in her womb if she believes it’s just “a blob of flesh.”
The point I am trying to make here is, Roe v. Wade removed the right to life of an entire segement of humanity, based on the very arbitrary and subjective reasoning of “personhood.” Using the precedent the court has set in Roe, this could easily be extended to other human “non-persons” outside the womb. The numbing effect of thirty years of abortion on demand has the population well prepared to accept this.
Can you take your fingers out of your ears for a minute? Because I think I already addressed your hysteria about declaring arbitrary people “non-persons”. Since they’ve at least been born they’ve come under the use of “person”. I see nothing in the case that even hints that personhood can be removed once it is established.
Yes, I have an 11 year old son and am happily pregnant with another. (Um, another embryo, not another 11 year old son. That would hurt.) I’ve nannied for newborns, I love and respect children, and I don’t kick puppies. Crying and eliminating are more than any zygote can do if removed from the uterus. (You do know it’s only a zygote until implantation occurs at two weeks, right? I admit I’ve been having a little chuckle with that one. By the time a woman can possibly know she’s pregnant, it’s no longer a zygote - it’s an embryo.)
So, **you ** have now asked a woman who has carried a child in her womb if she believes it’s just “a blob of flesh,” and my answer is no, but I also don’t believe it’s a fully alive, incarnated spirit with the same rights to personhood as you or I. It is not alive in the sense that you or I or Granny is. These are my beliefs, and I’m carrying one in my womb as we speak. So, if that’s the qualification you were looking for, you have an answer. I’m sure you can produce other mothers with other answers, and that’s fine. (And I’m sure the next time you trot out that rhetorical question, you’ll “forget” that you got an answer you don’t agree with.)That’s actually my point. I don’t have or want the right to force my opinion on you any more that you have the right to force yours on me.
Can you stop with the rhetoric and answer the questions other posters have asked you?