Originally posted by GradyPhilpott
Actually, gallopinghordes, I am pro-choice, but let's be honest with ourselves. No human has ever given birth to a toad or a pinto bean. Abortion
Grady, it's true that you hadn't declared a position in the debate (until the above-quoted post), but you've been arguing the anti-choice side.
Since you've been arguing it, I've assumed you believed it, apparently in error.
If abortion is homicide then throwing away a plum seed is cutting down a tree. No human has ever given birth to toad or a pinto bean, but at
conception the mother-to-be hasn't given birth to a baby, either.
There is a distinction to be drawn between levels of maturation. An embryo at conception is not a baby, it's a one-celled organism containing the
genetic blueprint to become a baby. It's a potential baby, in other words. I see no justification for treating the potential as if it were the
actuality, and frankly neither you nor anyone else has presented any. You've simply acted as if it were self-evident, which it's not.
We need to recognize how nature operates. All organisms produce far more potential offspring than can possibly come to maturity. The ecosystem
won't support them all, and so the great majority of those potential offspring must die at some stage of their maturation process. A tree produces
huge numbers of seeds; most of those never sprout at all; of those that do, all but a very few are eaten, pulled up, trampled, or shaded to death.
The same pattern applies to all animal species as well, including humans. Our natural reproductive strategy makes it difficult perhaps to see this,
but it's true.
Biologists recognize two different reproductive strategies, which are usually called "R" and "K." An "R" strategy is followed by all plants and
most animals. It involves tossing out as many offspring as possible and then forgetting about them, trusting in the law of averages to ensure that
enough survive to maturity to maintain the species.
Some animals, however, follow a "K" strategy instead. This involves having fewer offspring, but caring for and protecting them so that of those
few, a high percentage survive to maturity. Most of the more intelligent species of animal, definitely including ours, do this. Because we are wired
to care for and nurture our young as part of our natural reproductive strategy, it is that much harder to see that we, too, are subject to the natural
principle that most of our potential offspring must die -- in exactly the same percentage as for a tree.
Not every sperm cell is a potential baby, because there are vastly more sperm than ova, but every ovum is one. Every month that does not result in
conception, a woman flushes a potential baby down the toilet. Of those that are conceived, a fairly high percentage are naturally aborted. In the
old days before modern medicine, quite a high percentage of fetuses that survived to become babies died in childhood, despite the nurturing and
protection we naturally provide them. In this way, nature keeps our numbers in check (or did before we bollixed the works), killing potential (or
actual) human beings, most before conception, the rest either during gestation or in childhood.
These deaths must happen. There is no alternative. We are subject to natural limits like every other species of life.
But what we can do, is try to ensure that the deaths occur as early in the process as possible. A child who dies of a childhood disease suffers far
more than an ovum that's flushed down the toilet, and so do its parents. An embryo at conception, which has no brain and so no human thoughts or
feelings, suffers no more than an unfertilized ovum when aborted (whether naturally or by induction). A fetus near term -- that might be a different
story. Probably is, in fact.
It is better, because of the relative suffering involved for all parties, to contracept than to abort. It is better to abort early than to abort
late. It is better to abort late than to expose an unwanted infant. And it is better to expose an unwanted infant than to have a child die of
But to actually have all potential human beings become actual human beings is a natural impossibility, and this we must accept. If we could ensure
that all the necessary deaths occurred before conception, that would be just dandy, but we can't. And to say that, when we fail to do this, we must
not abort the pregnancy, is only to push the date of (someone's) death further down the line, when suffering will be greater.