posted on Nov, 23 2009 @ 07:32 PM
I personally don't support abortion, but I've yet to find a defensible argument for pushing my moral choice onto others.
I would honestly challenge any dogmatically pro-life (especially those who are pro-life at the behest of their dogma) supporters to define the moment
in which a human cell becomes a human being without being utterly defeated by our knowledge of reproductive and developmental biology.
For instance, the moment of conception is often cited as the point at which a new human life is created. And this very well can be defended as true.
However, this raises the question - if you got drunk and ran into another car, killing it's occupant who happened to be a chimera (fused twins),
should you be charged with a double homicide? It's obviously only one person - but that one person is a compilation of two unique genetic profiles
from two separate fertilized eggs. Further, what is the moral implications of not doing more to prevent miscarriage? Why would the morning after pill
be murder, but too much caffeine is not?
And what of identical twins who are essentially clones? If a soul enters the body at the moment of conception, then an identical twin formed when the
blastocyst splits into separate cultures is essentially in possession of only half a soul.
If the moment is when the brain starts to operate, then define the moment the brain is fully formed. Generally, this doesn't occur until the end of
puberty. The brain isn't even basically formed into anything we would consider a brain by the time the first synapse begin to fire - and even
afterward, the individual cognitive components of the brain are still in the process of separating and specializing. Finding such a moment would be
like trying to figure out the precise moment when a child has become a man. Biologically, there is no such definable moment. Even so, what is the
moral choice to make when dealing with conditions such as craniopagus parasiticus, or Parasitic Twins. Recall a recent famous case of an Egyptian
woman who daughter was born with a parasitic twin attached at the head. The twin baby was completely and utter unformed aside from the head which
contained a fully functioning brain. Should the living, thinking, feeling parasitic twin be sacrificed to ensure the survival of the fully formed
twin? What of her rights to life?
What if the soul enters the body and it becomes human at birth... then what of premature babies or babies taken early purposefully via c-section? And
in further regards to the brain - we are apparently only 10 years away from the complete emulation of the human brain according to the Blue Brain
project. What is the intrinsic difference between a physical brain operating, and a virtual brain operating - emulated down to the cellular and even
chemical level - at exactly the same capacity?
Recently, a man named Rom Houben was in the news as being a case of misdiagnosed coma - a man they were ready to pull the plug on for a time because
by outside appearances, he was in a persistent vegetative state with no response to outside stimuli. By contrast, Terri Schiavo appeared awake and
responsive to stimuli - but in no apparently meaningful manner. Without knowing what was going on under the hood of their minds, how would an outside
observer judge who was brain dead and who was not? Thankfully, our ability to monitor brain activity has advanced to the point where scans of the
brain showed that Houben was actually fully aware and conscious - while Schiavo's brain was largely liquefied and was dead to all that we consider a
functioning human brain. Who was human, and who was the corpse on life support? And what, do you think, are the implications of that definition?
I think it's rather impossible to set any demonstrable and defined point at which a collection of cells becomes "human". So arguments against
abortion based on defining this line are flawed and inapplicable. I think it's more of a cultural issue we have to agree upon based on shared
morality - rather than biology or spirituality. We don't consider children to be adults until their 18th birthday - regardless of how mature or
immature their mentality may be. In my state, you cannot get a drivers license until you are 16 years old - regardless of how well and responsibly you
drive at 14 years old. Why 16? Simply because that is the point at which those in our state feel the safety and utility of having teens as a whole
drive is accepted as being greater than the risks of immature and irresponsible behavior by those of that age.
I think that abortion should be a similar cultural decision... and for the most part, it is currently.