Why Are Abortion Rights Advocates Anti-Science?

Why Are Abortion Rights Advocates Anti-Science? May 2, 2018

Biologically speaking, a human being is an organism of the species Homo sapiens.

A human zygote is an organism of the species Homo sapiens:

A human embryo is an organism of the species Homo sapiens:

Embryo: An organism in the earliest stage of development; in a man, from the time of conception to the end of the second month in the uterus.

– Dox, Ida G. et al. The Harper Collins Illustrated Medical Dictionary. New York: Harper Perennial, 1993, p. 146

A human fetus is an organism of the species Homo sapiens:

To describe an embryo or fetus scientifically and factually, one would say that a living embryo or fetus in utero is a developing organism of the species Homo Sapiens which may become a self-sustaining member of the species if no organic or environmental incident interrupts its gestation.

Dr. Paul Root Wolpe on behalf of Planned Parenthood, PP vs. Rounds, U.S. Court of Appeals

This is a fact upon which science is settled.

Physicians, biologists, and other scientists agree that conception marks the beginning of the life of a human being – a being that is alive and is a member of the human species. There is overwhelming agreement on this point in countless medical, biological, and scientific writings.

– Report, Subcommittee on Separation of Powers to Senate Judiciary Committee S-158, 97th Congress, 1st Session 1981, 7.

Whether or not human being is entitled to human rights — in other words, when a human being becomes a person — is a philosophical argument that is certainly up for debate.

I think that all human beings are persons, as all arguments otherwise rely on arbitrary, subjective criteria that would also deny human rights to certain born persons — but I acknowledge that the philosophical concept of personhood is not something that can be proved, objectively, by science.

However, we CAN determine objectively, with scientific research, the criteria for what constitutes an organism of the species Homo sapiens.

A human being meets that criteria at all stages of his or her life, from conception to death.

Just in the past few days alone, I have witnessed abortion rights supporters make the following arguments:

“Fetuses aren’t human beings any more than sperm and eggs are human beings.” False. Spermatozoa and ova are human haploid gametes, not organisms.

“Embryos/Fetuses aren’t human beings because they aren’t sentient.” False. Sentience is a philosophical concept, not a scientific one, and is not included in scientific criteria for what constitutes an organism.

“Embryos/Fetuses aren’t human beings, they are parasites.” False. Parasites must, by definition, be of a different species than their host. Embryos/fetuses are of the species Homo sapiens, just like their parents, thus they are not parasites.

“Embryos/Fetuses aren’t human beings because they can’t live outside the womb.” False. Level of dependence on one’s parents is not included in scientific criteria for what constitutes an organism.

And many more arguments along the same vein.

Abortion rights supporters who try to deny that human zygotes, embryos, and fetuses are organisms of the species Homo sapiens are similar to members of the Flat Earth Society. They are denying objective scientific fact.

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  • Speaking of denying objective facts, why isn’t any mention made that this “human being” is still developing inside a woman’s body? I’m not saying this changes the fetus’s chromosome count or anything, but it complicates the issue because the woman —though she can be erased by a blogger pushing an agenda— is also a human being, a moral agent with rights and responsibilities, and deserves to have a say in whether she carries the pregnancy to term.

  • larrymotuz

    Organically human, a zygote or embryo has life and a potential for developing into a human being with a human life. But, let’s not say that having a biological life is equivalent to having human life or agency as a human being, any more than a fertilized chicken egg is equivalent to having a chicken.

    Nor can you put people as such into such a biological straight-jacket as you have done without simultaneously denying the agency of pregnant women as full human beings in every respect, with human rights of their own and responsibilities to their family’s welfare, and the agency to decide for themselves when and if to become parents or add to their families. To presume that they must set aside all of their interests, including at times their lives and their health-life expectancy is to deny them their very humanity by making their very fertility a biological prison. To make the biological heritage of women into an inescapable prison is to deny their humanity and human rights as human beings.

    It is to deny them the liberty that G*d gave them.

  • collectivist

    Well said.

  • kyuss

    This article is really rich coming from an evolution denying fool who believes in a magic sky zombie wizard. The science is settled on evolution too.

  • ADG

    Ignorant comment – where do you get the notion that Joanna denies evolution?

  • Good_Samaritan

    Your pivot from “an organism of the species Homo sapiens” to “human being” is subtle, but did not go unnoticed.

    No one denies that a three day old zygote is “an organism of the species homo sapiens.” But I will deny that said spherical cluster of around 150 cells is a human being. It is a potential human being, but it is not a person.

  • kyuss

    She’s a catholic – the official position of the catholic church is evolution denial. Now, they’ll say that they believe in “theistic evolution” but questioning them on the specifics of that notion always leads to a mess of special pleading, just so stories and magical thinking. A catholic might think that they accept “evolution” but what they believe in is not what the Theory of Evolution is. So, while she may not deny evolution per se, acceptance of theistic evolution is just as stupid.

  • ADG

    Please show me where the Church has ever denied evolution, or has a concept of “theistic evolution”.

  • islandbrewer

    Sorry, no. Evolution, even the non-theistic kind, is perfectly compatible with Catholic doctrine, according to various popes. While many interpret this as “theistic evolution,” it’s not necessarily a doctrinal position. Normal non-theistic evolution is taught in Catholic schools, and there are several Catholic biologists who teach evolution (eg., Ken Miller [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kenneth_R._Miller]). There is, however, no “official” stance by the RCC on evolution.

    A history of evolution and the RCC:

    http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/conlaw/vaticanview.html

  • islandbrewer

    When I read the title, I had a guess as to what would be in this article, and I was almost right: (1) a dictionary definition quote, and (2) a quote from a biology textbook. Instead of a biology text quote, I got a statement from … a … Senate Judiciary Committee?!?! What? You couldn’t even scrape up an embryology text quote? Coming from a body that can’t even decide whether climate change is real, I’m not convinced of their scientific acumen.

    *heavy and long suffering sigh*

    And, of course, as Good_Samaritan points out, an elision of a “human organism” and a “human being”.

    In science, I’ve never ever seen anyone rely on dictionaries to make a point. As people far cleverer than I have said, dictionaries are descriptive, not prescriptive. Or, as Neil Carter’s Old Testament professor said, “words don’t have meanings, they have usages.”

    If talking about an “organism” in a scientific paper, I first give my own definition, because the definition is going to change from paper to paper. To some biologists, for some purposes, the 106 acres of quaking aspen that make up the Pando grove is a single organism. To others, it is not. Their usage of the term, once defined, should be consistent, but it doesn’t have to be identical to others.

    So getting back to this article, I’d ask “Why is a zygote an organism, but a sperm and ova not an organism?” Sure, you quip that sperm and ova are haploid gametes, but that doesn’t explain why they’re not organisms, in your book. What traits or qualities do organisms have? What trait does a zygote have that qualifies it as an organism that an ova does not (hint: it’s not because it’s haploid. I’ve cultured many haploid organisms).

    I’m not arguing that a zygote isn’t an organism, or that a sperm or ova are organisms. I’m pointing out that you’re not making a scientific argument. You’re making some sort of meaningless semantic argument, and pretending it’s science. Are HeLa cells organisms? A beating heart in a tray of saline? If not, articulate why not.

    And the appeal to the biology textbook? Or worse, a Senate Judiciary Committee? Wow. That’s the sort of thing only the religious would do, right? “A biology textbook is like The Bible for science, right?”

    Ugh. A textbook is instructional material meant to describe a new or complex subject to the ignorant (and I’m not using that in a pejorative way). Absolutely no scientist I know treats a textbook as some definitive source on anything.

    And of course, this is all dependent on shoehorning the concept of “human organism” into a “human being” and then into a “person”.

    If you actually want to make a scientific argument as to why a zygote is a person, define a number of traits that make a person, then show how a zygote fulfills them, and then how a kidney or a dish of stem cells doesn’t.

    Otherwise, it’s this is the same old tired schtick.

  • I disagree. You are discriminating against human beings by their level of development. A zygote is not the same as a newborn, but neither is a newborn the same as a teenager. But they are all human beings — organisms of the species homo sapiens. Do you agree that a zygote is a human being — an organism of the species homo sapiens?

    All human beings have EQUAL rights. There are some cases where the rights of two human beings conflict, such as a woman’s right to bodily autonomy conflicting with a baby’s right to life. However, in the case, the baby has the more compelling right. Pregnancy is temporary and (usually) preventable; death is permanent and irreversible. Therefore, the baby’s right supersedes that of the mother’s. Roe v. Wade acknowledged in the majority opinion that the right to bodily autonomy is not absolute.

  • As I said in the post, that is a philosophical issue, not one of science. My post above was limited only to the science of the issue.

    All human beings have EQUAL rights. There are some cases where the rights of two human beings conflict, such as a woman’s right to bodily autonomy conflicting with a baby’s right to life. However, in the case, the baby has the more compelling right. Pregnancy is temporary and (usually) preventable; death is permanent and irreversible. Therefore, the baby’s right supersedes that of the mother’s. Roe v. Wade acknowledged in the majority opinion that the right to bodily autonomy is not absolute.

  • The definition of human being: “organism of the species homo sapiens.”

    And yes, I have seen MANY people deny that a three-day-old embryo (it is no longer a zygote at that point) is a human being. Hence the reason for this post.

    As I said in the post (which you apparently didn’t read?), it’s absolutely up for debate whether or not all human beings are also human persons. What is NOT up for debate is that zygotes, embryos, and fetuses are human beings — i.e., organisms of the species homo sapiens.

  • I don’t deny evolution. Nor does the Catholic Church. In fact, in 1950 Pope Pius XII wrote an entire encyclical about how Catholicism and evolution were not mutually incompatible beliefs: http://w2.vatican.va/content/pius-xii/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-xii_enc_12081950_humani-generis.html

    Abortion is a human rights issue, not a religious issue, thus religious arguments are irrelevant. See secularprolife.org for more info.

  • islandbrewer

    The definition of human being: “organism of the species homo sapiens.”

    As I mentioned in my own post above (or below), dictionaries definitions are descriptive, not prescriptive. Terms in biology, particularly those that do double duty in science and layman’s speech, are particularly bad to rely on.

    If you want to argue that a zygote is a human being, tell us the traits necessary to make something a human being, and then show how a zygote fulfills them.

  • You’re taking a very reductionist view of this matter, as if the way you scientifically define a human organism makes all other matters irrelevant.

    Preventing a child from being born isn’t the same as murdering an infant. We have no way of knowing in any hypothetical case why the woman is considering abortion, and it’s not persuasive to merely say that there’s no permissible reason to terminate a pregnancy. Even in the developed USA, hundreds of women still die in childbirth every year; your implication that pregnancy and childbirth are some sort of walk in the park is unwarranted. If a woman wants to take that risk, that should be up to her.

    I’m sorry if it seems like I’m more comfortable dehumanizing a zygote or fetus than an adult woman, but I guess that’s true. I’m willing to err on the side of caution and say that a woman should be able to make her own family planning decisions.

  • kyuss

    Then try and make a secular argument against abortion.
    I am well aware off what the Catholic church believes. their version of “evolution” is scientifically illiterate bullshit.

  • kyuss

    No its not. Where in the theory of evolution doers it say humans are ensouled? No where.

  • islandbrewer

    And… that’s relevant why? Are we shifting from “evolution denial” to “evolution coupled with theological concepts”?

  • kyuss

    Concerning human evolution, the Church has a more definite teaching. It allows for the possibility that man’s body developed from previous biological forms, under God’s guidance, but it insists on the special creation of his soul.
    You’re an idiot ADG

  • Good_Samaritan

    I did read your post. While you did say you ” acknowledge that the philosophical concept of personhood is not something that can be proved, objectively, by science,” and that “[w]hether or not human being is entitled to human rights — in other words, when a human being becomes a person — is a philosophical argument that is certainly up for debate,” I believe you did so disingenuously.

    At least in my opinion, you use the phrase “human being” to mean “person” throughout the post. “Human being” is a loaded term. It is not “an organism of the species homo sapiens,” but implies more than that. Most definitions I have seen of “human being” are “a person.”

    My complaint is that you switched terms from “an organism of the species homo sapiens,” to “human being, ” a term with different meaning, without any real justification. You did quote some congressional report from the 80’s but, I am sorry, the Reagan Congress was not a scientific body, and is committing the same fallacy as you.

    You close with: “Abortion rights supporters who try to deny that human zygotes, embryos, and fetuses are organisms of the species Homo sapiens…,” pivoting back to “organism of the species homo sapiens,” after discussing arguments that say fetuses aren’t “human beings.”

    This is the flaw in your argument. Equivocation. “An organism of the species homo sapiens” does not mean the same thing as “human being.”

  • islandbrewer

    “Human being” is totally a term of art.

  • Good_Samaritan

    Thing is, that is not the definition of “human being.”

    noun
    1.
    any individual of the genus Homo, especially a member of the species Homo sapiens.
    2.
    a person, especially as distinguished from other animals or as representing the human species:

    : a man, woman, or child : person

    : a person

    This is just a huge equivocation fallacy.

  • islandbrewer

    I see it as just a semantic game to her. Step one, fish for a definition that suit one’s needs, step two, shoehorn it into an argument.

  • Giauz Ragnarock

    Such a secular anti-choice argumentation is basically what Jefferson did to the Bible:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vpnUNeaYedA

  • Giauz Ragnarock

    The Zygote is potentially a spontaneous abortion, one human being, multiple human beings, conjoined human beings, a human being that ate its sibling(s) and now has a parasitic twin(s), a biological chimera with multiple different DNA making up different parts of their body, a deadly non-viable parasite that injures up to killing the pregnant person, a cancerous tumor, etc. Ensoulment happens sometime during the processes called conception, though.

  • Giauz Ragnarock

    So getting back to this article, I’d ask “Why is a zygote an organism, but a sperm and ova not an organism?”

    I’m not sure about human ova, but human sperm cells are definitely autonomous human haploid organisms. I could ejaculate, spontaneously combust into a pile of ash, and my “spermabies” would be just fine moving around for the rest of their lives in their semeny universe relatively long after I ceased to exist. The tough little guys can even be frozen and woken up after over 40 YEARS to suicidally charge up some person’s vagina into the egg that will “murder it to eat it’s genetic code” (wouldn’t it be funny if the Holy Spirit was dead all along because Mary’s egg that became Jesus ate the ghost in lieu of spooge!).

  • larrymotuz

    In the mad pursuit of protecting ‘human life’ in the womb, you insist upon not protecting hers in the world. That is not a moral choice; and, if it were, it would not be your choice to make for her. It was the choice ‘made for’ Savita Halappanavar by people like you who think that human life is merely defined biologically: organically as if that is all that is implied by having human life and agency as a human being living her life.

    Her death was forced upon her by cruel human beings who had no regard for her life and who most definitely do not “Love their neighbors as they love themselves”, loving theologies and doctrines far more than people themselves. The bottom line is that they place no value on human life while madly claiming the opposite.

    I call these hypocritsians.

    They are like the Borg saying your lives and your culture will be assimilated to serve us. Resistance is futile.

    Human beings must resist them always.

  • Savita died of sepsis. Abortion is not a treatment for sepsis. The coroner ruled that abortion would not have changed the outcome of her case. The problem was that doctors were negligent in recognizing the signs and symptoms of sepsis and thus treated her too late.

  • larrymotuz

    The Doctrine of the Immaculate Conception was specific to Mary, however. It did not resolve the ‘ensoulment’ debate. That came later in Roman Catholic theology.

  • “Preventing a child from being born isn’t the same as murdering an infant.”

    Smothering a newborn in their sleep isn’t the same as running over a toddler with your car. So? They both constitute deliberately killing an innocent human being.

    Direct abortion is never necessary to save the life of a mother. See http://www.dublindeclaration.com.

    I am 100% in favor of women making their own family planning decisions. However, deliberately killing an innocent human being is not a “family planning decision.” It is a human rights violation.

    I am sorry you feel “comfortable” dehumanizing human beings. That is a characteristic that other oppressors throughout history have shared. For an example of similar logic, slave owners were very comfortable dehumanizing black people so they could utilize free labor.

    I would rethink that philosophy, if I were you.

  • sure, here you go:

    “Human development begins after the union of male and female gametes or germ cells during a process known as fertilization (conception).
    “Fertilization is a sequence of events that begins with the contact of a sperm (spermatozoon) with a secondary oocyte (ovum) and ends with the fusion of their pronuclei (the haploid nuclei of the sperm and ovum) and the mingling of their chromosomes to form a new cell. This fertilized ovum, known as a zygote, is a large diploid cell that is the beginning, or primordium, of a human being.” — Moore, Keith L. Essentials of Human Embryology. Toronto: B.C. Decker Inc, 1988, p.2

    Let me know if you want more. I have quite a few.

  • Re: parasites being of a different species.

    A parasite is defined as an organism of one species living in or on an organism of another species (a heterospecific relationship) and deriving its nourishment from the host (is metabolically dependent on the host). See Cheng, T.C., General Parasitology, p. 7, 1973.

  • larrymotuz

    She died of sepsis, but that was very curable had she been given the abortion she needed to live before it advanced to the stage that killed her.

    In other words, her death was preventable had common medical sense prevailed.

  • Well, if you ever wonder why people consider pro-lifers incapable of civil discussion, just remember how many times you played the baby-killer card in that brief post instead of using anything resembling empathy or reason.

    And since you drew first blood in comparing me to a slave owner, I’ll remind you that by your own logic, at the instant of conception an adult woman becomes nothing more morally significant than an incubating machine, a fleshy outer covering for the fetus, a broodmare that has no rights over what goes on in its own body.

  • Sperm cells are not organisms. They are human haploid gametes. A gamete is a reproductive cell that is part of a larger organism, not an organism in and of itself.

    “The development of a human being begins with fertilization, a process by which two highly specialized cells, the spermatozoon from the male and the oocyte from the female, unite to give rise to a new organism, the zygote.” – Langman, Jan. Medical Embryology. 3rd edition. Baltimore: Williams and Wilkins, 1975, p. 3

  • Um, “an organism of the species homo sapiens” is the definition of “human being” from a scientific, biological standpoint. See: https://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/human-being

    Your equivocation is that “human being” means “human person,” but that is a philosophical distinction, not one that can be proven in the fields of biology or embryology.

  • I’m not interested in a definition that suits my needs. I’m interested in the truth. The truth is that, from a scientific, biological standpoint, a human being is defined as “an organism of the species homo sapiens.” Even Dr. Peter Singer, a philosopher who is adamantly pro-choice — to the point where he advocates for infanticide — acknowledges this, as I quoted above:

    “It is possible to give ‘human being’ a precise meaning. We can use it as equivalent to ‘member of the species Homo sapiens’. Whether a being is a member of a given species is something that can be determined scientifically, by an examination of the nature of the chromosomes in the cells of living organisms. In this sense there is no doubt that from the first moments of its existence an embryo conceived from human sperm and eggs is a human being.” — Dr. Peter Singer, “Practical Ethics,” 2nd Ed.

  • larrymotuz

    Second reply:

    The evidence given at the inquest shows unequivocally that Halappanavar would have received different treatment in a different jurisdiction. Astbury admitted as much, and expert witness Dr Peter Boylan has said Halappanavar would most likely be alive if she’d been given a termination, as she requested, within two days of admission to hospital.

    Source: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/apr/19/savita-halappanavar-abortion-midwife

    Add to this that she was a trained medical professional and that, had she lived, she would most probably have had children … if only she’d been permitted to live.

  • Not to hear JoAnna tell it, but the problem was that at every moment in the agonizing last days of Savita’s life, her health and safety were considered incidental to the viability of the fetus. If she had been given the abortion she requested (five days before her death), she wouldn’t have developed sepsis in the first place.

  • Ensoulment is not a scientific concept so it has no place in the abortion debate. I am also not sure how belief in ensoulment precludes belief in evolution. I believe in both.

    I have a book recommendation for you: https://amzn.to/2HOeYI4

  • Here is the secular argument against abortion: http://www.secularprolife.org/abortion

  • larrymotuz

    Absolutely!

  • You can absolutely believe that the Catholic Church’s version of evolution is scientifically illiterate bullshit. But I am not arguing against abortion from the standpoint of Catholicism. I am arguing against it from the standpoint of embryology, biology, and human rights philosophy. You’re engaging in the red herring fallacy by trying to change the subject to the Church’s stance on evolution.

  • Good_Samaritan

    JoAnna Mod Good_Samaritan • 5 minutes ago
    “Um, “an organism of the species homo sapiens” is the definition of “human being” from a scientific, biological standpoint. See: https://www.encyclopedia.co…”

    First, that isn’t the definition you linked. that reads:

    “a man, woman, or child of the species Homo sapiens, distinguished from other animals by superior mental development, power of articulate speech, and upright stance.”

    No mention of “an organism of the species homo sapiens.”

    Second, “human being” is not a scientific term used in biology. Its a term of art we use to describe a person.

  • larrymotuz

    The official position of the Catholic Church accepts evolution.

  • kyuss

    As I made it clear in my comments – the catholic church accepts THEISTIC evolution, which is scientifically illiterate claptrap.

  • ​Abortion is not treatment for sepsis.

    Savita died from mismanaged sepsis. That is the official verdict from three independent reports following her tragic death. Prof Mc Aullife, spokesperson for the Institute of Gynaecologists, stated that there is “no evidence that they (doctors) are letting people die.” Dr Divakar President Elect of the Federation of Obstetrics and Gynaecological Studies of India ( FOGSI) 2013 -2014, stated “based on information in the media,in that situation of septacemia, if the doctors had meddled with the live baby, Savita would have died two days earlier”. The Solicitor for her husband Praveen Halappanaver stated that subsequently “he never claimed that a termination would have saved his wife’s life”. The journalist Kitty Holland who broke Savita’s confidence, and broke the story, later admitted that the facts may have been “muddled”. Even Dr Sam Coulter Smith then Master of the Rotunda stated that ” this case has little to do with our abortion laws”.

    *****
    Savita’s husband:

    http://www.pressreader.com/ireland/irish-independent/20130227/281728381932625

    Savita died of Sepsis. Kitty Holland is the Irish Times pro choice journalist who has had two abortions and who broke the news of Savita’s death under the heading ‘Woman denied termination dies in hospital’.

    In an interview with a radio program called Coleman at Large on Newstalk, she was questioned about her report and the story started to fall apart. She admitted that some facts were ‘muddled’ and that there probably was ‘no request for a termination’. The very next day Savita’s husband says he never claimed abortion would have saved his wife. The hospital records show there was no request for an abortion even though requests as trivial as a cup of tea were dutifully recorded.

    Dr. Divakar — president of the Federation of Obstetric and Gynecological Societies of India told The Hindu newspaper that: “in that situation of septicemia, if the doctors had meddled with the live baby, Savita would have died two days earlier.”

    Doctors know they can intervene at any stage if the mother’s life is endangered. A dilation and evacuation can take up to two days to complete because the cervix has to be fully dilated in order to remove the fetus. Labour and delivery involves induction which is basically going into full blown labor. In the case of an already progressing miscarriage, medical professionals view it as safer and less traumatic to let the miscarriage complete naturally.

    Unfortunately the medical team missed 13 flags for sepsis and by the time anyone knew what was happening it was already too late. Her blood test taken on Sunday but was not acted on until the following Wednesday, so for three days hospital staff were blithely going about their business unaware of the seriousness of her situation and there was a complete breakdown of procedures and protocols. The fact is that the abortion law was not implicated in Savita’s tragic death. A fact confirmed and validated in three separate, independent reports. Those reports were by
    (i) HIQA
    (ii) the HSE
    (iii) the State Coroner

  • larrymotuz

    You brought up ‘ensoulment’ at conception in this discussion. Don’t you remember?

  • kyuss

    It’s scientifically illiterate nonsense. The actual Theory of Evolution doesn’t need your supernatural bullshit.

  • Abortion is not the treatment for sepsis. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4031877/

  • Shem, your facts are wrong.

    Savita died from mismanaged sepsis. That is the official verdict from three independent reports following her tragic death. Prof Mc Aullife, spokesperson for the Institute of Gynaecologists, stated that there is “no evidence that they (doctors) are letting people die.” Dr Divakar President Elect of the Federation of Obstetrics and Gynaecological Studies of India (FOGSI) 2013 -2014, stated “based on information in the media,in that situation of septacemia, if the doctors had meddled with the live baby, Savita would have died two days earlier”. The Solicitor for her husband Praveen Halappanaver stated that subsequently “he never claimed that a termination would have saved his wife’s life”. The journalist Kitty Holland who broke Savita’s confidence, and broke the story, later admitted that the facts may have been “muddled”. Even Dr Sam Coulter Smith then Master of the Rotunda stated that ” this case has little to do with our abortion laws”.

    *****
    Savita’s husband:

    http://www.pressreader.com/ireland/irish-independent/20130227/281728381932625

    Savita died of Sepsis. Kitty Holland is the Irish Times pro choice journalist who has had two abortions and who broke the news of Savita’s death under the heading
    ‘Woman denied termination dies in hospital’.

    In an interview with a radio program called Coleman at Large on Newstalk, she was questioned about her report and the story started to fall apart. She admitted that some facts were ‘muddled’ and that there probably was ‘no request for a termination’. The very next day Savita’s husband says he never claimed abortion would have saved his wife. The hospital records show there was no request for an abortion even though requests as trivial as a cup of tea were dutifully recorded.

    Dr. Divakar — president of the Federation of Obstetric and Gynecological Societies of India told The Hindu newspaper that: “in that situation of septicemia, if the doctors had meddled with the live baby, Savita would have died two days earlier.”

    Doctors know they can intervene at any stage if the mother’s life is endangered. A dilation and evacuation can take up to two days to complete because the cervix has to be fully dilated in order to remove the fetus. Labour and delivery involves induction which is basically going into full blown labor. In the case of an already progressing miscarriage, medical professionals view it as safer and less traumatic to let the miscarriage complete naturally.

    Unfortunately the medical team missed 13 flags for sepsis and by the time anyone knew what was happening it was already too late. Her blood test taken on Sunday but was not acted on until the following Wednesday, so for three days hospital staff were blithely going about their business unaware of the seriousness of her situation and there was a complete breakdown of procedures and protocols. The fact is that the abortion law was not implicated in Savita’s tragic death. A fact confirmed and validated in three separate, independent reports. Those reports were by
    (i) HIQA
    (ii) the HSE
    (iii) the State Coroner

  • Shem, do you know what an analogy is? I did not compare anyone to a slave owner. I compared the LOGIC to that of a slave owner.

    Do you think that slave owners were comfortable dehumanizing human beings to justify enslaving them? I do.

  • larrymotuz

    I stand by the Guardian and the view of medical experts that termination when she asked for it as a medical professional herself (and antibiotics if sepsis had begun would have saved her life and, obviously, her ability to become a mother.

    Note that her waters had broken. Note that she was told this made giving birth to a healthy child an impossibility for it would miscarry. Note that she was told she was at risk of developing sepsis. Note that she was given antibiotics to prevent sepsis but also that these did not prevent the risk of sepsis. Note that she was told that because a fetal heartbeat was detected, she was being denied termination despite the reality that there was no chance of a healthy delivery whatever.

  • I at least made it clear that I would rather “dehumanize” a bundle of cells, or a fetus that hadn’t even fully developed yet and was still gestating in its mother’s uterus, rather than dehumanize an adult woman and reduce her to an incubating machine.

    You, however, have no such qualms about forcing a woman to undergo a pregnancy and childbirth just to satisfy your piety, regardless of the physical, emotional, financial, or social reason she’s reluctant to continue her preganancy.

    So please, don’t try to claim the moral high ground here.

  • larrymotuz

    Like it or not, the Catholic Church is theistic. So are most religions. It espouses the view that G*d created the the world and all within it. It does not, however, place any limit on how G*d did so, thereby saying, in effect, that how G*d did this is a matter for science to examine if it can.

    It does not, for example, contrast the Big Bang with the workings of G*d as do ‘creationists’ who deny that G*d might work in ways that they reject.

    Though I am not a Catholic, I know this. So should you. The Catholic position is, in essence, that theism does not rule out evolution.

    I have no problem with that viewpoint.

  • Good_Samaritan

    Peter Singer is a philosopher, not a biologist. Stop saying that “from a scientific, biological standpoint, a human being is defined as ‘an organism of the species homo sapiens,'” because it is not true. You have found one person, a non-scientist, who provided you with a useful definition of human being and you are running with it. Stop being so dishonest.

  • islandbrewer

    This definition describes an entire species. For example, an ichneumon wasp is a “parasite” under this definition, even when it’s not engaging in parasitism.

    The point is that an implanted embryo or fetus is “an organism that lives on or in a host and gets its food from or at the expense of its host” regardless as to whether it meets a cherry-picked definition of parasite. It violates the personal and bodily autonomy of the woman in whom it is implanted. The argument can be made without arguing over whether or not it fits a particular defrinition.

  • islandbrewer

    Yipee. You DO realize that the issue wasn’t whether your little quote came from the Senate Judiciary Committee or a biology text, right?

    Or did you not really read that very carefully?

  • islandbrewer

    Yes, sperm are haploid gametes. Why are haploid gametes not organisms?

    Organism (noun): (1) an individual animal, plant, or single-celled life form, (2) any individual entity that exhibits the properties of life.

    So, why isn’t a single sperm cell, metabolizing and living separate from the testicles that spewed it, not an organism?

    (Note: if you gleefully parrot the “haploid gamete” line again, you will forever be consigned to the bin of screeching unthinking dimwits who can’t contemplate their own arguments before making them.)

  • islandbrewer

    “an organism of the species homo sapiens” is the definition of “human being”

    Then stop calling it a human being. Just call it a human organism if you actually believe it’s the same thing.

    Scientists don’t really talk about “human beings” or the definition thereof. “Human being” is a waffly vague and emotionally-laden term used by philosophers and people who don’t understand the biology their talking about. The only reason I can think of to use the term is because it’s so easily conflated with “person” in common parlance.

    THAT IS WHAT YOU’RE TRYING TO DO, RIGHT?

    And I don’t consider encyclopedia.com to be a ” scientific, biological standpoint” exactly.

    JoAnna, can you possibly make one single argument without resorting to citing a dictionary or mechanically spewing an arbitrary definition?

  • islandbrewer

    You are a cut-and-paste champion, JoAnna.

  • islandbrewer

    Do Catholic theologians still talk about “ensoulment” now that their argument is that a zygote is a person from the moment of fertilization?

  • islandbrewer

    ​Abortion is not treatment for sepsis.

    Except in Savita’s case, it would have been, and would have saved her life.

  • larrymotuz

    The argument of the present Magisterium is that the ‘soul’ has been infused at conception and that this ‘ensoulment’ means that a ‘person’ is present at the moment of conception. If so, it is an argument that God ‘ensouls’ many ‘persons’ who will never be born, since up to 60 per cent of all conceptions are either not naturally implanted in the womb or become spontaneously miscarried during pregnancies.

  • islandbrewer

    Do they have a position about what happens when an embryo splits into identical twins? Is there a second “ensoulment” or is one twin … soulless *cue creepy music*? And if there’s a dizygotic chimeric embryo, does it have two souls? Does one soul “die”? If so, how do you determine which soul is dead and which one is alive?

    Sorry. Brain flying away with questions.

  • islandbrewer

    That was simultaneously both a great and cringeworthy debate. It almost made me feel sorry for Kristine (almost).

  • larrymotuz

    The simple answer is that the Magisterium avoids looking at such matters, for doing so –now that this ensoulment at conception has been adopted as its authoritative teaching– could lead to questions about their infallibility. When arguing, they only cite the authoritative teachngs they have come to realize support their views. Other teachings –even of Popes and prior Magesteriums– are clearly non-authoritative since they disagree with the current Magisterium’s teachings.

  • larrymotuz

    Precisely!

    And I just love

    Or, as Neil Carter’s Old Testament professor said, “words don’t have meanings, they have usages.”

  • Giauz Ragnarock

    Insects like the Atlas moth are basically highly mobile complex gametes. They don’t even have mouths to eat! They exist for the sole purpose of spreading the immature state’s genes.

  • Giauz Ragnarock

    Also, if Jesus was fully God and fully man, was he also MORE THAN FULLY not either? A bacterial, fungi, tiny insect, leftover virus DNA savior?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QOCaacO8wus

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQVmkDUkZT4

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VzPD009qTN4

  • Giauz Ragnarock

    Yeah, about that “infallibility” thing (really the whole program is a treat, but this relates specifically to your comment)…

    https://youtu.be/FnRx4isyMxc?t=1124

  • Giauz Ragnarock

    When Savita was part of her mother’s body, she was golden. When it came time that she could become pregnant, she was just these Christians’ broken toaster. They could always do the same to more toasters and all the ones to be made in the future.

    George Carlin prophesied every Savita Halappanavar who will ever exist with these anti-choice Christians in power:

    https://youtu.be/AvF1Q3UidWM?t=19

  • Giauz Ragnarock

    JoAnna makes the analogy that pro-choice people are like Christians who made slaves bear children and made those children bear children and justified it all with Jesus’, LORD GOD of the Bible, quote:

    Exodus 21:4
    But if his master gave him a wife, and she hath borne sons and daughters: the woman and her children shall be her master’s

    I think I hear the universe dying as billions of irony meters go nuclear…

  • larrymotuz

    Very interesting. Bookmarked!

  • Anthrotheist

    I am reminded of what I believe is the most nauseatingly misogynistic view I have ever heard: “You know what a woman is? A life support system for a f***able p***y.”

    It astounds me when anti-abortion advocates don’t get why their position is misogynistic, when (as you point out) that position treats any woman who gets pregnant as a life support system for the embryo first and (maybe) a person second.

  • Anthrotheist

    I’m curious. By this highly inclusive definition, wouldn’t a recently deceased person still be a human being? After all, even though they don’t have a heartbeat or brain function, many of their cells are still alive and functioning, and they certainly have homo sapien DNA.

    If we extend to the underlying purpose of this post, which presumably is to set up foundational definitions for treating embryos with full human rights and privileges from conception, wouldn’t those rights and privileges also have to extend to every dead person? Performing medical procedures on a person without consent is assault, which would have to include practices like autopsies and embalming. For that matter, burying them underground or burning them would be criminal. At what point would they stop being a person who must have rights? Anything less than the death of every single human cell in the body presents another arbitrary line like the ones protested in this article.

  • islandbrewer

    Love that series.

  • Ame

    Those cells will use up whatever stores of energy are left. They’re dying. But your argument just shows the small window of opportunity for viable organ donation as well as the need for a respectful burial the dead, you know, rather than throwing bodies in the trash….which is what is done to aborted embryos and fetuses.

    Thanks to research on stem cell transfer through the placenta, your mother, and any siblings after you, has your living stem cells. Your argument, rather than being facetious, is actually worthy of contemplation of what that means if a mother aborts her children, but has those cells living in her body and other bodies.

  • Ame

    You can call it a parasite, but you cannot be an adult human being now without this necessary stage of development. So yay for philosophical nihilism being injected into biology. How is that going to work for the survival of the species? Do we really need to do a Brave New World to grow humans in artificial wombs? Have you really thought of the end game to your philosophy that cannot tolerate a simple concept of interdependence within a species? There are some things that require consent and something’s that don’t, like zygote implantation as a product of conception, stem cell transfer through the placenta…..and changing baby diapers.

  • Ame

    Those sperm cells will run out of energy and die if you don’t freeze them. They lack the genetic self-determination and tendency to survive brought about conception, specific to human being as genetically destined to be a multi-cellular, multi-organ, multi-system organism. Ugh, this idea of yours is leftover medievalist theories on the nature of sperm, NOT science.

  • islandbrewer

    You can call it a parasite, but you cannot be an adult human being now without this necessary stage of development.

    Aaand … so? It’s still parasitism.

    So yay for philosophical nihilism being injected into biology.

    Oh, please. Don’t be so easily triggered. It’s not “philosophical nihilism,” it’s a perfectly accurate biological description of dependency.

    How is that going to work for the survival of the species?

    The same way it’s been working since placental mammals evolved. What did you think I was proposing?

    Do we really need to do a Brave New World to grow humans in artificial wombs? Have you really thought of the end game to your philosophy that cannot tolerate a simple concept of interdependence within a species?

    Oh sweet monkey Jesus on a pogo stick! What is it that you think I was proposing? Really? What have I said that implies that I “cannot tolerate a simple concept of interdependence within a species”?

    Or is it that you’re buying into the anti-abortion fever-dream narrative that we somehow “want all abortions all the time”?

  • islandbrewer

    They lack the genetic self-determination …

    There is no such thing as “genetic self-determination,” so you are correct, unless you mean it to mean something unique to your narrative that isn’t self-evident. “Genetic self-determination” sounds like some half-assed term made up by writers of bad TV shows, or basement philosophers pretending to understand biology than they actually do.

    A zygote will also run out of energy (and mass) when it isn’t parasitizing a larger host. The same is true of all cells and cell masses, whether they’re an “organism” or not.

    Ugh, this teleological perspective you have of biology is NOT science.

  • Ame

    Genes and mitochondria are instructions for the building and destruction of proteins for the orchestration of all physiological processes of an organism of a given species. Mutations to those genes change either form or function or both. They do what is in the nature of their programming to do. So it is a self-determination as long as you don’t necessarily equate that to sentience.
    And sperm don’t have mitochondria, so if I really wanted to be facetious I can say that that sperm being autonomous is sexist when only ovum have mitochondria, and thus are biologically superior.
    Again, parasites is a term that is only correct if a different species is inhabiting another. But you know, there is a possibility of what looks like parasitic behaviour is really a symbiosis is occurring. That’s a word more akin to what’s going on in pregnancy. Yes for about 9 months a human being is ( that IS the genetic nature of mammals) dependent on its biological mother’s body but it not like the mother gets nothing good in return, even in bad experiences in pregnancy and childbirth, there is an exchange of hormones and stem cells with potential benefit to the mother. Forgive my language, but shit, have you not heard of the “doping” some women athletes do to intentionally get pregnant and have an abortion? We’ve only scratched the surface of the science of pregnancy and human development.

  • Ame

    Dude, do you want science or do you want to ignore reality?

  • Ame

    I am proposing, again,that a more correct word is symbiosis.

  • islandbrewer

    That would be predicated on a relationship that’s mutually beneficial to both organisms. A pregnant woman doesn’t benefit herself from the pregnancy “qua organism” – except in evolutionary terms, it benefits the likelihood of raising progeny to a point where they’d have progeny, you know, F2s.

    But the woman doesn’t gain any physical or nutritional benefit. To the contrary, pregnancy is pretty detrimental to a woman’s health, both the immediate risks in the short term, and in degradation to her long-term health should she survive.

    That’s not symbiosis.

  • Ame

    You completely glossed over the exchange of hormones and stem cells. If that doesn’t matter, then let’s stop wasting money on hormonal replacement and stem cell research.

  • Ame

    Also are those detriments simply because we have a long way to go in the care of women in medicine? Maternal mortally rates are dropping in most of the world, except in the U.S. where we expect women to work while pregnant and 6-8 weeks after birth, if you are lucky to get any kind of maternal leave benefit from their employer.

  • islandbrewer

    I didn’t get into detail, but I also didn’t mention preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, anemia, increased frequency of UTIs, increased frequency of depression, Hyperemesis Gravidarum (a severe dehydration caused by HCG levels that skyrocket), uterine tearing, and I’m sure several others that I can’t think of at the moment.

    You seemed to have glossed over those. Maybe you might want to do more research on a subject than a rather facile citation of “exchange of hormones and stem cells.”

  • islandbrewer

    I agree! We should have a nationwide policy of paid medical leave for pregnancy and childbirth, and paid maternity and paternity leave for all new parents for up to a year post partum.

    And those deficit in mortality rates between the US and other countries is inarguably because of the US’ really broken and schizophrenic attitude towards healthcare, and the right to healthcare.

    Personally, I believe healthcare should be a publicly funded right, like basic education.

    But even in countries with premium prenatal care, pregnancy is still a potentially dangerous condition, where the risks to a woman’s health are greater than some unenumerated benefits of some hormones and stem cells.

  • Anthrotheist

    You present an interesting consideration, regarding the treatment of dead human material. I feel that it is unfortunate that it is just one more point in a long list of considerations raised by treating zygotes and fetuses as not only human materials (which they undeniably are) but as fully-considered persons. Legal age (and the myriad concerns associated), citizenship status, and determining cause of death of any aborted pregnancy (particularly considering the self-aborted ones, aka. miscarriages) are just the beginning. Tellingly, even the self-described pro-lifers fail to address these other necessary considerations of personhood-at-conception, which makes it easy for opponents to define them instead as being only anti-abortion.

    The point I tried to make is that it isn’t about a biological mass being “human” in nature; cancer cells are human in origin, they don’t deserve personhood. The “cycle of life” consideration is potentially valid (cancer cells can never be expected to develop into autonomous human beings), but it still only describes potentiality at the expense of current manifest conditions. This is what differentiates zygotes from corpses: the zygote represents potential for a person, the deceased describes a formerly alive person whose potential for life has entirely expired. One only exists as an imagined projection of the future, the other represents the physical remains of an actual person’s past.

    As to your second point, I honestly have no idea what your intended point is. Having one’s cells embedded in another person is little more than a micro-scale transplant. What does it mean if a mother has a transplanted organ in her body after the donor has died? The fact that one of those examples could only have become a biologically autonomous person via the extended seizure of a woman’s body, and the other was a voluntary donation from a self-autonomous and (apparently) altruistic donation of their body speaks poorly for the pro-life stance from a position of personal consent.

  • Ame

    I can get vaccine injury, a horrible condition to suffer with, from immunizations but that is not going to stop me from getting them for myself or my children. There is risk for everything. Rather than looking at these possible risks from pregnancy as an excuse to say that abortion is safer (which is really not if the regulatory bodies for abortion providers refuse to revise protocols to prevent something like sepsis and cry ” but but you’re keeping women from abortions ” when the government steps in)…I suggest we put pressure on alleged womens groups to fund research for better maternal care and post-partum support and demand regulation. The good news is that Feminists for Life tries it’s hardest to do that despite so few members in comparison to NARAL and PP… organizations that are more concerned about raising money to endorse donate to Democrat Party politicians. PP is becoming the Big Tobacco and NRA of the abortion rights movement.

  • Ame

    I don’t think we need to go to single payer nationwide, but keep it as a as an option in the states. I think patient choice is very important, which is severely lacking in Medicare and Medicaid programs and doctors are burning out from having to stay in compliance with those programs. There are new delivery/reimbursement models for doctors in members in particular associations that utilize a monthly payment system and ancillary care approach. Health pooling groups are making health care more affordable, but as small as they are, they do have to consider the issue of preexisting conditions. Some groups have a system that if a person doesn’t qualify, they can at least use funds from members who donate extra money. I keep floating the idea of universal care for only birth to 18 years, but the issue of patient choice still is too important to compromise.

  • Ame

    Another thought, while in some cancer cases it is necessary in getting a hysterectomy, ridding a woman of a troublesome uterus is not without potentially devastating effects. When my mother got a hysterectomy, the doctor’s only said she MIGHT get mild menopausal symptoms. She had severe menopausal symptoms and developed horrible depression and anxiety. She never really recovered and got to go through menopause again when her ovaries gave out at the appropriate time. But at least she is not dying of cancer. Just wish the field of medicine would care for women better than this. EVERY ob-gyn practice should have a team with an endocrinologist, a clinical psychologist, an NFP practitioner, and perhaps a physical therapist and social worker.

  • Giauz Ragnarock

    I’m not talking about

    https://vignette.wikia.nocookie.net/fma/images/c/ca/Fma2_intro.jpg

    I was simply observing that like the many other haploid organisms on earth, they exist apart from me. All things run out of energy and die. Some lifeforms are simple enough that they can freeze and come back to life when thawed.

    https://78.media.tumblr.com/41da04b9b895a2f804bb29bb340a435f/tumblr_osd2l9ku4k1sk2szio1_400.jpg

  • Ame

    God identifies the difference in souls even when we cannot. The best we can do is err on the side that whatever genetic possibility the human arose from, the soul(s) was/were present in from the beginning. The soul is present regardless of any errors in or replication of genome. So matters in bioethics are not fully resolved through theology, but the Catholic Church does allow room for an evolution of understanding of the created world. Principles of assuming every body has a living soul, whether that body is alive or dead, and any action to a person should do no harm must guide these discussions. The point of conception as the sperm enters egg is the natural beginning. When things go wrong or if we are messing around with how a human is created, we will need a discussion as to what constitutes conception.

    If a human were to be cloned, the unrepeatabilty of the soul means that the soul of this new body is not one that is the same as, nor shared by, the soul of the original person. A new soul for a new body. Theoretically the clone, like identical twins or other multiples, interact with the environment and will have just enough variety in genomic and phenomic expression to show a different human being from the others. It just may require a more specialized analysis for this difference to be apparent. I recommend reading articles by bioethicist Fr Tad Pacholczyk if you wish to to learn more how biology informs Catholicism and vice versa.

  • Ame

    Or it could be that the humans of the Church are not God and cannot possibly have the answers to infinite questions all at once…at least not in this life. Infallibility applies to faith and morals only, not in developing understanding of how science informs theology and vice versa. Infallibility is not about having all the right answers, it’s about God preventing major errors happening from knowledge of true worship of God and knowledge of what it means to love thy neighbor as oneself. I know there are popular myths and legends regarding Church and science, but if you wish to explore possible interpretations of events in a truly agnostic and non-finger pointing way, I recommend the James Burke Connections series.

  • islandbrewer

    … will have just enough variety in genomic and phenomic expression to show a different human being from the others…

    *cringe* No.

    Differences in the genome and the (I really have always despised this ridiculous term) phenome don’t make “different” people (and the elision of person and “human being” didn’t go unnoticed). Even with indistinguishable phenotypes and morphology and identical genomes, two people will be different because they have different experiences, thoughts, decisions, perspectives.

    In short, they are two different people, regardless of shape, appearance, or sequence of DNA, or any mythical supernatural undetectable “soul,” because they are two different minds. A mind is what distinguishes a person from a lump of meat.

  • Ame

    Hhhmmm…. you tell me that I am wrong but basically you said the same thing regarding phenomes and genomes, just minus a belief in the soul…which is fine for you to believe but as long as you and other people are either making assumptions about or asking questions about the role of science in Catholic theology, then do expect someone with some knowledge of both to come along one day to answer back. And read from Fr. Tad Pacholczyk. And at least appreciate that Catholics have contributed to science too ( Fr. Georges Lemaitre, Fr Gregor Mendel, Fr Teilhard de Chardin, etc.).

  • Ame

    Oh, I am glad that you recognize that a human has a mind from the moment of its creation/conception. Two points for you

  • islandbrewer

    you recognize that a human has a mind from the moment of its creation/conception.

    Where did I say that, JoAnne? Please quote where I say that? Are you being intentionally disingenuous, or just really not getting it?

    Negative 2 points for you for projecting.

    The mind is a product of the brain, and a complete synaptic network. Without it, there is no mind, no consciousness. An embryo lacks the biological machinery for consciousness, and thus, is not a person. It is, thus, a lump of meat.

    Were you trying to twist that perspective to your own point on purpose, or did you really not understand that?

  • islandbrewer

    How the flying … where do you get that? Please do stop being tedious, JoAnne.

    You were the one who brought up this nonsense about genomes and phenomes defining different people.

  • Ame

    I am not Jo Anne….?!?

  • Ame

    I think you are not following the conversation as well as you think you are.

  • Ame

    Island Brewer, I am not Jo Anne. If you want me to stop replying to you, then just say so. I suspect you reported my last reply to you as spam. Please do not make the mods needlessly angry at me because of your inability to distinguish me from Jo Anne.

    And if you are not responsible, then my apologies. I’ll leave you alone here on out, regardless.

  • larrymotuz

    Will look it up. Thank you.

  • Ame

    Happy to oblige.

  • islandbrewer

    My apologies. You sound like her, I thought you might have been a sock puppet.

  • islandbrewer

    Ok, so point out where I said such a thing, then. Or are you backpedaling? Or were you merely trying to score a “win”?

  • Ame

    Here is an article from a Catholic with more specific historical knowledge of the ensoulment question: https://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2018/05/ireland-and-the-ensoulment-myth

  • larrymotuz

    Dublin Declaration?

    There are many circumstances in which the health of the mother is at risk unto death itself, so whoever these declarers are, I would not want them giving anyone medical advice.

    Here’s just one reference: https://www.babygaga.com/15-pregnancy-complications-that-are-fatal-for-mom/

  • Adrienne Reda Regnier

    These are arguments presented by Fr. John Noonan decades ago. Personally, I have never heard a pro-abortion supporter use any of them, not when Noonan was writing and not now.
    Calling a human zygote, embryo, or fetus human, or a human being, or a person (although this last is more philosophical than scientific), simply doesn’t lead to the conclusion that the woman carrying it around is morally obligated to do so against her will.
    I am not morally OR LEGALLY obligated to save my 50-year-old human son’s life, even if I have the only blood in the world that will save him. Similarily, I am not morally, (and should not be LEGALLY) obligated to save my 5-month-old human fetus, even if I have the only uterus in the would that will save it.
    We simply do not / ought not force people, against their will, to use their bodies for another’s good.

  • chi

    Delivery can be medically indicated to save the life of the mother, but the direct intentional killing of the unborn child is never medically necessary. If the child dies as a consequence of trying to save the life of the mother, that is an entirely different scenario than elective abortion.

  • chi

    Human beings are not built like objects, where once there are enough parts, they ‘become’ human- as Joanna said in this article, we are organisms/ fully alive at our conception. We are the same being now, that we were at the very beginning. Pregnancy is a known consequence to sex, which in most cases, a woman chooses to engage in. If pregnancy is a ‘prison’, the prolife person did not put her there. Because a human being is present at conception, who is biologically the woman’s child, parenthood is not being prevented through abortion. At this point, labor and delivery cannot prevented, because to end the pregnancy, the body of the unborn child must leave the body of their mother. The urging on behalf of those who are pro life is to allow the child to leave the womb alive.

  • larrymotuz

    First, consenting to sex has nothing to do with choosing to become a parent.

    Second, from this First, knowing that a possible pregnancy could arise despite measures taken to prevent such a pregnancy from happening, does not imply that the choice to engage in sexual intercourse is equivalent to a choice to ‘accept’ this consequence. Indeed, accepting or not accepting this consequence is the entire point of letting women decide. It is refusing women any choice whatsoever that creates a biological prison out of their biological heritage. In other words, it is you and those like you who create this prison by insisting that every girl or woman who becomes pregnant must then become a mother regardless of anything else.

    Becoming the mother of a child is, I believe, a choice only the particular woman who is pregnant woman can make: not you nor others for her as if her concerns for her well-being and those of her loved ones don’t matter at all

    You may not make to have an abortion yourself. Good. I respect your choice. I do not have any moral right to interfere in your choice.

    But others, for reasons of their own life opportunities, circumstances, et cetera may choose to terminate. Also good. Neither you nor I have any ethical right to interfere with that choice.

    Third, you say, “We are the same being now, that we were at the very beginning.”

    No I am not the same being. I am a person with moral and ethical agency as such. I have responsibilities to myself and to others. These include my civil responsibilities to treat others with the same dignity and respect I hope they will also give to me even when our differences divide us in other ways.

    Human life is more than merely organically human life. For you to use semantics to equate organic human life with human life in all of its dimensions is to ignore the vast differences between merely being alive as an organism relative to the experience of being an active and responsible agent and decision-maker for better or for worse.

    Though I doubt that I can convince you, I hope I can make you think about what biological captivity is and that no one can make a prison of women’s biological heritage.

  • larrymotuz

    When you use the words “intentional killing” to describe all abortions wherein the life of the mother is not at risk (or the fetus is severely malformed) you are again using the word life in a strictly organic sense and not in the broader sense of what human life involves through all of its psycho-social and spiritual dimensions. To force anyone to bear a child on the basis that their ‘life’ is not at risk is to so narrow the meaning of human life as to deprive it of the bulk of its breadth, its aspects, its depth and its meaning.

  • chi

    Your argument is based in religion and philosophy- mine is based in biology. The unborn are as alive in the biological sense as their mother- and as dead as any human corpse when killed. But you are right that biology takes us only so far, as the question as to whether it is moral to kill is a philosophical one. Just as with any other human being who’s life is taken from them, what ultimately makes killing wrong is the theft of present and future life- which is precisely what is denied the unborn. Save for natural circumstances leading to death, the unborn would have the same future as any other person or child.

    It is not forcing someone to bear a child who is already bearing a child- it is opposing the idea that there is ‘right’ to have the child killed and prematurely delivered.

  • chi

    Does a person who smokes two packs a day have a right to not get cancer? A new human being is a natural consequence of sex. Abortion does not undo this creation. It kills it.

    You do not address the claim that I made prior that to be pregnant is to already be a parent. The unborn are as related to the mother as any child she will ever bear. The choice to become a parent comes before reproduction- after reproduction, the choice is whether or not to kill a very real and living human offspring- the mother’s biological child.

    The terms ‘human life’ vs. ‘organic human life’ do not make sense- human beings are always independent and unique organisms that grow and develop over time, but remain the same being.

    You are the same being you were as a child, as a newborn, as a fetus, as a zygote… you had a very clean and specific beginning the moment you were conceived. If you had died at any point along this trajectory, you would not be having this conversation now. As a newborn, you were just as free of responsibilities and decision making as you were in the womb- yet you have never been any ‘less alive’ than you are now. It would have been wrong to have killed you, despite your inabilities and dependency, because your existence and worth should be seen in its entirety. Your right to live should extend to your whole life.

  • larrymotuz

    So. getting pregnant is like getting cancer?

    Just abstain. Completely. For life if you don’t want children or more children?

    Pregnancy is not parenthood. Parenthood begins with the live birth of a child. It does not begin with conception, of which some 60 per cent naturally do not survive for one reason or another, from failure to implant, improper implant outside the womb, to severe embryonic to fetal abnormalities.

    Being an offspring implies being born.

    I never said that a fetus is unrelated to the woman or the man who impregnated her, so why are your bringing this up?

    Further, while I took some pains to reply to your points, you are taking no pains to reply to any of mine?

  • larrymotuz

    My argument has nothing to do with religion. Yours conflates an organism’s biological heritage with all that is meant by being human and having a human life.

    Pregnancy is not to be equated with bearing a child. You are playing word games when you use the word ‘bearing’.

    You are forcing someone to bear a child. That is not your decision to make for anyone but yourself.

  • chi

    Pregnancy IS bearing a child, which is why we have the expression ‘with child’ – a child who the day before birth and the day after birth is the same child and related to the mother in the exact same way- and who exists, in the vast majority of the cases because a man and a woman acted to cause the existence.

    Why don’t the unborn ‘have a human life’? If not defined by biology how else do you define humans and why should your definition matter more than a biological one?

  • TinnyWhistler

    “Does a person who smokes two packs a day have a right to not get cancer?”
    They assume a risk of getting cancer. If they DO get cancer, they have the right to seek medical treatment including chemo and surgery to get rid of the cancer. Are you saying that people who smoke should be denied medical interventions to get rid of the cancer?

  • chi

    Of course not. My point was that it’s impossible to have a ‘right’ to a natural consequence not occurring bc nature does not always abide by our desires. Someone who chooses to smoke enters into the risk of cancer/ treatment/death. Couples who have sex enter into the risk of becoming parents. Abortion does not undo parenthood- it kills human children which makes it an entirely different practice than removing cancer.

  • TinnyWhistler

    Well, we could always promote the use of more varied and more effective forms of pregnancy prevention, as well as combining more than one form of birth control to make the possibility of pregnancy less likely and thus the need for abortions less likely, but I realize I’m on a Catholic blog.

    I realize that people disagree on when exactly terminating/preventing a pregnancy becomes infanticide. What I don’t get is why people who want to prevent abortions don’t care to prevent unwanted or dangerous pregnancies that put someone in the position of having to make that choice.

  • chi

    George Akerlof is a nobel prize winning economist and expressly not pro-life, but he extensively studied and concluded that the rise in contraception use in this country correlated with a rise in abortion rates- they rose together bc they are twinned phenomenon. This is because people’s behavior has changed regarding sex bc of birth control and abortion and the sexual revolution- people ‘forget’ there is serious risk bc our culture has shifted to seeing sex as a recreational activity without consequences. As such, people are more likely to have sex in circumstances and with people with whom they would never want to be parents. So the problem is not as much the rarer cases of women getting pregnant who are medically incapable of carrying safely to term, it is in the 1% failure rates of contraceptives which when we are talking about millions of people who are using contraceptives is a huge number in itself, as well as carelessness, change in circumstances for the mother after pregnancy (financial, relationship with the father etc.) I certainly agree that women need to be able to regulate the birth of children for a variety of reasons, but just throwing contraception at this problem over and over again has not solved it- in fact it has made it what it is.

    As to when ‘terminating a pregnancy becomes infanticide’- there’s less disagreement in this area than you think, which was sort of the point of this article. It is clear and continually reasserted in the scientific community that each individual human being’s life began at conception. At conception we are complete organisms who do not change in our nature only in our form- we are as much the biological child of our parents at this point as we are at birth. The express purpose of abortion is to kill these very young children. If you pay attention to the national discussion regarding abortion it is much more focused on arguments based on the bodily autonomy of the mother rather than arguing that unborn are ‘not alive’ or ‘not human’- bc these are demonstrably false ideas.

  • Claire

    Access to a woman’s body is not a human right. What an absolutely repugnant suggestion. I think this is why so many priests fiddle kids.

  • Claire

    You seem confused. A woman who aborts doesn’t go through childbirth. So she isn’t bearing a child. Embryos have no more right to harm a woman’s body than you do, my dear. Which is zero, in case that wasn’t clear.

  • Claire

    pregnancy is pregnancy. It isn’t childbirth. Lots of pregnancies end before they get to the childbirth part. You are definitely confused.

  • Claire

    How is it discrimination when no other class of persons have a right to any woman’s organs against her wishes? YOu are granting EXTRA rights to embryos that nobody else has. And denying women the right to life and health in the process.

    Stop supporting misogyny.

  • Claire

    sepsis was caused by the incomplete miscarriage, JoAnn. The problem with antichoicers is you are all so dishonest.

  • Claire

    She got sepsis because she was denied an abortion. I thought Jesus taught you people not to lie?

  • larrymotuz

    Pregnant women were often referred to as expectant mothers in my younger days. In short, they expected to produce and birth a child.

    Her expectation was based on the reality that human reproduction involves a set of biological steps each of which is essential to starting biological processes which ultimately lead to her production and birth of a child ..becoming a mother.

    Just as her expectation of becoming a mother was then (and now) her potential motherhood becoming realized through childbirth, so also is your expectation of her birth of an expected child dependent on the efficient fruition of biological processes which culminate in the production of a child and, of course, its birth.

    When you call an ‘expected child’ a child in fact, or an ‘expectant mother’ a mother a mother in fact, you are arguing through your hat and you know it.

  • kyuss

    Fail. A fetus isn’t a human being. Nice try though.