Prochoicers: when does a being become a member of the human race?

I am interested in understanding the different POV that prochoicers have regarding when an organism becomes a person.

What criteria make it have the right to live?

Prolifers can’t say that being “alive” is our criteria–for, of course, bacteria are living, but there’s nothing wrong with killing bacteria.

We have our criteria for determining when an organism becomes a member of human race.

Just wondering what yours is?

When it has a personality.

Not that I see that as the be-all and end-all of deciding whether or not it is licit to allow an abortion. I see this as a question of how you define ‘person’, not a moral issue.

Even fully grown adults don’t have an absolute inviolate right to live at all costs. They cannot, logically, it leads to paradox. You cannot kill innocents to harvest organs to save your life, and it is debatable whether it is moral to shoot down a plane full of innocent hostages to save vastly more lives.

So I would say it is a grayscale from unfertilised ovum (no moral issue) to fully grown sentient adult (no case where killing is not a moral issue).

So in your framework is it possible for someone to lose their status as a person? For instance if someone is in a comma or vegetative state are they no longer human? Does old age dementia move them “back down the scale”? Also If I follow your grey scale analogy do you consider a 3 year old less of a person then someone that is 30? As such is infanticide less morally problematic then killing a 40 year old?

I am just trying to flesh out your grey scale argument and associate what moral culpability there is to taking a life based on where the victim is on your scale.

What is a “personality?”

How did you decide that “personality” is the main indicator of one’s humanity?

Well, I suppose you mean, “when it has human parents and a ‘personality’”, right?

For surely you don’t include dogs as a member of the human race, although they clearly have “personality”.

http://doggydan.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Doggy-Dan-dog-personality-and-life-588x332.jpg

Now, does this being pictured below qualify as a member of the human race? If so, what is its personality?

Not that I see that as the be-all and end-all of deciding whether or not it is licit to allow an abortion. I see this as a question of how you define ‘person’, not a moral issue.

Well, it is philosophical issue.

Even fully grown adults don’t have an absolute inviolate right to live at all costs. They cannot, logically, it leads to paradox. You cannot kill innocents to harvest organs to save your life, and it is debatable whether it is moral to shoot down a plane full of innocent hostages to save vastly more lives.

You are correct.

So I would say it is a grayscale from unfertilised ovum (no moral issue) to fully grown sentient adult (no case where killing is not a moral issue).

Is it it ever licit to kill a 3 month old infant if the mom decides she doesn’t want to be a mother anymore?

how would you define the word “personality”?

And here I mean “morally licit”.

A human being is brought into existence as soon as it receives a soul.

There are two different questions here: what makes something a ‘person’ and what makes something ‘human’ - I don’t think these two are particularly closely related.

But the phone is ringing - I will come back to this.

The question, as you pose it above, is: what makes something a person (with the implication, then, that it’s wrong to kill an innocent person).

I think when there is brain activity present. To avoid any further comment on this part, no I don’t think people in comas are non-persons.

From that point forward I would like to see abortion limited to only being permissible to save the life of the mother. While the fetus does have right to life, its either loose mother and baby or just baby. The baby will die either way.

Brain activity starts at 6 weeks gestation, so that essentially eliminates all elective abortions.

As far as a person in a coma, he still has brain activity. If he’s brain dead, then he’s dead.

From that point forward I would like to see abortion limited to only being permissible to save the life of the mother. While the fetus does have right to life, its either loose mother and baby or just baby. The baby will die either way.

There’s really no medical situation which the Church would say the mother must die in order to save the life of the unborn baby.

So it appears that what you have stated is nothing but what the Catholic Church teaches. :thumbsup:

I think, legally speaking, it has to be viability (the ability to survive outside the womb “on your own” – albeit with help from modern medicine).

Someone earlier commented about a mother killing a 3 month old because they don’t want to be a mother anymore. The difference there is that after a baby is born you can give it to someone else who DOES want to be a mother. Until a baby is viable, there is no way to even attempt that.

Perhaps the way around the whole abortion thing is that instead of performing abortions we should just let them induce labor early. If the baby is old enough to make it, awesome. If not, it would die of natural causes (similar to the method used for treating ectopic pregnancies)

I am really not interested in what is legal, Quasi.

Lots of things were legal that were clearly immoral.

Someone earlier commented about a mother killing a 3 month old because they don’t want to be a mother anymore. The difference there is that after a baby is born you can give it to someone else who DOES want to be a mother. Until a baby is viable, there is no way to even attempt that.

Let’s say there was a situation in which there was NO ONE who wanted to take this 3 month old baby.

Would it be moral for her to kill the baby if the mother didn’t want to be a mother anymore? That is, would we still force her to be a mom against her will?

Perhaps the way around the whole abortion thing is that instead of performing abortions we should just let them induce labor early. If the baby is old enough to make it, awesome. If not, it would die of natural causes (similar to the method used for treating ectopic pregnancies)

I don’t understand this, Quasi. You’re saying if a pregnant woman doesn’t want to be pregnant she should induce labor? And then who would take care of the baby that she doesn’t want? :confused:

And I’m still interested in the answer to my OP: when does a being become a member of the human race?

“Personhood,” as it applies to abortion, is a legal construct. So the legal definition of what makes someone a person is what’s relevant to the question you asked. It’s also my answer to your original question that you claim to be interested in others views on. Legally speaking, I believe you become a person when you’re viable.

It’s not moral for her to kill the baby, but no, she doesn’t have to keep it either. Assuming society still exists in some form,she surrenders it and society cares for it whether society wants to or not. That’s why child protective services, foster care, orphanages, adoption, etc. exist and have existed for millenia. If society no longer exists for some reason, the baby is on its own, I guess. No one can force someone to be a parent.

Again – society. What do you think already happens to full-term babies that aren’t wanted? They go into the system. If abortions were illegal, do you think all those people who were willing to have one before will just magically start raising those kids? Most of them will surrender them at the hospital.

It is also a moral question, Quasi. Just like slavery was a legal construct. But also a moral one.

Why should society have to care for a child it didn’t make?

Yeah, but the moral question isn’t the problem here. It’s who’s rights trump the others. Does the mother’s right to control her health/body trump the baby’s rights? Or do the baby’s rights trump hers?

Regardless of anyone’s moral beliefs, the legal system can’t side in favor of the baby in this case without imposing a police state on pregnant women. If a baby’s rights trump the rights of the mother, than not only does abortion need to be illegal, but smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol, strenuous exercise against a doctor’s orders, failing to seek appropriate prenatal care, eating a lot of tuna fish while pregnant etc. etc. would also need to be illegal for pregnant women because they all potentially harm the baby without its consent.

That’s why the pro-life movement will likely never succeed despite its best efforts, because to do so they would have to have personhood extended to fetuses, and the idea of a legally separate person living entirely inside another person is not feasible.

That’s what the ancient Greeks and Romans believed as well. If a mom didn’t want a baby, she simply left it out in the elements.

They often did this with twins. Keeping one, and leaving the other out to die.

You find this moral? Infanticide?

Really?

How about you just answer the OP, Quasi, first? Then we can chat.

And of course it’s a moral problem.

Surely you wouldn’t have argued with an abolitionist in the 19th century: “Slavery is legal. Therefore your objections have no basis in morality. You need to argue legalisms only with me!”

It’s who’s rights trump the others. Does the mother’s right to control her health/body trump the baby’s rights? Or do the baby’s rights trump hers?

No mother has any absolute right to her own body. She can’t do whatever she wants with her body, absolutely, if she’s pregnant. If her doctor knows she’s taking drugs, it’s his duty to report this. Why? Because she doesn’t have an absolute right to control her body if there’s another body inside.

Regardless of anyone’s moral beliefs, the legal system can’t side in favor of the baby in this case without imposing a police state on pregnant women. If a baby’s rights trump the rights of the mother, than not only does abortion need to be illegal, but smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol, strenuous exercise against a doctor’s orders, failing to seek appropriate prenatal care, eating a lot of tuna fish while pregnant etc. etc. would also need to be illegal for pregnant women because they all potentially harm the baby without its consent.

Well, that’s like arguing that laws against domestic violence are imposing a police state on men.

That’s why the pro-life movement will likely never succeed despite its best efforts, because to do so they would have to have personhood extended to fetuses, and the idea of a legally separate person living entirely inside another person is not feasible.

So when should personhood be applied? And why?

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