Monday, September 15, 2008

Abortion versus Personhood.

There are many people today who believe - or, more rather, hope - that the issue of abortion will just go away. There are some who see the issue as settled and are quite uncomfortable with the idea that abortion continues to be a factor in American politics.
The issue will never be settled as long as the two antagonists in the debate continue to use different language.
To one group, the issue is a question of "choice" the other , it is a question of "life".
No one can honestly view it as a matter of choice if they accepted the belief that the fetus was a human life with all the civil rights as all other human beings.
For years,the so-called pro choice group as argued that we cannot rightly say when life begins. However, the more we learn about human biology the more that argument becomes falls apart.
We know that at conception, when the egg and sperm are united, the resulting "being" possesses a complete set of chromosomes unlike the individual sperm and egg. The resulting being is made up of DNA that is similar to, but distinct from the DNA of either parent.
Allowed to develop, grow and mature in the womb, the resulting being will not transform into anything that is not a human being. From the beginning, the embryo is, as a matter of fact, a human in his or her early stages of development.
Now that it can no longer be denied biologically that the embryo is a human being, the argument of the pro-abortionists has become that the embryo/fetus lacks personhood.
According to philosophy professor Mary Ann Warren, although the fetus is innocent and biologically human, it is not a human person with a right to life. In her view, in order to possess personhood, a biological human must possess these characteristics;
1. Consciousness and the ability to feel pain
2. The ability to reason.
3. The ability to act in ways that go beyond instinct -- to have motives and goals.
4. The capacity for complex communication.
5. Having a sense of self.

In her view, newborn infants are not persons (using her criteria) and therefore, infanticide is also morally acceptable in some circumstances.

This sort of denial of personhood in order to take human life is nothing new.
The antebellum slave owners did not see the slaves as having personhood. They believed blacks were less human than the white slave owner.
The Nazis who killed 11 million Jews felt the same.
Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels said,
"Of course the Jew is a human being too. None of us has ever doubted it. But a flea is also an animal. But not a very pleasant one. Since a flea is not a pleasant animal, we have no duty to protect and defend it, to take care of it so that it can bite and torment and torture us. Rather, we make it harmless. It is the same with the Jews." ( source )

In The Atlantic , Andrew Sullivan says, of McCain, that he decided to "reignite the culture war as a last stand against Obama".
This culture war did not need to be reignited as it was never extinguished. It will survive as long as Democrats continue to nominate pro abortion candidates.

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