Re: Let Me Get This Straight . . .

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From: Jeff Bone (
Date: Sun May 13 2001 - 14:41:42 PDT

John Klassa wrote:

> >>>>> On Sun, 13 May 2001, "Jeff" == Jeff Bone wrote:
> Jeff> such as the view that a fetus is a human being
> I hate to jump into the middle of this, because I really don't have the
> energy to post 30 messages to FoRK in a single day, like some of you do
> :-), but I have to ask... In your mind, at what point is that fetus a
> human being?

When it acquires language, or perhaps when it is capable of fending for
itself. BTW, that's not really a joke; as long as we have to dabble in
quasi-mystical questions such as "when is a human being a person" etc. in
order to have laws that are consistent and make sense, I think those are just
as reasonable as any other definition.

> If it's a human being when it comes out, why isn't it one
> when it's inside? If it's one when it's on the inside, why isn't killing
> it the same as murder? Is murder acceptable to tolerant, open-minded
> people?

Okay, so let me see if I can spin a reasonable argument. Many conservatives
are opposed to abortion, but favor capital punishment. The apparent
motivation for capital punishment is to remove a member of society that is
perceived by other members as permanently detrimental to society. Similarly,
an abortion can be viewed as the choice to remove a member of a family that
will place --- in the mind of the mother --- an undue burden on herself, her
body, her finances, her family, her emotional state, her educational
opportunities, her career, whatever. I think reasonable people could argue
that it's inconsistent to favor capital punishment without also accepting
abortion; either they are both murder and murder is reprehensible, or they
are both murder but murder is acceptable in some contexts, or they are neither
one murder and therefore acceptable.

> I realize that not every abortion is a partial-birth abortion.
> Nonetheless, a partial-birth abortion is an abortion, and so in your mind,
> it isn't something that my beliefs should be allowed to interfere with,
> where you and your body (or that of your wife/girlfried/whatever) are
> concerned.

Yes, that is correct.

> Apparently, were the head to come out, the law would deem this a real
> birth, and the result would be a real child. Were the doctor to kill the
> child after its head is out, the doctor would presumably be guilty of
> murder. Just because its head happens to be inside, though, it's legal to
> kill it... This isn't murder? This is acceptable?

Yes. However:

> This isn't something
> I should be incensed against, and should work to prevent? <boggle>

It's something that should be discouraged socially, culturally, etc. if at
all. It's not something that should be legislated. Gov't really has very
little place in reproduction; certainly, if a parent --- a *mother* --- does
not wish to be a mother, that should be her choice. Nobody else's.

> Society would have you believe that spanking is akin to child abuse. If
> you swat your kid on the rear, you should go to jail. Yet, if you're so
> inclined, you're free to suck your kid's brains out through a tube, so
> long as the kid's head is still inside its mother. Unbelievable.
> Absolutely unbelievable.

Though I don't personally favor physical punishment and would never use that
as a mechanism to discipline any child I might have, the "spanking = child
abuse" argument is ludicrous. IMO, the law should be as non-interfering in
the reproductive and parenting processes as possible, and ULTIMATELY
non-interfering when it comes to what goes on with and within an individual's
own body.


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