Author Topic: When does life deserve to be protected?  (Read 10371 times)

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Offline IwasWrong

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When does life deserve to be protected?
« on: October 21, 2008, 11:57:23 AM »
I'm rather new to this whole "Wow, I'm not a Christian anymore" so please don't take my thoughts here as me "militantly arguing my side."
Think of me as in "research mode."

As far as abortion and stem cell research goes: When does life deserve to be protected?

It seems to me that I would not vote to allow a baby to be killed when it is 48 hours old.
 - You probably wouldn't either

But what about 48 hours before that?  What about 12 minutes before that?

Christian, religious or not, right now it seems to me that a fertilized egg is just as human as a 48 hour old baby.

When does life begin?
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My proof is my faith. "  -GodsDisciple

Offline Freak

Re: When does life deserve to be protected?
« Reply #1 on: October 21, 2008, 12:28:46 PM »
It seems to me to be more a matter of balancing the rights of the mother with the rights of the child, and in the process respecting that other people have different opinions than us. This is where the pro-life stance fails: It wants to impose it's view on others. The pro-choice stance, on the other hand, is not, you'll notice, a pro-abortion stance. Pro-choice is about giving the person a choice. If they do not want an abortion, then they don't have to have one.

That being said, how do we decide personally, and legally, where to draw the lines?
We have to admit that things die, and we kill them. I've killed innumerable plants, countless mosquitoes, and even some small animals. Do the plants matter less than the mosquitoes or the small animals? I don't logically think so, but emotionally I do. Further, as a practical matter I can hardly avoid killing something now and then, even if it is only the bacteria in my mouth that the beer I just drank killed. Also of note is that legally, and socially to an extent, it is fine to (humanely) kill almost every other animal besides humans. I won't go to jail for killing that squirrel in my yard; Not many people will mind if I shoot a deer to eat.

So where does that leave us?
When an egg is first fertilized, it is very small. If it wasn't a human egg, no one would care (or even know) that it was 'killed'. It is also almost indistinguishable from an unfertilized egg. I think it is safe to say that a freshly fertilized egg is not deserving of legal or emotional rights.
On the other end of the spectrum, a newborn baby is practically and emotionally 100% a human person, in the same way that a small tree is no less a tree than a big tree. We as humans have clearly delineated that babies are equivalent to adults in rights, whether they be human or not. Killing a endangered protected wild bear baby is just as illegal as killing an adult - possibly even more emotionally offensive. So clearly, once out of the womb, they should not be killed.

The question we are left with is, at what point do we draw the line?
Currently, laws state that a 'person' gains rights at birth. This is the point they gain Independence, and this is the point that we can all agree that they are a human by any definition. To go before birth starts to create some very tricky problems. Even a day before birth, the child is dependant on the mother, and any action to remove dependence is extremely invasive to the mother (c-section, birth). Any line you draw before birth is going to be hotly debated, and not all will agree upon it. Clearly then, the fairest, safest place to legally draw the line is exactly where it is at (in Canada, where I live, you can have an abortion up until birth). Personally however, the line you draw is going to be arbitrary. You are killing something, but we do that every day. It has human genes, but so does the skin cell I just killed as I itched my head. It is going to depend on what you value - the beginning of the heartbeat; The start of mental activity; The first tangible kick. I don't know where you will draw the line, but I am content to let you decide that, within the clearly delineated lines that we as society have agreed on.
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Offline velkyn

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Re: When does life deserve to be protected?
« Reply #2 on: October 21, 2008, 12:47:54 PM »
I'm rather new to this whole "Wow, I'm not a Christian anymore" so please don't take my thoughts here as me "militantly arguing my side."
Think of me as in "research mode."

As far as abortion and stem cell research goes: When does life deserve to be protected?

It seems to me that I would not vote to allow a baby to be killed when it is 48 hours old.
 - You probably wouldn't either

But what about 48 hours before that?  What about 12 minutes before that?

Christian, religious or not, right now it seems to me that a fertilized egg is just as human as a 48 hour old baby.

When does life begin?

as soon as you figure that out, we can all sleep better.

To me, the abortion rights issue is basically "does a potential human have more rights than a woman does? and can other humans force a woman to do something that is only based on opinion?"  To both questions I say no. 
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Offline IwasWrong

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Re: When does life deserve to be protected?
« Reply #3 on: October 21, 2008, 12:57:32 PM »
Great post freak, I appreciate it.  You too velkyn. 

I have been forgetting about the issue of a women's right.

It's very difficult for me to 100% choose when I think life begins because my child was delivered via C-section. To think that it's legal to kill something that developed that much and certainly looks human to me is deeply concerning.  When she was delivered she looked beautiful and looked exactly like I would picture if it was a natural full term birth.

But I'm not trying to play an emotional card.  I'm just trying to see what you guys think is "the line".

On the other hand I think of the great potential scientists have to possibly find a cure for just about anything.  Also, women's rights.  Also like you say, I have NO problem killing cows so that I can eat a nice steak.   ???
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Offline Freak

Re: When does life deserve to be protected?
« Reply #4 on: October 21, 2008, 01:42:05 PM »
IwasWrong, why not just leave it as one of those questions you hope you'll never have to answer, and move on? Don't get me wrong, if you enjoy probing the depths of the question and debating it, then by all means please do so... someone has to! But if the question causes you stress or discomfort, it hardly seems like an important enough topic to force an opinion on. The law is already set - no one is asking you to vote on it. You are unlikely to have the need to draw the line in your own life - you have a family and probably wouldn't mind another child, or would abort very early if you did. No one is harming you in any way by having an abortion either. In fact, you could easily argue that forcing people to have abortions would create more turmoil and strife in the world, and certainly would lend to a high degree of unwanted and unhappy children.

Why do you feel you need to find an answer to this question?
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Offline IwasWrong

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Re: When does life deserve to be protected?
« Reply #5 on: October 21, 2008, 01:53:10 PM »
Quote
The law is already set - no one is asking you to vote on it.

No sir.  In fact, that's why I bring this up.

November 4th.  Detroit Michigan.  United States of America.  Proposal 2:

Quote
A PROPOSAL TO AMEND THE STATE CONSTITUTION TO ADDRESS HUMAN EMBRYO
AND HUMAN EMBRYONIC STEM CELL RESEARCH IN MICHIGAN
The proposed constitutional amendment would:
Expand use of human embryos for any research permitted under federal law subject to the following limits: the
embryos --
-- are created for fertility treatment purposes
-- are not suitable for implantation or are in excess of clinical needs
-- would be discarded unless used for research
-- were donated by the person seeking fertility treatment
Provide that stem cells cannot be taken from human embryos more than 14 days after cell division begins.
Prohibit any person from selling or purchasing human embryos for stem cell research.
Prohibit state and local laws that prevent, restrict or discourage stem cell research; future therapies and cures.


Just trying to be an informed voter.  It's too important of a vote to be someone who votes because of what people at church say without thinking about the issue.

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Offline Davedave

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Re: When does life deserve to be protected?
« Reply #6 on: October 21, 2008, 01:59:15 PM »
One slightly interesting point of irony.  There is a large subset of Protestantism that describe their religious positions in terms of a spiritual re-awakening.  They derive their name from a passage in the book of John, chapter 3.  Having made their religious decisions consciously, as adults, they are famously devout.  However, the name of this group is escaping me at the moment, though it is surely on the tip of my tongue.  Can anyone fill in the name of this group?  _______-Again Christians.

Offline IwasWrong

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Re: When does life deserve to be protected?
« Reply #7 on: October 21, 2008, 02:17:41 PM »
Cheating on their wives -Again Christians ?

Did I win?
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Offline Cyberia

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Re: When does life deserve to be protected?
« Reply #8 on: October 21, 2008, 04:20:57 PM »
It's a question of the woman's rights versus the fetus's rights, and in that regard, I think Roe vs. Wade got it exactly right.  A woman can have an abortion for any reason, on demand, during the first trimester.  A woman cannot have an abortion during the third trimester, except to save the mother's life.  The legality of abortion during the second trimester is up to the individual states to decide, with a tendency towards being illegal, but usually less restrictive that the final trimester.

For me this strikes an appropriate balance.

It's not an religious issue really, it's a human rights issue.  As a society, we try to protect individuals that cannot protect themselves, and a human fetus in the very late stages of gestation clearly is a human life worthy of protection.  Even most pro-choice advocates have a gutteral repulsion of late-term partial birth abortions, where the doctor scoops the brains out of the fetus.

On the other hand, it's utterly unfair for the state to hijack a woman's body (or anyone's body) and require her to bring to term a baby she does not want to have.  It sets a wretched example, on a very slippery slope.  Her flesh and blood become an involuntary state-owned breeding factory, for a child that she doesn't want, and will probably dump off on the state to raise.

Roe vs. Wade sets a reasonable standard for balancing these two issues.  During the first trimester, when the fetus is minimally developed, it can be aborted without legal consequence, for any reason.  This allows a woman to back-out during a three month window, when her rights are clearly ascendant over the fetus.  This would also cover rape and incest, as both of these would be known already and could be undone immediately. 

During the third three-month window, it would be illegal (except to save the mother's life) because it is now an issue of two legal 'people' sharing the same body.  The mother can be forbidden from abortion at this point, because she has had ample time to back out and hasn't.  She has passed the point-of-no-return and was allowed significant time for her to 'be sure', it's not a unfairly placed boundary.  At this point, she can be restrained from abortion, for the same reason that I am restrained from killing someone on the street-corner....ie: murder.  The fetus's right aren't ascendant over the mother, they are equal to the mother.
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Offline JTW

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Re: When does life deserve to be protected?
« Reply #9 on: October 21, 2008, 04:30:03 PM »
One slightly interesting point of irony.  There is a large subset of Protestantism that describe their religious positions in terms of a spiritual re-awakening.  They derive their name from a passage in the book of John, chapter 3.  Having made their religious decisions consciously, as adults, they are famously devout.  However, the name of this group is escaping me at the moment, though it is surely on the tip of my tongue.  Can anyone fill in the name of this group?  _______-Again Christians.

Htf is this a point of irony?

Offline Davedave

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Re: When does life deserve to be protected?
« Reply #10 on: October 21, 2008, 04:34:27 PM »
I can't quite remember what goes in the blank, JTW.  If you could help me with that, maybe I could remember why it was ironic.

Offline JTW

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Re: When does life deserve to be protected?
« Reply #11 on: October 21, 2008, 04:47:25 PM »
How clever.

How is an unrelated metaphor ironic?

Offline Davedave

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Re: When does life deserve to be protected?
« Reply #12 on: October 21, 2008, 04:51:43 PM »
If ... I ... could ... just ... remember ...

Offline JTW

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Re: When does life deserve to be protected?
« Reply #13 on: October 21, 2008, 05:10:24 PM »
Know what I find ironic? That Jesus actually CORRECTS Nicodemus after Nicodemus asks "how can you enter the womb again?" meaning it had nothing to do with being born and of course, proving the utter stupidity of the empirical atheist as they fail yet again to understand simple literary, metaphorical dialogue.


Offline Davedave

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Re: When does life deserve to be protected?
« Reply #14 on: October 21, 2008, 05:12:12 PM »
Yes, but I think many people still use the term, even Christians, even devout Christians.  If it were only some quick phrase in the Bible, I could excuse myself for forgetting, but I just know that it's real common, even today.

Offline JTW

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Re: When does life deserve to be protected?
« Reply #15 on: October 21, 2008, 05:12:50 PM »
But it doesn't have anything to do with ACTUAL birth, moron.

Offline Davedave

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Re: When does life deserve to be protected?
« Reply #16 on: October 21, 2008, 05:13:53 PM »
Birth!  Ha!  Yes, that's what it was.  Born-Again.  As if something important or meaningful happens at birth.  Something spiritually relevant.  That's the irony.  Now I remember.  Thanks, JTW!

Offline JTW

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Re: When does life deserve to be protected?
« Reply #17 on: October 21, 2008, 05:15:09 PM »
Ha, yeah.

If you get to be.

Offline Davedave

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Re: When does life deserve to be protected?
« Reply #18 on: October 21, 2008, 05:40:20 PM »
I wonder what that magical thing is.  I wonder what happens at birth that represents the first chance at something, and where you might want to reclaim or reattempt that with a birth metaphor.  Why not Conceived-Again Christians?  It's almost as though conception wasn't viewed as the truly spiritually relevant point, and birth was.  How funny is that?  Ironic, I'd say.  Definitely ironic.

Offline JTW

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Re: When does life deserve to be protected?
« Reply #19 on: October 21, 2008, 06:08:02 PM »
How is it ironic? Because last I checked Christians are using "born" in their born again moniker and they want to protect birth.

Offline Davedave

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Re: When does life deserve to be protected?
« Reply #20 on: October 21, 2008, 06:19:07 PM »
You say the soul is implanted at conception.  You claim there is nothing special or spiritual about birth.  So, for these people to label themselves as born-again, when by their own belief system, birth is not the critical juncture, is called "irony".

Offline JTW

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Re: When does life deserve to be protected?
« Reply #21 on: October 21, 2008, 06:35:48 PM »
I think the irony is the fact that you think you're intelligent.

The fact is that the birth of a person can only happen once so it can easily be understood metaphorically. That's what this is all about. It has nothing to do with irony or semantics of the word birth or anything. Please stop posting.

Offline Red McWilliams

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Re: When does life deserve to be protected?
« Reply #22 on: October 21, 2008, 07:28:59 PM »
I'm confused.  Are there doctors forcing couples to donate fertilized eggs that would otherwise be carried to term by the mother just so they can do research?

It was my understanding that all the embryonic stem cell research was on embryos described in the list; i.e. ones that were never going to be used for implantation and would be thrown away eventually.

What's the problem with that?
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Offline Davedave

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Re: When does life deserve to be protected?
« Reply #23 on: October 21, 2008, 07:38:31 PM »
The fact is that the birth of a person can only happen once so it can easily be understood metaphorically.

As opposed to being conceived, which happens multiple times?  What the fuck are you talking about?  How can the concept revolve metaphorically around something only happening once if what we're talking about is inherently an "again" proposition?  No, JTW, I'm afraid you are the one injecting the stupid here.  Obviously, they are talking about something spiritual and I find it slightly interesting and certainly ironic that they argue so passionately for conception to be considered the spiritual starting point and against considering birth to be an important line of demarcation, yet want to refer to their newly found spirituality as being born again.

Offline JTW

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Re: When does life deserve to be protected?
« Reply #24 on: October 21, 2008, 08:04:36 PM »
Do you understand re-birth?

Offline PingTheServer

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Re: When does life deserve to be protected?
« Reply #25 on: October 21, 2008, 08:10:27 PM »
FWIW, I'll state my opinion.  First I separate my personal views from my political views.

Politically, I say abortion should remain legal.  "When life begins" is a religous issue and separation of church and state should end this discussion...but we still talk about it for some reason.

Personally, I say I wouldnt want anyone to have an un-necessary abortion after a month or two of carrying.  By un-necessary, I mean anything not life threatening.  This is only my personal view...I would never want to legislate that view on someone that may have a different opinion.

Both politically and personally, stem cells should be wide open for research and funding.  Given all of the fertility treatment embryos that will be destroyed anyway, it makes more sense to let them help humanity in the process.

Offline JTW

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Re: When does life deserve to be protected?
« Reply #26 on: October 21, 2008, 08:14:24 PM »
So it's really in-vetro fertilization that pro-lifers should have a problem with?

Offline Mooby

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Re: When does life deserve to be protected?
« Reply #27 on: October 21, 2008, 08:40:40 PM »
IwasWrong, why not just leave it as one of those questions you hope you'll never have to answer, and move on? Don't get me wrong, if you enjoy probing the depths of the question and debating it, then by all means please do so... someone has to! But if the question causes you stress or discomfort, it hardly seems like an important enough topic to force an opinion on. The law is already set - no one is asking you to vote on it. You are unlikely to have the need to draw the line in your own life - you have a family and probably wouldn't mind another child, or would abort very early if you did. No one is harming you in any way by having an abortion either. In fact, you could easily argue that forcing people to have abortions would create more turmoil and strife in the world, and certainly would lend to a high degree of unwanted and unhappy children.

Why do you feel you need to find an answer to this question?
I can't speak for IWW, but I feel a need to answer it because I think the law is wrong.  One of the more common arguments I see from the Pro-Choice camp is basically, "Is we make abortions legal, individuals have the option of deciding their own stance on the issue without putting any pressure on those who choose not to have abortions.  No one's imposing views here.  On the other hand, if we make it illegal, the Pro-Life camp is imposing their personal morality on individuals.  Thus, we should make abortions legal."

This argument sounds great.  It's democratic, and it means that no one goes around getting in others' business.  How could a reasonable person possibly object?

My answer: look at history.  You'll see plenty of examples of laws that allowed one group to have control over another in a way we'd currently find abhorrent.  And with many of those examples the same argument was made, "Whether or not we agree, why not let those who want to have the option?"

So why should IWW or I care about this?  Why lose sleep over it?  The law's already there, and no one's asking me to take a stance; why shouldn't I just leave others alone?  The reason for me, personally, is that I think that a fetus is a person.  That's a big deal.  If a fetus is a person, then it should have the rights of a person.  If it has the rights of a person, then governments have an overriding interest to protect it, even if that means restricting the options available to pregnant women.  The thing is, once we establish the fetus as a person, the legitimacy of abortion goes out the window.

Now, you may argue that the fetus isn't a person; indeed, many arguments like that were made throughout history concerning other groups.  I realize that I'll probably never change your viewpoint on the issue, but that's no reason to stay silent.  History has shown us that views can change, and it's my hope that one day enough people will come to view fetuses as human persons to overturn Roe vs. Wade.  Perhaps one day future generations will view abortion as we now view the once-acceptable practice of infant exposure.

So it's really in-vetro fertilization that pro-lifers should have a problem with?
Many do, including me.
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Offline Azdgari

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Re: When does life deserve to be protected?
« Reply #28 on: October 21, 2008, 08:48:01 PM »
Mooby, what are the qualities you attach to the label of "person"?
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