Originally Posted by Dave Lane
You choice of the liberal stance is pretty skewed. For the most part its you don;t get to decide what a woman can do with her body.
I and most liberals I talk with are less concerned about the ownership of a vagina than we are that the time be right for a child that can be raised successfully.
I don't feel a embryo is a "person" till at best it's viable outside the womb.
Most Jewish couples don't feel its viable till its out of Law School, but to each their own.
Well, I intentionally made the conservative view sound whacky, so went with the most whacky liberal view I've heard... And yes, I've heard it a lot. An ex girlfriend of mine used to spout it quite often: sick of rich white men deciding what she can and can't do with her vagina. Okay, that's fine. But in the end, being any demographic doesn't mean your ideas or arguments are going to make more sense than somebody else's.
If I'm trying to be a bit more inclusive I might say:
Conservative: A human fetus is a life, and taking that life intentionally is a crime, just like any other murder. Perhaps worse because the child has no means of defense. Also, the perpetrator is the 'mother' whom nature has deemed it's protector. And the reasons for termination are nearly always due to the inconvenience of carrying the child to term, making the act all the more selfish and morally repulsive. If you don't want a child, do not procreate.
Liberal: A woman has a right to do with her own body whatever she chooses. It is morally wrong for the state to force any woman to have a child if she does not want that child.
Seems that both positions are tenuous at best. The first hinges on the notion that a fetus is one and the same with a human being. That there is no distinguishable characteristic between a zygote and a marathon runner that makes one a human being, and one not. While I might have fun going through the difficult process of enumerating those differences in a philosophy class, it's plainly just not the case in real life that they are one and the same. Just like an pinecone is not a tree, a zygote is not a human being.
The second position is ignoring the argument that the first is making entirely and just saying... Well, if it IS murder, then it's justified. Judith Jarvis Thompson wrote quite eloquently about the violinist thought experiment, and she made it quite clear that under certain circumstances we might all be inclined to think its okay to passively kill in the name of convenience and personal freedom. While this might be an excellent essay and an interesting philosophical position, I think it's fairly disgusting. And if it were TRUE that a fetus was a human being (making the violinist analogy a true comparison) then I would switch sides pretty damn fast and find myself on the side of the pro life people.
Thankfully, we don't have to do that. We're thinking people with common sense and can plainly see that a fetus is NOT analogous to a human being. It just isn't. At some point, it becomes one. We can't know where that point is, mostly because we don't have a good definition for "human being" that isn't predicated on some kind of ability... This would disclude mentally retarded people or the severely handicapped, and that just doesn't pass muster. But a lack of a good definition doesn't mean that we have to let our brains fall out and just say, "well I guess a zygote has the same intrinsic value as StevieRay."
Seriously, if a terrorist made me choose between shooting StevieRay in the head or shooting myself, I'd likely have to choose shooting myself. I would not want to live in the world much longer if I knew I was a killer. If the choice was to shoot StevieRay or a 3 year old child though, I'm sorry Steve but I won't hesitate. I could never shoot a 3 year old child who has his whole life in front of him. And I'm sure you'd understand and agree, and reluctantly accept your fate. Perhaps even feel like a martyr as you went out. Now, if the choice were to either shoot StevieRay in the head, or give my recently pregnant girlfriend the day after pill... How many people in this world do you think would approve of me shooting Steve? It's plainly obvious that Steve's life has value and this collection of cells has none. Anybody disagree?