1.24.2011

For Life

Throughout my life I have heard many arguments in defense of abortion. Most of them are terrible. One that is popularly given is as follows: 
Abortion should be allowed until the baby is viable outside of the womb. Until that point, it is either not a person or it is a part of the mother. Either way, we should be allowed to kill it.

This notion of viability is woefully vague and ultimately incoherent when applied in this way. First, it seems that viability outside of the womb is arbitrary. Obviously, a baby outside of the womb is still not viable of itself. It must still be cared for by another and it must depend upon another for its continued existence. Dependency remains, the only thing that changes is location. Second, viability outside of the womb is arbitrary but for a different reason. No human being is viable outside the atmosphere of the earth or underwater. Do we cease to be human beings in either of these conditions? Of course not. Viability, then, seems to be a useless standard for determining whether or not someone is a human being.

The other argument is that before viability outside of the womb, the baby is a part of the mother and not its own person. If this were true, all pregnant women would have two hearts, four legs, and women with male children would have penises. This is obviously not the case, so viability again proves to be a useless standard.

Ultimately, though, none of the arguments in favor of abortion are really attempts to justify the practice. For the most part, abortion was made widespread by feminists who want to be men, women who want to be whores, and men who want to have sex with women without committing to them. Abortion is a symptom of the disease of modern sexual relations and family structure. This is why political activism against abortion is so fruitless on a nation-wide scale. It is like thinking that a cold can be cured if you can prevent yourself from sneezing.

2 comments:

  1. The popular defenses are moronic. We're completely agreed on that point.

    But I don't agree that ensoulment (and thus the beginning of personhood) occurs at conception.

    I think it occurs at the activation of brain activity.

    An estimated 1/3rd of all fetuses miscarry, and in the early stages two fetuses can join together to form a chimera with two DNA sequences and still be born.

    In all seriousness, if I were God, I'd wait until things were settled before creating a soul for the fetus. So I figure that's what he does.

    Then there's the fact that the surest sign we have that a person has died is that their brain has ceased functioning. Given that, I think we can safely assume the opposite, that they aren't a conscious person until the brain is active.

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  2. The soul, though, is the principle and form of life. As a technical term, that is all that it means. Therefore, to say that something is ensouled at a time other than conception is to assert that the organism in question is either dead or is actually, in fact, some other organism entirely. This is because the possession of a soul by a living thing is just for that thing to be the kind of thing it is. We know that at conception, a new organism separate from both the mother and father forms which has its own teleology or, perhaps, natural developmental process. This development is natural and of the organism’s own power. In other words, brain activity, consciousness, speech, thought, etc. are all powers that the new organism has in potency because it is already a human being in actuality. The growth that begins at conception is not one thing growing into some other thing; it is just the natural pathway of human growth. All of the secondary actualities that humans acquire during their development are only possible because we are speaking of actual human beings. We must be very careful when defining terms like soul, life, humanity, act, potency, etc.

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