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The Differences And The Abortion Debate October 17, 2009

Posted by Bill in abortion, Current Events, Family Values, health.
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 The Pro Life movement likes to claim that there is no difference between a fetus and a baby. They are fond of saying that life begins at conception.

That is true.

They say that the life of a fetus is as fully human as a new born baby, a teen, a middle aged person, or an old man, that there is no difference between a fetus and any of the other cases.

That is not true.

There are two basic differences that the Pro Life people either overlook or ignore. The first is that the woman and her fetus cannot live independently of the mother. The fetus is a physical part of mother, something very different from a newborn baby. While there may be and should be emotional attachments between mother and baby there is no longer the physical attachment. And that is a significant difference.

A sister, aunt, or stranger can take just as good if not better care of the baby. However they cannot do the same for a fetus. No matter how much outside help a pregnant woman may receive she is the one by far bearing the greatest impact in regards to health, both physical and emotional(as I can readily attest from the personal experience trying to support Dindy during her two pregnancies). That is why birth is such a clear demarcation point. The baby can be reared by someone else.

A mother who is unable to care for her baby – for health reasons, financial, emotional, or any other reason can give the baby up for adoption and have someone else take care of it. The fetus cannot be given up in such a manner, which means that any health risks, financial risks or any other issue must be born by the women until the fetus develops enough.

Which brings us to the second difference. Personhood. Is an eight seek old fetus a person in the same way that a baby is? Does it have conscious awareness of itself, of its environment? No it does not.

A fetus has the potential to grow develop into a human. But every child has the potential to become the President, but does that mean we treat each like the President? To equate a potential and elevate it over an actual person, the mother, is wrong.   I believe that this is why the great majority of people when faced with a choice between the life of the mother or the life of the fetus choose the mother.

However I do believe that we should recognize that as the fetus grows and develops it is starting to develop to that point of independent existence. Especially as it starts to develop an awareness of its surroundings and develop an ability to feel pain. That is why I support a sliding scale version of abortion rights.

During the first trimester it is totally at the discretion of the women. She should be able to have an abortion no questions asked. The second trimester would have more restrictions – emotional and physical well being – and the final trimester an abortion would be performed only if necessary to save the life of the mother. I am open to the exact cutoffs but strongly support this concept.

As for rights, they apply to individuals. Can a fetus be defined as a full individual given that it is totally a part of the woman’s body? Notice I say part of a woman’s body, not dependent on. That makes this issue different than that of the elderly or handicapped. Further the idea of a sliding scale (I seem to be stuck on that phrase for some reason) of rights is not new. Do 2 year olds have the same rights that an adult do? If so, then forget parenting because it would be impossible.

While I have sympathy for the Pro Life position they are greatly oversimplifying the reality. They, and we on the Pro-choice side, would be greatly better off promoting policies and practices that reduce unwanted pregnancies – mainly birth control.

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