So when does life 'begin?'

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Not meant to be controversial. Not meant to be an argument or a judgement on any position. Not meant to be an excuse for animosity or uncivilized discussion. Just a simple question for everyone.

Thanks

PJProgressive's picture
PJProgressive
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Comments

Life begins at conception.

Mauiman2's picture
Mauiman2
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Jul. 27, 2012 7:24 am

Life begins at 50. :)

Bush_Wacker's picture
Bush_Wacker
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Jun. 25, 2011 7:53 am

I think it begins at 60 - like good old wine.

delete jan in iowa
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Feb. 6, 2011 12:16 pm

Never begins and never ends. Always just is.

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Karolina
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Nov. 3, 2011 7:45 pm

Saying it "begins" at conception is probably right. However that doesn't mean it is a life at conception. I can say that a Chevy begins when the iron ore is mined but a pile of iron ore is not a Chevy any more than a zygote is a human.

Life beginning is a distraction from the much more relevant question of, why is the beginning more important than the quality of life of the conclusively living. The fate of zygotes is a red herring employed by magical thinkers who need an excuse to control women.

I wish, just once, they would say that religion begins at death. Then, all of these Talibanis could quit treating my life and that of women as cogs in their fantasy machine. You can threaten me and my female loved ones all you want in the afterlife. If you do it here, it's your ass.

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D_NATURED
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Oct. 20, 2010 8:47 pm

The words "when" and "begin" are rather unambiguous unless you want to get into some deep discussion about time as it relates to physics and the universe. "Life", on the other hand, is a word that screams ambiguity and begs for a fight between science and the spiritual to argue for certainty that can only be defined on the terms of one or the other.

One thing I know for certain, is that when male politicians claim female citizens must carry to term babies conceived by rape, I cannot support those politicians. Pushing for scarcity of abortions is one thing, that is a whole other matter. You can say what you want about God's will, but you can't take away a women's free will.

Laborisgood's picture
Laborisgood
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Quote Karolina:

Never begins and never ends. Always just is.

Interesting take. I had not considered this in relation to the abortion argument. If you really want to get technical about it, both the ova and the sperm are also alive. They merge to make something new but life indeed preceeded this new form.

You might also consider that brain waves and functions don't really begin in the fetus until about week 6 of pregnancy. If we think that our consciousness or snetience defines us as humans this might be another marker to think about.

For me, I have always been a - never for myself but I don't have the right to tell you either way - kind of person.

ah2
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Dec. 13, 2010 10:00 pm

Geat thoughtful posts!

WTG!!!!

delete jan in iowa
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Feb. 6, 2011 12:16 pm
Quote D_NATURED:

I wish, just once, they would say that religion begins at death.

Too funny! Those doing religion wrong are obsessed with what happens after death and those doing it right are for more concerned with what happens before death.

I much prefer Karolina's endlessly spinning wheel that covers both sides of death, or all sides of life.

Laborisgood's picture
Laborisgood
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Life began for me in the spring of 62.

Fortunately I don’t have any memories of the early years.

Can you imagine what it must’ve been like to have been a baby?

anti-Republicon
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Aug. 21, 2011 10:37 pm

If "life" begins at conception, masturbation is murder. Since all fornication's are physically masturbation. Hydrolics, pressure and memory banks. Knotholes Gays and goats are the same as the Missionary position after a huge church function. Some forms are more risky, some procreate the species and some are just relief. A freebie in a world of costly toys. Plus sex sells, everything from blenders to pick up trucks and six packs of bud or abs. If conception determines life then "death" wouldn't be after the last breath as life was conceived as being after the first breath, as in god breathing the first breath of life into Adam. Before that it was clay. Fetal movement politicized it as something alive and naturally all political policy must be authorized by the church scientists who need larger congregations of poor folk to work cheap. Pro Life? Not even anti abortion.

So logically since death isn't after you decompose back to dust to satisfy inheritance squabbles. Then life begins at birth. Maybe they should be celebrated, we can call them Birthdays. Not that conception isn't a celebration too. Or thought of as anything but the start of a new life to be cared for and nurtured. Prenatal care doesn't seem to be prudent at this juncture with the energy spent trying to shut down Planned Parenthood. But not as a citizen with human rights anymore than the corpse decomposing are still citizens with rights.

These wars on other peoples bodies and scores of draconian legislations preying on the fears of the people, that is usually fear caused by the very vultures swooping in to fix them. With Gossip mongers hissing it over the airwaves like some cancer spreading. Such overwhelming disregard for Life coming from the anti choice self appointed moralists. From fabricated domestic and foreign for profit police actions pillaging states resources including the National Guard units for overseas duty. Then treating them as disposable lighters when they come home. Going as far as caging them in for profit private prisons for relieving PTSD symptoms with cannabis. Homelessness and suicides go on without mention. The drug war on the poor and those of color. For profit and removing a viable renewable multi product resource. Keeping a monopoly of fossil fools crud, coal and now cheney fracking up the countryside. A blatant disregard for life is more like it.

Life is a prerequisite of Liberty and it a prerequisite of any Pursuit of Happiness. Yet the Neoconjobs side step and divert from the prerequisites of Life also guaranteed those born in this country or are given citizenship. Not welfare, rights. Those too blinded by greed and ego's would gladly circumvent due process to raise statistics leading to better profits, positions and salaries. Dick Armey car salesmen selling out integrity and honor. It was Justice to free 50 guilty before caging one innocent. Now they are all check marks. Same as ditchweed wild hemp making up most of the marijuana eradications. Numbers equate to more funding. Stoneface denialists in what made us a great country, and it wasn't our toys. It was our consistency in taking care of ourselves. Today we get road blocks and those twins trafficking beer to teenagers sponsored by Coors, a proud member of Calvina's Prohibition Inc.

Life is when you're born, Before that you are a parasite. Death is when you stop breathing and have no brain activity. You become perishable, keep refrigerated. If it wasn't for the breathing, I'd say neocon rmoneyslut followers, waiting on tinkle downs, should be considered legally dead. Pro Life Killers, War to attain Peace and Fair and Balanced Fox are Oxymoron's, Not to be confused with rush the gossip queen Moron on Oxy. Oh, great Googamooga. Can't you hear me talking to you? Just a ball of confusion. Oh yeah, that's what the world is today. Woo, hey, hey.

GOPerversion, another Prohibition! On Women...

"I want you to just let a wave of intolerance wash over you. I want you to let a wave of hatred wash over you. Yes, hate is good...Our goal is a Christian nation. We have a Biblical duty, we are called by God, to conquer this country. We don't want equal time. We don't want pluralism."
--Randall Terry, Founder of Operation Rescue,
The News-Sentinel, Fort Wayne, Indiana, 8-16-93
DdC's picture
DdC
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Mar. 22, 2012 1:39 am

The bigger question is who has made us think this is important and why.

First, it requires consensus in the definition of "life". Since this cannot be agreed upon, when it begins cannot be agreed upon. This is what makes it such an insidious topic - a perfect tool for promoting divisiveness and getting various "grass-roots" groups to use up their limited resources and distract from the real issues of the day.

One group perverts the text of the old books to make it seem as though their Deity has taken a position one way or the other on the topic - even though its main teaching is that we were all created (in a different form) long before the earth itself and that we return to that form instantly upon completion of our time here.

As for me, life ended when my country (that one I had admired and voluntarily served to protect decades before) blatantly abandoned centuries of international law and began bombing, invading and occupying countries in the middle east.

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Rodger97321
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Actually life began billions of years ago for everyone. Life is energy and energy never disappears it just changes form. We are all made up of that energy and therefore we are all related and we can never really die. When we "die" our energy takes on another form and our "soul" lives on forever. Life does not begin at conception. Conception is part of the transformation of energy.

Bush_Wacker's picture
Bush_Wacker
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Quote Bush_Wacker:

Actually life began billions of years ago for everyone. Life is energy and energy never disappears it just changes form. We are all made up of that energy and therefore we are all related and we can never really die. When we "die" our energy takes on another form and our "soul" lives on forever. Life does not begin at conception. Conception is part of the transformation of energy.

ABSOLUTELY RIGHT!!!!!

WE ARE NEVER BORN AND WILL NEVER DIE

delete jan in iowa
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Feb. 6, 2011 12:16 pm
Quote Karolina:

Never begins and never ends. Always just is.

Teardrops, and Time begin with Tea

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douglaslee
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

I find the question "when does life begin?" irrelevant. And it's important to treat it as irrelevant, because it validates the premise that it is built on —"It is wrong to kill an innocent human being"— and the conclusion set up by abortion foes, that is, "therefore it is wrong to kill a fetus." Arguing about life, the quality of life, the definition of life, only supports the pro-birth's simplistic approach to reproduction and questions surrounding unwanted pregnancy. It only leads to endless squabbles and no progress in understanding.

I prefer to work from a different frame, one that denies that it is always wrong to kill an "innocent" human being. To my mind, a situation with concerns on all sides, with both suffering and joy implied in the interests of both, must not be treated as a simple, black and white choice, where all sorts of unintended complications and consequences for society, for the family, for the mother, and for the fetus are ignored. It has to be a matter of weighing all choices and deciding which choice will cause the least suffering.

Abortion, whether you like to admit it or not, takes a life. We have to face it courageously and stand up for the values that abortion supports. Weighing all the factors involved, all interests, to take that life, in most cases, creates no suffering for the fetus (other than a potential for life that the fetus has no preference for, or consciousness of, by itself), but it alleviates and prevents a great deal of real risk and suffering for the woman —a person— and perhaps (realistically) her family, her group. It even prevents crime and is a benefit to society for that reason.

Zenzoe
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote Zenzoe:

I find the question "when does life begin?" irrelevant. And it's important to treat it as irrelevant, because it validates the premise that it is built on —"It is wrong to kill an innocent human being"— and the conclusion set up by abortion foes, that is, "therefore it is wrong to kill a fetus." Arguing about life, the quality of life, the definition of life, only supports the pro-birth's simplistic approach to reproduction and questions surrounding unwanted pregnancy. It only leads to endless squabbles and no progress in understanding.

I prefer to work from a different frame, one that denies that it is always wrong to kill an "innocent" human being. To my mind, a situation with concerns on all sides, with both suffering and joy implied in the interests of both, must not be treated as a simple, black and white choice, where all sorts of unintended complications and consequences for society, for the family, for the mother, and for the fetus are ignored. It has to be a matter of weighing all choices and deciding which choice will cause the least suffering.

Abortion, whether you like to admit it or not, takes a life. We have to face it courageously and stand up for the values that abortion supports. Weighing all the factors involved, all interests, to take that life, in most cases, creates no suffering for the fetus (other than a potential for life that the fetus has no preference for, or consciousness of, by itself), but it alleviates and prevents a great deal of real risk and suffering for the woman —a person— and perhaps (realistically) her family, her group. It even prevents crime and is a benefit to society for that reason.

Define suffering. This is a slippery slope Zenzoe.

ah2
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Dec. 13, 2010 10:00 pm

Waste of time. No one knows the factual answer and it's been debated for thousand's of years. Theologian's mental masturbation.

DynoDon
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Jun. 29, 2012 10:24 am

You're right, it is a theological discussion especially since no one acknowledges what the scientific definition of life is.

So if it's theological.......... it shouldn't be involved in POLITICS

delete jan in iowa
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Feb. 6, 2011 12:16 pm
Quote jan in iowa:

You're right, it is a theological discussion especially since no one acknowledges what the scientific definition of life is.

So if it's theological.......... it shouldn't be involved in POLITICS

The Constitution says that the state can't endorse a religion. That is not the same as saying that religion has no politcal dimension.

ah2
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Dec. 13, 2010 10:00 pm

Bacteria is life, too. We don't mind killing it. Parasites can keep your weight down but most people don't want them in their body. A zygot having property rights is nuts. A zygot is a life but not a human life, yet. The Catholic church is against masturbation, too. I don't know how they feel about sperm banks. Nocturnal emissions [wet dreams] must be another dilemma for them. The saline injections into fertilized eggs to reduce the invitro pregnancy from 8 to 2 must really peeve them, especially on TV. They're against invitro, against female priests, against marriage for nuns or priests, yet feel entitled to rule on families. Missionary position only, rythm method for family size control to less than 12, no vasectomies either, and people are voting to give them power.

They really think girls are their Cuddly Toys.

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douglaslee
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Great post douglaslee.... relevent song!

delete jan in iowa
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Feb. 6, 2011 12:16 pm
Quote Laborisgood:
Quote D_NATURED:

I wish, just once, they would say that religion begins at death.

Too funny! Those doing religion wrong are obsessed with what happens after death and those doing it right are for more concerned with what happens before death.

I much prefer Karolina's endlessly spinning wheel that covers both sides of death, or all sides of life.

The main issue for me is that they use their theory about the afterlife to justify controlling the living...for their own good. They make the constant association between religiosity and character and I'm left out of both equations.

I suppose you can judge the ones who do religion "right" from "wrong" based upon results but they both think we atheists are a threat, and they're right. The distinction between the good cravers of myth and the bad ones is only a matter of how crazy they are today. The potential for irrationality lurkes in the shadows and waits to be drawn into the daylight by some event for which they are incapable of coping. When that happens, I'm screwed.

D_NATURED's picture
D_NATURED
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Quote D_NATURED:
Quote Laborisgood:
Quote D_NATURED:

I wish, just once, they would say that religion begins at death.

Too funny! Those doing religion wrong are obsessed with what happens after death and those doing it right are for more concerned with what happens before death.

I much prefer Karolina's endlessly spinning wheel that covers both sides of death, or all sides of life.

The main issue for me is that they use their theory about the afterlife to justify controlling the living...for their own good. They make the constant association between religiosity and character and I'm left out of both equations.

I suppose you can judge the ones who do religion "right" from "wrong" based upon results but they both think we atheists are a threat, and they're right. The distinction between the good cravers of myth and the bad ones is only a matter of how crazy they are today. The potential for irrationality lurkes in the shadows and waits to be drawn into the daylight by some event for which they are incapable of coping. When that happens, I'm screwed.

Something tells me you'll be just fine, no matter what happens. And I do not see you (an atheist) as a threat anymore than a Muslim or a Jew who is as well adjusted to human decency as you. We do have some people we should be fearing, but they ain't you and me.

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Laborisgood
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I hope you're right.

D_NATURED's picture
D_NATURED
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If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed.
Quotation of Albert Einstein

I was traveling a while back and shared with a passenger some of the unique points made in the recent commencement addresses. He then asked me why do people do good? I never thought about it, because I never needed a reason. I just new it was right and takes little effort. I asked him if he was a professor or something. He was a professor of religious studies. I was reading a little Bertrand Russell at the time, but did not engage.

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douglaslee
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Enjoying the discussion. I'm a 'pro-lifer' who doesn't personally agree with abortion (except for those cases of rape, incest, life of mother) but who also thinks that abortion should be legal. I just like to hear what intelligent people have to say about the issue, mostly as a means to clarify my own position.

Thanks!

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PJProgressive
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

So, you lied in your original post.

Why not be honest from the beginning that you wanted to "clarify my own position"?

delete jan in iowa
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Feb. 6, 2011 12:16 pm

These nutcases who've taken over the GOP are like manna from heaven (to the Dems anyway). There is an electorally feasible position that seeks to make abortion more scarce without going all in with the rape, incest, life of mother and contraception nonsense, but these dumbasses are too stupid (or brazen) to realize that. They are either off the deepend of religious zealotry or completely beholden to the mammon that requires they take these extreme political stances. Either way, these are the people we need to fear.

Laborisgood's picture
Laborisgood
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Quote ah2:
Quote Zenzoe:

I find the question "when does life begin?" irrelevant. And it's important to treat it as irrelevant, because it validates the premise that it is built on —"It is wrong to kill an innocent human being"— and the conclusion set up by abortion foes, that is, "therefore it is wrong to kill a fetus." Arguing about life, the quality of life, the definition of life, only supports the pro-birth's simplistic approach to reproduction and questions surrounding unwanted pregnancy. It only leads to endless squabbles and no progress in understanding.

I prefer to work from a different frame, one that denies that it is always wrong to kill an "innocent" human being. To my mind, a situation with concerns on all sides, with both suffering and joy implied in the interests of both, must not be treated as a simple, black and white choice, where all sorts of unintended complications and consequences for society, for the family, for the mother, and for the fetus are ignored. It has to be a matter of weighing all choices and deciding which choice will cause the least suffering.

Abortion, whether you like to admit it or not, takes a life. We have to face it courageously and stand up for the values that abortion supports. Weighing all the factors involved, all interests, to take that life, in most cases, creates no suffering for the fetus (other than a potential for life that the fetus has no preference for, or consciousness of, by itself), but it alleviates and prevents a great deal of real risk and suffering for the woman —a person— and perhaps (realistically) her family, her group. It even prevents crime and is a benefit to society for that reason.

Define suffering. This is a slippery slope Zenzoe.

I won't insult you by defining suffering. I think we all share an understanding of what the word suffering means. But I will say I'm talking about suffering experienced from real pain, whether it's physical pain, emotional pain or societal pain. Am I now going to have to define pain?

I would need you to describe the fearful consequences resulting from your "slippery slope." Some fears about a slippery slope are valid, some not. Some are reasonable, some are not. What is the slippery slope you're referring to? Perhaps you could give me an example, if you could tie it to the notion that it is not always wrong to take the life of an "innocent" human being. (notice I've implied that sometimes it IS wrong.)

Essentially, my position is that the religious fascists can call abortion the murder of "innocent" life as much as they like; I say, it is not murder, because the killing of that life was in self-defense.

Zenzoe
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

The teachings of the Holy Roman Catholic Church from the Bible say life begins as a sperm.

Phaedrus76's picture
Phaedrus76
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Sep. 14, 2010 8:21 pm
Quote Phaedrus76:The teachings of the Holy Roman Catholic Church from the Bible say life begins as a sperm.

And every sperm is sacred:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fUspLVStPbk

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Laborisgood
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Actually, sperm is quite alive with movement and purposeful action, so I suppose life begins there. On the other hand, living sperm comes from a living being, so I suppose life begins with the father...the producer of the sperm..

Sperm should probably be removed before an execution or shipping soldiers off to war in an endeavor to prevent pre-abortion abortions.

Exactly how far back generationally do you want to go to define where life begins?

Unquestionably birth causes death. No births...no deaths. The cure for death at this point seems to be sterilization. Some things are just a bit too absurd to discuss...depending on how in-depth you want to go.

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

.....................................................................................................

polycarp2
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Many good posts, both informative and funny.

I have opined that the reason abortion has been banned has to do with patriarchy and the idea that the womb is the passive environment for the fetus put there by the male sperm. The man owns the fetus, not the woman, in this frame. It is his heir at stake, and she is replaceable, after all.

A biblical position on abortion would have life beginning at birth when the breath of life, the ruah, begins the post-womb "life of the human being. This nonsense about sacred conception and Personhood is just modern misogyny as we continue to pit the fetus against the mother.

What Zenzoe raises belongs to the conscience and choice of the pregnant woman. We do not need to be evasive about the nature of the choice. A fetus is a potential baby. In the best situations, it is joyful news and the expectation of having a child is considered a blessing. Even in such situations, miscarriages happen. Still births happen. Weird stuff can happen as gestation goes wrong. The idea that each conception is under the grace of God as a separate life and not as the fruit of her womb is romantic bullshit about nature as well.

And, the decision that a pregnancy cannot be a blessing and must be terminated is painful, at least to most. People vary on how they decide and deal with emotional issues. Having birth control fail at a time when one cannot take time to go through a pregnancy may not be very painful. Not being able to afford a child yet, would be more so. If the "pain" comes from the fetal sentimentalists and not from the life context of the decider, I would suggest we could do without it.

Anyway, the issue is part of the bogus politics of conscience--Culture War. Which is to say religious war. Those who want to avoid abortions should do so. Those who would like to change the conditions in which women choose to take away some of the barriers to carrying pregnancies to term, should do so. Respectful advocacy is appropriate, however, and not the rhetoric of murder and genocide. The appeal is to be made to individuals and not to legislation because this is a religious issue. Period.

And, I want to repeal the theocratic Hyde Amendment which keeps my tax dollars from helping pay for abortions for those who need help. I don't get a war exemption from these "pro-life war lovers."

Why is this an issue? Because it allows serious sublimation from the real bloodguilt America is accumulating.

drc2
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Apr. 26, 2012 12:15 pm

There's a hole in the bucket, dear Liza dear Liza

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DdC
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Mar. 22, 2012 1:39 am

Sometimes, an abortion is an economic imperative. It's way, way cheaper to have an abortion than to have a live birth, Not all can come up with the vast difference in cost.

An abortion isn't always the preferred choice and is sometimes the only one.

That becomes pretty clear when you live in destitute neighborhoods.

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

polycarp2
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Well Poly, one should never allow moral reality to interfere with moral declarations of principle and standing for theocratic misogyny. That is where you defend God, after all, right up there at the top where God hangs out with the leaders of the world. You would never find God needing any help with the poor.

drc2
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Apr. 26, 2012 12:15 pm

Did this lead to the evolution of the "Church Organ?"

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leighmf
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote Phaedrus76:The teachings of the Holy Roman Catholic Church from the Bible say life begins as a sperm.

I guess that would make a blow job cannibalism. ;)

Bush_Wacker's picture
Bush_Wacker
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Jun. 25, 2011 7:53 am
Quote Bush_Wacker:
Quote Phaedrus76:The teachings of the Holy Roman Catholic Church from the Bible say life begins as a sperm.

I guess that would make a blow job cannibalism. ;)

LOL..... Geez

delete jan in iowa
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Feb. 6, 2011 12:16 pm

Well, how many sperm can dance on the head of an ovum? When we get this stuff separated from moral reality, it really goes wrong, big time.

drc2
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Apr. 26, 2012 12:15 pm

Life begin when it can sustain itself.

tayl44's picture
tayl44
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote tay144:

Life begin when it can sustain itself.

That is the most natural, and rational, way to consider when life begins--especially in the context of when it is to do so with respect to abortion laws and abortion rights.

While the Supreme Court deliberating on Roe vs. Wade couldn't 'scientifically (ie. "objectively") determine' when 'life begins' in the context of considering abortion rights (even recognizing that if it were considered to begin at conception, that would mean that all laws allowing abortions at the time would have to be removed IF one were to consider Thomas Jefferson's idea in the Declaration of Independence that such rights were 'granted by the Creator'--in other words, naturally existing even before government could claim creating them--as being true legally, morally, politically, and rationally--and only removable by due process in law). But, after 12 weeks gestation in pregnancy (which Roe vs. Wade granted as 'the rights to the pregnant woman to abort that chid for any, or no apparent, reason at all'), each of the states could determine what, if any, rights were to be eventually obtained by the fetus--and most of the states have determined that to be as they define 'fetal viability'--in other words, 'when the fetus can sustain itself in life outside of the uterus'.....and, if it takes a special procedure (such as D_NATURED's near birth fetal brain sucking and skull crushing) to kill that fetus before removing it from the uterus, it could have come out alive and self-sustaining.....

Some apparently wish to avoid that natural definition and that natural context when it comes to natural rights in any political context for humans--but, what they are replacing it with, I am not sure how its integrity is to be morally and politically maintained without basing it rationally on political rights to each human and each life....and elective abortions are NOT based on 'medical necessity'--nor 'dire circumstances'--but, as absolute rights, upon 'free choice' when there is no contention that the life that is being chosen against could come out and sustain its own life at that point.....and, then, after that, recognizing that any 'right to life' precludes any other's 'right to choose against it' unless done so by due process of law....

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Kerry
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote tayl44:

Life begin when it can sustain itself.

So by this definition partial birth abortion is murder. Probably any abortion after about 6 months is murder.

Mauiman2's picture
Mauiman2
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Jul. 27, 2012 7:24 am
Quote tayl44:

Life begin when it can sustain itself.

Define "sustain itself."

Like "self-sufficient" because that doesn't happen for a long long time after someone is born.

"Sustain itself" for how long? Everything dies eventually. Sperm "sustain themselves" for a short period. By what rationale do we draw a specific timeframe of how long something must "sustain itself" before it is considered "alive."

More complicated than you are making it out to be...

ah2
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Dec. 13, 2010 10:00 pm
Quote Zenzoe:
Quote ah2:
Quote Zenzoe:

I find the question "when does life begin?" irrelevant. And it's important to treat it as irrelevant, because it validates the premise that it is built on —"It is wrong to kill an innocent human being"— and the conclusion set up by abortion foes, that is, "therefore it is wrong to kill a fetus." Arguing about life, the quality of life, the definition of life, only supports the pro-birth's simplistic approach to reproduction and questions surrounding unwanted pregnancy. It only leads to endless squabbles and no progress in understanding.

I prefer to work from a different frame, one that denies that it is always wrong to kill an "innocent" human being. To my mind, a situation with concerns on all sides, with both suffering and joy implied in the interests of both, must not be treated as a simple, black and white choice, where all sorts of unintended complications and consequences for society, for the family, for the mother, and for the fetus are ignored. It has to be a matter of weighing all choices and deciding which choice will cause the least suffering.

Abortion, whether you like to admit it or not, takes a life. We have to face it courageously and stand up for the values that abortion supports. Weighing all the factors involved, all interests, to take that life, in most cases, creates no suffering for the fetus (other than a potential for life that the fetus has no preference for, or consciousness of, by itself), but it alleviates and prevents a great deal of real risk and suffering for the woman —a person— and perhaps (realistically) her family, her group. It even prevents crime and is a benefit to society for that reason.

Define suffering. This is a slippery slope Zenzoe.

I won't insult you by defining suffering. I think we all share an understanding of what the word suffering means. But I will say I'm talking about suffering experienced from real pain, whether it's physical pain, emotional pain or societal pain. Am I now going to have to define pain?

I would need you to describe the fearful consequences resulting from your "slippery slope." Some fears about a slippery slope are valid, some not. Some are reasonable, some are not. What is the slippery slope you're referring to? Perhaps you could give me an example, if you could tie it to the notion that it is not always wrong to take the life of an "innocent" human being. (notice I've implied that sometimes it IS wrong.)

Essentially, my position is that the religious fascists can call abortion the murder of "innocent" life as much as they like; I say, it is not murder, because the killing of that life was in self-defense.

In past eras, it was rational and legal to abort a baby because it had a disability. In fact, if you go back far enough, it was even demanded that you killed disabled babies after they were born - all in the name of reducing "suffering" in way or another. By some rationales, one might say that if a baby is born with a condition that has the symptom of chronic pain, that is simply more humane to kill it or abort it. Those who have been born with these diseases or disabilities (and parents of them) might beg to differ, noting that quality of life is more complex than simple definitions of absence of pain or suffering.

Buddhists have an even more severe perspective on this. They something to the effect of "Life is pain. To try to avoid pain is what causes suffering."

Anyway, the point is that the idea of suffering or pain is far from obvious, is very much socially framed and contingent, and very much not a unproblemmatic ethical boundary on which to base decisions of life and death.

ah2
Joined:
Dec. 13, 2010 10:00 pm
Quote Mauiman2:
Quote tayl44:

Life begin when it can sustain itself.

So by this definition partial birth abortion is murder. Probably any abortion after about 6 months is murder.

The thing is that a child that is 1 year old can't technically "sustain itself" as it can't feed on its own. It would die if left to its own devices. So the idea of "sustain itself" needs to be addressed. Seems to me to be far too clunky to work in any legal sense.

ah2
Joined:
Dec. 13, 2010 10:00 pm

Planned Parenthood is the largest abortion provider in America. 78% of their clinics are in minority communities. Blacks make up 12% of the population, but 35% of the abortions in America. Are we being targeted? Isn't that genocide? We are the only minority in America that is on the decline in population. If the current trend continues, by 2038 the black vote will be insignificant. Did you know that the founder of Planned Parenthood, Margaret Sanger, was a devout racist who created the Negro Project designed to sterilize unknowing black women and others she deemed as undesirables of society? The founder of Planned Parenthood said, "Colored people are like human weeds and are to be exterminated." Is her vision being fulfilled today?

http://blackgenocide.org/planned.html

darlinedarline1@aol.com's picture
darlinedarline1...
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Aug. 29, 2012 9:27 am

As far as fetuses are concerned, ah2, 'self-sustaining' is from a biological--not a social--viewpoint. In other words, able to sustain its own life outside of the uterus. But, if you want to get really technical even from the biological viewpoint, you might consider how self-sustaining such babies are that require complicated life-support measures as ventilators and IV feedings and IV medications (or anyone for that matter). But, from the perspective of the criteria used to define abortion rights, self-sustaining is when the fetus can live outside of the uterus on its own--which, despite all medical technology, has been no earlier than 20 weeks gestation, now, for decades (out of 40 weeks for term--and most 20-weekers die, anyway)--and with no indication that will change anytime in the near future (the pre-viability relationship between fetus and uterus are just too intricate and complicated to copy--that's why all test-tube babies are put back into a uterus at a very early stage).

Kerry's picture
Kerry
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Read up on Margaret Sanger and Planned Parenthood.

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darlinedarline1...
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Currently Chatting

The GOP war on workers has killed again...

It’s time to stop the conservative's war on working people in America.

Since the birth of our nation, conservatives have always been wary of average working-class Americans having too much political or economic power. John Adams, the second President of the United States and a Federalist (precursor to today’s Republicans), was very wary of the working class, which he referred to as “the rabble.”

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